The Ultimate Guide to Bingo Offline & Online

Bingo is one of the most popular gambling games in the world, with millions of people playing live and online bingo every week. However, many younger casino players aren't as familiar with the game as the older generation.

That's why we're here to provide you with an ultimate guide to bingo. This guide will cover popular bingo lingo, the rules of playing the game, and the various types of bingo games you are likely to encounter.

What is bingo?

Bingo is a gambling game where players must match the numbers on their playing cards with numbers that are randomly drawn. A dedicated bingo caller will draw the numbers using a machine, and shout the numbers to the players.

When a number is called, the players must scan their tickets to see if the number called matches any in their grid of numbers. If they do, they need to mark it off using a pen, often called a "dauber" or a "dabber."

If a player matches a full line, column, or card, they must shout "Bingo!" and their card will be checked. If all the numbers are marked correctly, they're the winner of that round, and they win a cash prize.

In online bingo, the cards and numbers are drawn randomly by a computer, and the numbers are marked off automatically as they're drawn. This makes online bingo convenient and easy to play, especially for those who are new to the game.

Common bingo terminology

If you're new to the world of bingo, you'll find that many experienced players use bingo terminology (or bingo lingo) to talk about the game. It can be a bit confusing if you're unfamiliar with the game, but don't panic; we're here with a list of the most common bingo lingo you'll hear in the halls.

  • Admission packet – The minimum number of tickets required to enter a game.
  • Bingo balls – Small white balls with numbers printed on them. These are drawn by the bingo caller, and players must mark them off their card if the numbers match.
  • Bingo board – The electronic board where all of the drawn numbers are displayed.
  • Bingo caller – The person who is employed to draw the bingo balls and call out the number.
  • Bingo card – The card or ticket that has a set of numbers printed on it. Players must match these numbers with the numbers that are called out by the bingo caller to win.
  • Blackout/Coverall – A bingo pattern where players must cover the whole card to win.
  • Consolation prize – A secondary prize that is given to a player if no winner can be found in a predetermined amount of time.
  • Dabber/Dauber – An ink-filled pen that players use to mark off their bingo cards.
  • Early bird – A bingo game that starts before a scheduled game.
  • Free space – A square on a card that does not have a number assigned to it. These spaces do not need to be marked to win.
  • Hard-Way bingo – A bingo pattern where a player makes a full line without using a free space.
  • Jackpot – The largest prize given to a player for completing a specified pattern, often within a certain timeframe.
  • Money ball – A number that is drawn before the game starts; if a player makes a bingo when that number is drawn, their winnings are doubled.
  • Moonlight bingo – A bingo game that starts late at night, usually after 10pm.
  • Nicknames – The names given to each number called by the bingo caller.
  • Pattern – The shape that a player needs to cover on their card to win the game.
  • Payout – The amount a player can win during each game.
  • Wrap-Up – The name for the last bingo game of the session.

How to play bingo

If you want to join in the fun at your local bingo hall, you'll find that it's an easy game to learn and follow. After a few rounds, you'll have no trouble keeping up with the game.

To ensure that you're confident enough to start playing, we've created a step-by-step guide that will walk you through how to play bingo; from buying your tickets to claiming victory.

  1. Purchase your ticket(s) – The first thing you need to do is buy your tickets from the designated ticket office. Tickets are often sold in strips of six, but many bingo halls allow you to buy multiple tickets.
  2. Study your tickets – The UK version of bingo, for example, uses tickets with numbers in a 3 x 9 grid. Each row has four blank spaces and five numbers. The reason tickets are often sold in strips of six is because a whole strip will include all the numbers from 1 to 90, giving you a better chance of finding a winner. It's best to study where your numbers are before the game starts, as this will allow you to quickly mark off your numbers as they're called.
  3. Mark your numbers – As the bingo caller calls out the numbers, make sure you mark them off. This is the easiest way to keep track of which cards are closest to being complete.
  4. Shout bingo! – Once you've marked off all the numbers on a particular card, shout "bingo" loud enough for the caller to hear. The game will be stopped and your card will be checked to make sure you haven't made any mistakes. If you've correctly marked off all the cards, you win!

Most common bingo variants

As we have mentioned above, there are a number of different bingo variants that you can enjoy when you play at an online casino. Many countries have a popular bingo variant that is played in bingo halls, but online, you can choose to play whichever bingo variant you'd like.

Below, we've listed the most popular bingo variants you'll find when playing online.

90-Ball bingo

The most popular version of bingo in the UK; 90-ball bingo is played with 90 bingo balls and a 9x3 playing card. Each card has four blank spaces and five numbers, and players must mark off all numbers on their card to win.

75-Ball bingo

The most popular version of bingo in the US; 75-ball bingo is played with 75 bingo balls and a 5x5 playing card. There are 24 numbers on the card and one free space in the middle. Players can win by marking numbers in a row, column, or full card, depending on the variant being played.

80-Ball bingo

This version of the game was popularised in the UK but is now mainly played online. In 80-ball bingo, there are 80 bingo balls used, but the numbers are often colour-coded; with numbers 1-20, 21-40, 41-60, and 61-80 having a unique colour. The game uses a 4x4 grid, with each column being divided into four colours. Players can win by either marking off a row, column, or full card, depending on the version being played.

30-Ball bingo

Often referred to as speed bingo, 30-ball bingo only uses 30 bingo balls, and is much faster paced than its counterparts. The game uses a 3x3 grid, and players must mark off all the numbers on their card to win.

How to play bingo online

As we've already established, there are multiple benefits to playing bingo online, such as the ability to play different variants of bingo, automatic card marking, and pre-purchasable tickets.

Take a look below to find out how you can create your very own casino account and start enjoying bingo online.

  1. Pick a casino – There are a number of online casinos offering free and real money bingo games, so make sure you pick the site that's right for you.
  2. Fill out the registration forms – Once you've picked a site, click the "Sign Up" or "Register" button and fill out the registration forms. You'll be asked for information such as your name, date of birth, e-mail address, residential address, and telephone number.
  3. Create a username & password – You'll also be asked to create a username and password for your account, so make sure you pick something that's secure and easy to remember. Once you're done, click the "Register" button, and you'll have your very own casino account!
  4. Make a deposit – Now that you've got your casino account up and running, it's time to make a deposit. Go to the "Cashier" or "Bank" section of your casino and pick your preferred payment method. Enter your payment details and the amount you'd like to deposit, confirm the details are correct, then click "Deposit." Your funds should be instantly available in your account.
  5. Search for bingo games – Once your funds hit your casino account, it's time to start enjoying some online bingo games! Search for your favourite bingo game using the search function of the game tabs at the top of your page. Simply click on the icon of the game you want to play to get started.
  6. Buy your tickets and have fun – After your game has loaded, all you have to do is buy your tickets and start playing.

However, if you don't want to risk your hard-earned cash, there is another option available when playing bingo online, and that's the option to play bingo for free.

We at Casino Guru have a number of free bingo games available for our readers to enjoy. Playing these free bingo games allows you to build up the confidence you need to start playing for real money, and is a great way to enjoy the game without spending money.

Benefits of playing online bingo

If you want to enjoy bingo from the comfort of your own home, you'll find that there are a number of advantages that come with playing online bingo for real money. Let's take a look at what those are.

  • Automatic marking – Numbers are marked off automatically as they're drawn, meaning you'll never miss another number.
  • Play on any device – You can enjoy online bingo games from your desktop computer or your mobile device.
  • Pre-purchase tickets – You can buy tickets for an online bingo game, even if you're not going to be there for the draw. Your numbers will still be automatically marked, and your winnings will be automatically paid into your account.
  • Play a variety of games – You can enjoy a wider range of bingo games when playing at an online casino.

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