Bingo: an eternal classic of the gambling industry
Today, online casino operators aim to fill their platform with a variety of slots, live dealer games, lotteries, and table games; still, no iGaming website is truly complete without a classic we all are familiar with, bingo. In the present article, we’ll shed light on this vertical. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about it.
History of bingo games
What do you imagine when we say “bingo”? A group of senior people playing in the backyard? A bar full of locals spending their Saturday evening playing and drinking beer? A game broadcasted on TV? Nowadays, bingo goes far beyond that. Let’s start by taking a look at the history of this legendary game.
What is bingo?
Bingo is a game of chance that can be classed as a form of lottery. An organizer, host, banker, or caller picks random numbers; if these match those on a player’s card, it’s a win. The winner has to shout “bingo!” and can then take the whole jackpot home. Bingo can take different forms and be played in various ways, but the principle remains the same: to win, numbers printed on the card must match those randomly picked by the host.
Interesting fact: the word “bingo” itself comes from a mistake! American players used to mark their playing cards with beans, and shouted “beano” in case of a win. Toy salesman Edwin S. Lowe misheard the word and began producing playing cards under the name “bingo”. As his version of the game proved popular, the name stuck and is still used today all over the world. This happened in the early 20th century; the history of bingo, however, began long before.
The roots of bingo
The game’s roots lay in the 16th century. A similar game played in Italy back in the 1530s was called "Lo Giuoco del Lotto D'Italia”. Then, in the 18th century, “Le Lotto” spread to France, becoming a pastime for wealthy people; by the 1800s it reached Germany, where it was transformed into a tool to learn history, spelling, and math – more about this below.
The development of bingo
Edwin S. Lowe’s version of the game became popular across North America in the 1930s. Around this time, Lowe tasked Columbia University professor Carl Leffler with creating new cards with 6,000 unique combinations in order to reduce the chances of multiple wins in a single session.
On top of successfully producing bingo cards for decades, Lowe’s company also introduced the dice game Yahtzee before selling for $26 million in 1973.
Rather than losing its popularity, bingo is still going strong in 2021, so much so that almost no casino can do without it. Operators can choose from many variations of this classic to best serve their player base.
Bingo, just like most other gambling activities, can be played online or offline. Both are great experience, but online bingo allows for more gameplay variety.
Types of bingo
Classic bingo is played with 75 numbered balls. The number of balls used has an impact on players’ chances to win: the fewer balls are used, the higher the likelihood of a win. Bingo’s popularity spurred the development of various derivatives. These don’t differ only in the number of balls used (30, 90, 80), but also in length of the average game and winning patterns; in some cases, they change or even flip on their head the rules, while retaining the core lottery-style gameplay. Here’s a quick overview.
The classic version is widely popular across the globe, including the USA and Canada. Out of the 25 fields in the 5×5 cards, only 24 contain numbers; the square in the middle is empty. The 75 numbers are divided in 5 groups of 15, one group for each of the letters in the word B I N G O. In the card, under each letter appear 5 of those 15 numbers.
By using 30 balls and a 3×3 bingo card, this variant enables a much faster gameplay.
Most popular in the United Kingdom, this variant uses 3×5 cards with 15 numbers. Rules are slightly different thanks to the introduction of more winning combinations: two lines, four corners, and full house.
Played with 4×4 cards, this colorful 80-ball variant offers quicker gameplay than UK bingo. It allows for horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines, plus other patterns like four corners, “square” (the central 4 numbers), two- and three-line combinations, and the four-line full house.
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Variations of bingo
With the development of bingo and its massive spread around the world this game took new forms and variations. Which is no surprise: it is a simple, but highly entertaining game, it is also widely used beyond gambling frames, as we have mentioned before. Here we provide seven most popular variations of bingo known in the world, but the list is not limited to them.
Similar to Italian lotto and Chinese keno, this variation of bingo adds a simple twist: players pick their own numbers instead of getting a pre-printed card.
Death bingo introduces an exciting twist: to win, a player has to be the last to get all their numbers called. Due to this change in winning conditions, games tend to last longer than in classic bingo.
Bonanza takes the traditional 75-ball bingo and makes it faster: players are given 43 numbers at the outset and play bingo from this point onwards. The jackpot keeps rising during gameplay.
Blackout, also known as coverall, is a bingo variant in which players need to cover all fields to win. These games last longer, and the pot typically rises with every round without winners.
This game can be used to help students learn math: for example, instead of calling out a number directly, teachers give a formula that needs to be solved to obtain the number.
Horse racing bingo
This variant can be played by a maximum of 15 players. Each of them is assigned a column of the flashboard; the first player to have all the numbers in their column called out wins.
As the name suggests, this type of bingo is played on Facebook. Players can use power-ups to increase their chances of winning.
Bingo outside the gambling industry
Interestingly, what is today considered a part of the gambling industry used to be a popular social game. Bingo has been around long enough to become a worldwide entertainment staple.
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1. Since bingo is widely popular everywhere, it’s played by people of different origins and rakes in vast sums of money. This makes it a great way for churches and charity organizations to raise funds and provide their communities with entertainment that doubles as a social pastime. Even the above-mentioned Edwin S. Lowe was approached by a local Catholic priest, who suggested using bingo for fundraising. By 1934, the number of people who regularly played bingo in churches had already reached the 10,000 mark.
Charity bingo is also interesting from a legal perspective: while gambling is forbidden in some countries, bingo is often allowed if organised by non-profit organizations. Under these circumstances, bingo can even be played by people under 18 and managed without a special license. However, charity activities are subject to strict rules. The UK Gambling Commission, for example, sets maximum prize payouts and the maximum amount players can be charged per day.
2. Germans were the first to use bingo in a school setting: the game became a great tool to train memory and mathematical skills. This made studying fun and engaging, keeping students’ attention levels high and resulting in better grades.
3. Bingo is commonly used by Nurses and retirement house personnel as a tool of recreational therapy and socialization. The game is easy to organise, and beloved by older people as they were born and raised during the time of bingo’s peak popularity.
Top online bingo providers available through Slotegrator
In this section, we’ll cover seven developers from our partner network with online bingo games in their catalogues.
Red Rake Gaming
Red Rake Gaming is a Spain-based provider of online casino gaming products with ten years of experience in the industry. The studio has a strong reputation and is licensed in two prestigious jurisdictions: UK (UKGC) and Malta (MGA).
Red Rake’s portfolio includes over 95 games between slots, video pokers, roulettes, blackjacks, and video bingos. These titles are available in 16 languages and support both desktop and mobile devices, having been developed using HTML5 technology. What is more important, Red Rake offers various marketing tools and expands its collection with 15 new games every year.
The developer provides six highly engaging video bingo games: Disco Nights, World Football, Muertitos, Extra Money, Planet 67, and The Gold of Poseidon. These offer various patterns, bonus phases, multipliers, and extra balls.
Evolution has over 15 years of experience in the development of online casino games, be they live dealer titles (roulette, blackjack, baccarat, poker, lottery, and video bingo) or RNG-based (like slots). This industry giant is licensed in many respected jurisdictions, including Malta, Alderney, UK, USA, Belgium, Romania, Latvia, and Canada, and has collected multiple awards over the years for its innovative gaming products. The company has several studios: Latvia, Malta, Georgia, Romania, Canada, USA, Belgium, and Spain.
Mega Ball is Evolution’s best-known live dealer game. Players are bingo cards with up to 12 lines; in total, 20 numbers get drawn, followed by a 21st number that comes with a randomized multiplier, making the game even more engaging.
Wazdan has been developing video slots, poker, and bingo titles since 2010. This award-winning iGaming provider is licensed in several major jurisdictions: Curacao, Malta, UK, Romania, Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia. Besides an extensive catalogue of online casino games, Wazdan offers many promotional tools for operators, including bonuses, tournaments, and more.
Wazdan’s Extra Bingo is a minimalistic, classic bingo game with 80 fields. The gamble feature allows players to double the win, and it requires at least four numbers to match.
BELATRA is a Belorussian studio that has been present on the iGaming stage since 1993. This industry veteran demonstrates that remaining successful for decades on end is actually feasible. The company, among other games, offers various bingo titles. All the games are available in multiple languages and support both fiat and crypto currencies. BELATRA provides operators with marketing tools such as jackpots and tournaments.
Caleta Gaming is a Brazil-based iGaming developer with slots, video bingo, keno, and video lottery games in its catalogue. A licensed supplier with a worldwide reach, the studio releases one or two new titles per month, constantly providing online casino operators with original content.
On top of a diverse collection of quality multi-platform games, Caleta offers marketing tools like free spins, extra balls, bonus wheels, and bonus games. Some of Caleta Gaming’s best-known video bingos are Catch a Fish, Bingo Fada da Fortuna, Bingo Betina, and Bingo Samba Rio; in total, the studio has 20 video bingos in its catalogue.
Pragmatic Play is a premium provider of slot, table, live dealer, scratch card, bingo, and virtual sports games; it is licensed by MGA, UKGC, Romania, Gibraltar, and the Bahamas. Though the company was founded as recently as 2015, it has already collected plenty of awards, and it offers a catalogue of over 200 titles.
Pragmatic Play offers nine modern bingo variants that give players a traditional gaming experience with a fresh touch. The studio provides operators with marketing tools and cross-selling features such as fixed and progressive jackpots.
Skilrock produces both gambling equipment for brick-and-mortar establishments, online casino and sportsbook platforms solutions, and titles for the iGaming industry. The brand is a branch of the Sugal & Damani Group, that has almost 50 years of experience in the gambling industry.
Among the 70 games in the provider’s catalogue we can find a bingo, with support for various languages and currencies. Skilrock is also able to develop a brand new game according to a client’s specifications and demands.
Why integrate bingo into your online casino platform?
For an online casino, catering to the latest trends in is obviously important, but here at Slotegrator we strongly recommend to complement your offer with a selection of classic games. Bingo went through decades of evolution before appearing on online casino platforms, and it can now bring diversity and engagement while doubling as a great cross-selling tool.
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Each online casino has its own audience of players with a different set of preferences. With the wide variety of features and gameplay on offer, we are sure that you’ll be able to find a bingo designed by a reputable studio that perfectly matches your playerbase’s wants.
How can Slotgrator help you?
Thanks to nine years of experience in the industry, we understand online casino operators’ needs perfectly. That’s why, in addition to providing you with a large catalogue of games, we offer advanced technical solutions and reliable advisory services for your iGaming businesses.
To get a free consultation, get in touch with our sales team.