As fans of bingo ourselves, we care about getting the most out of your bingo betting money. With so many new bingo games and bingo sites springing up left and right over the past few years, it has become especially difficult to figure out which games are good and which are not. That is our goal here at InsideCasino, we arm players with the knowledge and awareness of how bingo games work so you can make more informed decisions on what games you should be playing.
While not all bingo games are created equal, all of them are more or less the same from a fundamental standpoint. For this reason, it would be a good idea to brush up on the basics of how to play bingo before we go straight to the games. At its core, bingo is a simple game of chance that is made up of three things – the bingo tickets, the bingo balls, and the tombola. The tombola shuffles the balls around until one falls out at random and is called out. Any player who has the ball number on their ticket gets to mark out that number on their card.
A win condition is reached when a player becomes the first to mark out a winning line on their ticket. These winning lines come in various forms, from the standard rows and columns all the way to special shapes and patterns depending on the bingo game. Of course, this gameplay flow is a bit different once we move online. For instance, elements like the tombola (the spinning cage that induces randomness in the bingo balls) in a physical game, is approximated by software in the digital online game.
The flexibility of digital software has also made it so that game developers could add various features that improve the convenience of playing the game. One great example we’ve seen across dozens of online bingo games is the addition of an auto-dauber that automatically marks off any matching numbers you have as the game progresses. This is a useful feature for multi-ticket bingo games online that would otherwise require quite a bit of focus to keep track of numbers across multiple tickets.
If you would like to become a guru at playing bingo, you can learn even more by reading our guide on advanced bingo strategies.
The game of bingo has come a long way over its colourful 500-year history. If you want to dive a bit deeper into its real-world origins, we have a separate article on the history of bingo that you can read. But for the purposes of this guide, however, we start our story with the arrival of bingo on the shores of the digital world.
It is generally accepted that Bingo Zone was the very first bingo game ever released for online access and play. Launched by American developer Gamesville in 1996, Bingo Zone offered this bingo for free and despite its simplicity, it was fully featured and functional. To put it simply, this game laid out the general framework for just about every online bingo game that would come later.
Believe it or not, you can actually still play Bingo Zone today; however, since Gamesville’s shutdown, this can only be done on their sister site, Golden Hearts Games.
The 2010s would see bingo games online and gambling in general, explode in popularity around the world thanks to the introduction and proliferation of a variety of new technologies. With faster mobile devices, more powerful and more efficient web design, and more creative game developers entering the scene, it has now become vastly more convenient for players to start playing bingo.
There are a myriad of factors that contribute to the overall quality and enjoyability of a good bingo game. As different bingo fans will have different priorities and preferences when it comes to what they want out of their bingo game, there really is no be-all, end-all path to finding the best ones from the rest. We’ve broken down the fundamentals of all bingo games into three simple concepts, all of which we assess thoroughly on our bingo site reviews.
At the core of every bingo game is the actual experience provided by the game itself. Since the games are designed to run as completely digital software, game developers like Playtech and Virtue Fusion have both the technical and creative freedom to take the classic gambling game into whatever direction they can think up. Modern bingo games can land just about anywhere on a vast spectrum of complexity, from simple adaptations of classic bingo games to highly engaging licensed titles, so players have all manner of game choices.
Compared to other ways of gambling like sports betting and most casino games, bingo is a game that places a lot of emphasis on the communal experience. This has been the case since the very inception of the game, which places its players in a space where they can mingle with other players throughout the course of the game.
With the shift to the digital world, social bingo gaming effectively has its work cut out in terms of social features. On the one hand, they can effortlessly facilitate interactions between players from across the Canada or even internationally. However, the developers do have to actually implement features like live chat, forums, and other functions adjacent to social media and there have been some cases of less-than-stellar performance on this front.
One of the most difficult challenges when it comes to playing bingo games is the fact that there are so many different ways to categorise these games depending on the kind of information you want to convey. You can break these games up into all manner of different categories such as the number of balls in play, the game’s developer, the number of tickets you can have, and the number of stakes you can wager. And even all of these can’t cover the myriad of creative gimmicks these games employ to stand out from the crowd.
So for the purposes of this guide, we will be going through all of the most common types of bingo games to give you a better idea of what you can expect to play.
Bingo games can be split into free games and real money games. Because of how critical they are to your gaming experience, choosing whether or not you want to bet real money is a decision you would probably want to make before anything else.
The most basic way that bingo games are categorised are by the quantities of bingo balls in play. For most players, this is the most useful way to categorise bingo games since different ball amounts affect both the speed of the game and the layout of the tickets. A few of the basic examples of these games include:
90 ball bingo is widely considered to be the game type that takes the longest to complete, owing to the number of balls available in play. Often referred to as European Bingo because of its popularity in the region, 90 ball bingo tickets are usually laid out in a 9-column by 3-row layout for a maximum of 27 spaces that can contain numbers. Of these spaces, only 5 numbers per row are typically filled out. Jackpots are typically paid out to the first player that completes 1 row, 2 rows, and all 3 rows (also called ‘full house’), respectively.
Combining the slightly slower pace of 90 ball bingo with the more generous winning lines of 75 ball bingo, 80 ball bingo is a relatively uncommon game version, that you will mostly find in bingo halls. This game uses a card with 4 columns and 4 rows that are all filled with numbers, with the winning lines consisting of completed rows, diagonals, and special patterns.
As the version of the game that was developed and initially popularised in the US, 75 ball bingo (also called American Bingo) tends to be the most recognisable version of the game to anyone exposed to bingo outside of Europe.
With its iconic 5×5 card that contains a free space in the centre, 75 ball bingo plays a bit faster than its European counterpart and is open to a wider variety of winning lines such as diagonals and special shapes.
While very close in number to the 50 ball bingo we discuss below, 52 ball bingo is a very different bingo game, with games like the below featuring cards instead of balls (hence the 52 balls in play – a reference to the size of a standard playing card deck).
One of the great things about games like bingo is the sheer amount of creativity that developers can inject into them. Never is this more true than in the following games that really break the mould of what most people consider to be a “standard” bingo game.
The Rainbow Clover is a community jackpot feature that sees the game’s leprechaun move 1 to 2 spaces on the rainbow path when the game draws a Rainbow Clover. Jackpots are given out when the leprechaun lands on the 10th, 25th, and 50th space. The Wishing Well, meanwhile, is a long-term rewards feature that allows players to claim coins from landing player-chosen lucky numbers that can be used to redeem a special bonus later.
Arguably the most popular bingo game you can play is Deal or No Deal Bingo 90, the 90-ball variant of Virtue Fusion's series of bingo games that licence the popular game show brand. Besides the licensing gimmick, one of the reasons behind the popularity of Deal or No Deal Bingo is the availability of many other variations like 75-ball, 50-ball, and a Multiplier version.
Red Spins is widely considered to be one of the best sites you can go to if you want to play bingo games. Featuring a wide range of modes as well as several games that are exclusive to the Red Spins in Canada, players are sure to have a great time
Bingo games from Virtue Fusion, Entain, and Playtech are all designed to pay out real money. If you want to learn more about them, you can check out our list of real money bingo sites to help you select the ones that you're looking for.