Beginners Guide to Bingo

Our Guide to Bingo for Beginners


Bingo is one of those games that everyone seems to have heard of but not everyone knows how to play. In truth the game is incredibly simple but it can appear daunting for potential players who have never played it before.

For other more experienced players who might have played at the local bingo hall, the thought of online bingo might seem a little difficult to get your head around and you might be sitting there asking yourself the following questions…

How do I play online bingo?

How do I pay for online bingo?

What about the social aspect of bingo?

We will address all of these questions and more in our beginners guide to online bingo so you have the confidence to go and play and have the best chance of winning at the first attempt.


What is bingo?

First of all we should probably discuss what bingo actually is.

Bingo is a game that orginated in Italy in the 16th century and started out as a game called Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia which simply translated means ‘The Italian Lottery’.

From the Italian name to Beano, it soon became known as Bingo and so the game was born and the popularity of it rose (especially in the UK). Almost 2 million people in the UK play bingo every month and the popularity of online bingo is growing all the time. Improved online connections and the widespread availability of broadband across the United Kingdom has meant that almost everyone has access to one of the nations favourite games from the comfort of their living room.

Bingo is a game of chance in which players pay for a card with random numbers usually in a grid. The size of the grid and the amount of numbers can vary based on the type of bingo game being played but the way in which you win is by marking off the numbers as they are drawn one at a time. Usually, you will seek to complete a line or a patter or all of them – something that is known as a full house. The first player to complete the line, pattern or house is the winner.

Whether you are playing bingo online or down the local bingo hall, the prizes on offer will vary and will often depend on the amount of money you have had to pay for your ticket or on how many people are playing the game. Traditionally, the money you pay for your ticket goes towards the prize fund, so the more you pay and the more people that pay, the higher the overall prize.

Some online (and indeed offline) bingo companies also offer what are know as guaranteed jackpots. This means that they will guarantee the minimum prize no matter how many people play. These can be very lucrative games for savvy players but also add extra excitement as the prize funds can be huge, often in to tens of thousands of pounds.


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What is the difference with online bingo? 

With traditional bingo you would sit with a pen or a blotter and mark of your numbers on your card as they are called out. With online bingo there is no need to do that as almost all bingo games have the auto blotter known as auto-daub. What the auto-daub does is to actually mark off your numbers on your card automatically so you don’t need to.

This feature is one of the biggest draws of online bingo as it means you won’t lose due to having a poor internet connection and you won’t miss a number if you are playing with lots of tickets at a time. It also means the games are played at a good fast pace which keeps things more interesting.

Another big difference with online bingo is of course the fact that you can play it anywhere that you have an internet connection. For most of us that means pretty much anywhere in the country as you can also play on your mobile phone on most bingo sites and use mobile data to play.

Online bingo is available pretty much all day every day and whilst there are peak times where jackpots will be bigger, the chance of playing in small stakes, small prize games means that you can hone your skills and find the right kind of games for you.


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Is online bingo gambling?

 Any form of playing bingo in the UK is classed as gambling and therefore you will need to be over 18 to play. You will also need a means of funding your account – but more on that later.


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How to find a bingo site?

With 2 million monthly players you might expect there to be plenty of options when it comes to finding a bingo site to play on – and you would be dead right. There are so many bingo sites to choose from and that alone can be daunting to someone who is just setting out to find their first game.

The decision of which bingo site to use is a tough one as there is such a vast amount to choose from, this is why we have made it our mission to review all of the major bingo websites in the UK and provide you with the most comprehensive selection available.

There are many factors that you should take in to consideration when choosing which brand to use and some people might even choose more than one.

The first thing that attracts most people to a particular bingo site is the welcome offered or bonuses that are offered when you first sign up. Whilst this is an important reason to consider it is not necessarily the most important factor as the welcome bonus will not last forever. That being said, most bingo sites will provide you with at least a 100% bonus and many up to 300% and 400% bonuses. Often these bonuses are split across different types of games and won’t be purely bingo based so do be sure to check out the finer details of the welcome offers.

Some websites will offer no deposit bonuses which means you can sign up and receive a bonus without having to deposit any of your cash at all. These 100% free bingo offers will often be valid for a few days after your sign up and can be a great way to test out the games on offer without fully committing to the brand.

Some players will look to open lots of accounts with various companies just to claim the welcome bonus and there is nothing legally wrong with that. You might find that if you get a reputation for it then some companies might stop accepting your sign ups (as many bingo sites are owned by a single parent company) but most often you will have no problem with doing this. Where this can become a problem is that you might miss out on other kinds of bonuses afforded to more loyal customers as well as racking up loyalty points which can be quite lucrative.

Another major factor that you should consider when choosing a bingo site to play on is the user experience. You are potentially going to spend a lot of time on the site so you are going to want something that plays well and appeals to your tastes. This is why no deposit bingo sites are brilliant because you can really get a feel for how a site performs and the style of games that they host.

The choice of games is another factor and most bingo websites have a wide variety of games these days. The traditional 90 ball and the modified 75 ball games are regulars on almost every site, whilst the fiver games are a newer addition and can be fast and furious. In addition to this you might also want some down time on the slots or a selection of casino or instant win games – all of this is something you should consider when you first look to sign up.

The last thing you should probably consider other than regular promotions and free games is the community feel of the website. The one thing that many live bingo players fear when they make the switch to online is that the social aspect may be lost. Whilst you can’t have a glass of wine with you mates face to face with online bingo there is nothing to stop you sitting in your pyjamas with a glass of bubbly whilst chatting in the lobbies with your friends (or even complete strangers) if you crave the social aspect – check this out if this is important to you prior to signing up.


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How to set up a bingo account

Setting up an account couldn’t be simpler. You will need to hand over your personal details including your name, date of birth, your address and contact details as well as choosing your username and password. Many sites will ask you to select a screen name too which is used in the lobbies and for playing games.

You have to be over 18 to play so your details of course will need to confirm this.


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How to add money to your account 

You will need to select a depositing method to fund you account. Most debit and credit cards are accepted as standard and there are alternative methods such as PayPal, PaySafeCard, Neteller, Skrill, Boku and even bank transfers (although this can take longer to see the money in your account).

The depositing method is also the place your withdrawals will go to. So when it is time to claim your winnings you will hit withdraw and the money will go back to your depositing method of payment – be aware that it can take a couple of days to see the money in your account as it has to be processed.


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Different Bingo Games

Once you are logged in you will want to check out the various bingo games that are on offer. It is a good idea to start off with some of the free bingo games that are often displayed for new players only (newbies). Many companies offer 2-3 days of the free newbie games to get you accustomed to the way it all works without spending your money. It is definitely worth spending some time in the newbie games if they are available – here you will also pick up the terminology and a better understanding of the interface.

After this, you will want to check out the various game types on offer. The UK based 90 ball games and the US based 75 ball games are probably the best place to start.

90 ball games have 27 squares per card, broken down in to 3 rows of 9 squares. You will have a total of 15 numbers per card with 5 numbers on each line and 4 blank squares per line. There will usually be a line game and a house game. Lines are won in horizontal format only whilst the house game is complete when you have marked every number. The house prize is usually the biggest prize as it is the most difficult to get all the numbers first.

The 75 ball game is even more difficult to win than the 90 ball game and the card looks a little different. It is made up of 25 squares set out in a 5 row, 5 column format with all of the boxes being filled in with numbers except for the central box – meaning you have 24 numbers to mark. There is usually just one prize in this game but the jackpot tends to be higher than in 90 ball games.


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Time to play bingo 

As daunting as it might feel playing online bingo for the first time, it is actually really easy and couldn’t be much simpler. You can play with one card or multiple cards with the maximum usually being 96.

You can mark your cards yourself or your can use the auto-daub feature which marks them for you – this is recommended, particularly for new-comers as it means you won’t miss anything by mistake. This feature is particularly useful if you had a lot of cards.

Just like in real life, tickets can be purchased either individually or as a strip – the strip is recommended in 90 ball games as you will get 6 cards that feature every number.


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How are the numbers generated in online bingo?

Online bingo uses software that randomly selects the numbers that are drawn. The random number generator (RGN) is used to ensure that games are completely fair and companies are usually very transparent about how they implement their software. Software engines such as Dragonfish and Virtue Fusion ensure that games are played fairly.


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How do bonuses and promotions work?

As a new player you will enjoy the welcome bonus that you get for signing up. However, bingo sites are becoming more and more adept at keeping their customers due to such high competition in the market. This means that in order to keep customers they know that they need to offer regular promotions and bonuses and they also need to run really good loyalty schemes.

You can expect a variety of different sorts of bonuses along the way but the most popular ones come in the form of free games, prize draws, guaranteed jackpot games, chat prizes, loyalty point prizes and bonuses for being top of a leaderboard. The only downside to some of the bonus prizes when they are cash is that you often have to meet certain wagering requirements before you can withdraw them. Of course, these bonuses are designed to keep you playing for longer so they don’t let you withdraw the money until you have gambled it a certain number of times.


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What are wagering requirements in bingo? 

A wagering requirement is almost always attached to a bonus or promotion, so you don’t usually see these attached to winnings that you have won from depositing your own cash. A wagering requirement is essentially a requirement for you to wager your winnings in another game a certain number of times before you can withdraw it.

So for example if a bonus had a 2x wagering requirement, this would mean that you would have to play that money two times before you could withdraw it. Many sites have a 4x wagering requirement but some have 10x and others even have 20x to really try and lock that money in. As you become more and more savvy with bingo you will know to check out the wagering requirements in the terms and conditions prior to signing up.


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Bingo Advice for Beginners

It is important to remember that bingo is a form of gambling and whilst it should always be fun it can also be a highly addictive game. It is designed this way which is why you should always set yourself a limit on how much you want to spend over a specific amount of time. The best way to set your limit is it consider how much you are willing to spend/lose in a given month and break that down in to weeks or days.

So, if you know you are happy to spend £30 per month then you should break that down in to £7 per week or £1 per day. You can set limits in the settings of your account and we would recommend you do this and always stick to them!

In terms of actually playing the game there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of winning. The first is to buy more tickets. Of course, this may sound like common sense but the more tickets you have in a particular game, the more chance you have of winning. Only spend as much as you are comfortable to lose though and always gamble responsibly.

You can choose quieter times to play to increase your chances of success. The jackpots will probably be smaller but the playing prices will also be smaller and you will be competing against less competitors meaning your chances of winning will be much higher.

If you are playing 90 ball bingo then it makes sense to buy a strip of 6 so you can get an even spread of all the numbers across your tickets.


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Getting Social 

One of the biggest advantages of bingo over other forms of gambling or online gaming is the social aspect of it. We recommend that you get involved in the lobbies and chat rooms to get to grips with the way bingo works fully.

Start using some of the chat lingo and some of the bing terminology. Use abbreviations such as BRB (be right back) and GL (good luck).

Most bingo sites have chat functions and you can chat whilst playing a game or you just go in to chat. Most of them have dedicated rooms so why not test the waters in the newbie room – you might even pick up some tips or some extra offers in there.


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Going Mobile 

Lastly, if you want to play bingo on the go then you should take a look at the mobile apps of the bingo site you are using. Some have more than one and some have none at all so it is worth checking out when selecting which bingo site to use. Almost all have mobile optimised websites though so if you know that mobile bingo is going to be important to you then check this out before signing up.


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Getting Started

By now you should be fully versed in bingo and will probably have a better idea than most when they started out. We suggest you start off by looking at our complete list of bingo sites and get an idea of the ones that suit you best. Good luck (or GL) and enjoy!