The Basic Rules of Bingo
As we said, it’s incredibly easy to play bingo, and although there are many different variations, all of them more or less work on the same three basic components:
- Your tickets;
- A dauber; and
- The numbers that are called.
Firstly, you purchase your tickets, unless of course, you are lucky enough to find some free bingo in Canada, either way, you need your bingo tickets to get started. Your ticket will contain a certain combination of numbers and/or letters, and your goal is to create a winning combination from the numbers called out by the game operator. If you do get a winning combination, you notify the house (usually by yelling “Bingo”) and collect the winnings that correspond to the combination on your ticket.
Types of Bingo Games
Sounds simple enough, right? Now, let’s move on to bingo variations, the bingo history shows were invented in various regions over the years but can generally be played in various bingo halls in Canada, online and offline.
For the most part, these variations only really change in terms of speed and the ticket layout; but as we will see in some variations, there are a few changes to gameplay that are designed to keep the game interesting.
Canadian bingo fans will be more than familiar with the 90-ball variant of the game, which also happens to be the one that has the longest rounds.
In this variant, your bingo tickets are laid out in a format of 3 columns by 9 rows or 9 columns by 3 rows depending on how it’s printed. (For simplicity’s sake, we will refer to them as short rows and long rows.)
On each of the long rows, only 5 of the 9 spaces are filled in with numbers, and the value of each number is based on which short row it is located on. For instance, the first short row will only contain numbers between 1 and 9, the second row has numbers between 10 and 19, the third row has numbers between 20 and 29, and so on until the last row with numbers from 80 to 90.
Here is an example 90-ball bingo card for your reference:
To win a game of 90-ball bingo, you have to be the first in the house to call out a win for three conditions:
- Line: Get all of the 5 numbers called in one of your ticket’s long rows;
- Two Line: Get all of the numbers called in two of your ticket’s long rows;
- Full House: Get all of the numbers called on your ticket.
Depending on the bingo house’s specific rules, it is possible to call out more than one win at a time; so, with enough luck and speed, you might be able to call out a win on all three winning conditions for a pretty sizable payout.
Besides 90-ball, you will also be very likely to find 75-ball bingo being played in Canada, as it is a very popular variant adopted from the neighbouring USA.
The tickets used in 75-ball bingo are set in a 5x5 shape with all of the spaces filled in with a number from 1 to 75 except for the centre, which is a free space that automatically counts towards a bingo win.
Similar to 90-ball bingo, the numbers in 75-ball bingo are broken up into groups and will only appear in certain columns of your ticket. Each column is marked with the letters BINGO above them, and the groups of numbers that appear in each column are as follows:
- B column: 1-15
- I column: 16-30
- N column: 17-45
- G column: 46-60
- O column: 61-75
For your reference, we’ve laid out a typical 75-ball bingo ticket so you can understand how the setup works:
Winning 75-ball bingo still has similar win conditions to 90-ball—that is, to be the first to fill out one line, two lines, or the entire bingo ticket—but the 5x5 shape also makes it possible for bingo house operators to offer additional win conditions by marking out special shapes on your card. Just a few of the patterns that could appear include:
- Four Corners
Often called speed bingo, 30-ball bingo is a relatively new variant that is gaining a lot of popularity in Canada, especially online.
As you can probably guess, there are only 30 numbers in 30-ball bingo, which means the tickets are just as small—they are made up of 9 squares in a 3x3 grid, with each column containing 3 random numbers from 1-10, 11-20, and 21-30, respectively.
This, of course, makes games go by extremely quickly, so players with not a lot of time can get a quick fix of the game in between moments of respite. That being said, 30-ball bingo can get quite intense as players are going to be competing in terms of reaction time to mark their tickets and call out “bingo” when they land a win.
When it comes to the fundamentals, playing online bingo in Canada is practically a 1-to-1 recreation of its land-based counterpart with all of the convenience of being able to play from wherever you want, whenever you want. Online bingo sites in Canada have games running 24/7 with players from all around the world, so you will always find someone to play with.
Now of course, you do lose out on the more physical aspects of playing at an actual bingo hall. but many of the best online bingo sites in Canada do provide chat rooms and other social features to keep the communal spirit of the game as lively as ever.
Another cool benefit of playing bingo online is that marking all of your cards is done automatically by the online bingo software. So that means no more having to keep your eyes constantly darting across your tickets and no more having to train your reaction times to mark off numbers as they are called.
Types of Online Bingo Games
As we pointed out earlier, bingo has a lot of room for new spins and twists when you play bingo games online, which makes the experience more interesting to Canadian players. This is especially true when it comes to online bingo, as digital platforms give developers a practically open canvas to come up with radical new designs and gameplay elements. Below are a few of the titles we found particularly interesting.
A portmanteau of the words “slot” and “bingo”, Slingo fuses two beloved casino games into a uniquely fun and interesting game. Landing wins in Slingo is done through the bingo portion of the game, which gives you 25 different numbers on a 5×5 grid. To mark these numbers and make lines for winning combinations, you play the slot game part of Slingo, which rolls random numbers that may or may not mark off the numbers you have on your bingo ticket.
Deal or No Deal Bingo
This is another interesting fusion of the bingo genre with a different game—this time being that of the hit game show, Deal or No Deal. Unlike Slingo, in which the main actions are focused on the slot game aspect, Deal or No Deal Bingo is very much a bingo-first game. The Deal or No Deal part acts as the bonus, which gives a random bonus win if you manage to mark off a number on one of your tickets that corresponds to a numbered container in play.
Bingo Tips and Strategies
Although we did say earlier that there isn’t much of a skill or strategy for playing bingo, there are a few tips and tricks we can give to help you get the most out of your bingo playing sessions.
Buy multiple cards.
Because you only have a limited set of numbers in each ticket, the best way to get a better chance of winning is to buy more tickets. Having more cards means having more numbers, which ultimately boosts your chances of landing a win as one card just might have the right numbers lined up for the win.
Pick games with fewer players
One of the perks of playing online bingo in Canada is that you can choose which digital bingo room you want to play in. Choosing one with fewer players means that there are less chances for other players to take the winnings before you do, especially in faster-paced games like 30-ball bingo.
Play only what you can afford to lose.
As with all gambling games, bingo is ultimately designed to favour the bingo house in the long run, and you are statistically guaranteed to lose money the longer you play. For this reason, going into an online bingo game without expecting to win will make your session much more enjoyable—this keeps the mood nice and relaxed and you can focus on interacting with the other players in the bingo room with you.
Is online bingo legal in Canada?
Yes, online bingo is legal in Canada, but only from a technicality as there are no laws that explicitly ban players from doing so. Because of the rather tenuous legal standing of online gambling in casinos based inside Canada, most online bingo houses are set up offshore.
How does online bingo work?
Online bingo works by putting players into a digital bingo room with a random number generator or RNG that dictates the numbers that are called into play. The numbers then go into the game system and automatically mark off the tickets that players hold, paying out players that land winning combinations.
Is online bingo rigged?
If you play at a reputable online bingo house, then there shouldn’t be any rigged games. All reputable bingo outlets are licensed by a gambling regulator that continually audits these bingo games and their randomness systems for fairness. You can learn more about great online bingo sites in Canada from our reviews here at Inside Casino.