Online bingo is the game of bingo (US|UK) played on the Internet. It is estimated that the global gross gaming yield of bingo (excluding the United States) was US$500 million in 2006, and it is forecasted to grow to $1 billion by 2010.
Unlike balls used in regular bingo halls, online bingo sites use a random number generator. Most bingo halls also offer links to online poker and casino offerings as the patrons are often in the target market. One notable feature of online bingo is the chat functionality. Bingo sites strive to foster a sense of community and interaction between players as this helps customer retention.
There are four main types of bingo played around the world. In live North American bingo halls, they typically play the 75-ball version of bingo on a 5×5 card with the center square usually marked ‘free’. The letters B-I-N-G-O typically sit atop the 75 ball bingo card and they correspond with each of the five columns found on the bingo card.
The desired pattern which players aim to achieve in 75 ball can vary dramatically, from a simple single line to more complicated themed patterns. The aim of the game, however, is always the same: to mark off the numbers to achieve the desired pattern. Speed Bingo is a variation played exactly the same, but numbers are simply called much quicker.
In the UK, parts of Europe, Australia and parts of South America they play a 90-ball game, marked on a 9×3 card. Both types of bingo are prominent online. In 90-ball bingo, each card has three horizontal lines and nine columns. Each line contains five numbers, meaning each card has 15 numbers. The first column contains numbers from 1-9, the second column contains numbers from 10-19, the third column contains numbers from 20-29, all the way through to the final column which contains numbers from 80-90.
A game of 90 ball bingo will normally be played in three stages: one line, two lines and full house. In a “one line” game players need to mark a complete horizontal line across one card (i.e., 5 numbers marked). The aim of a ‘two lines’ game is to complete any two marked lines horizontally across one card (i.e., 10 numbers marked). Finally a “full house” means all the numbers marked off on one card (all 15 numbers), as in a regular coverall game. The prize split differs for each stage of the game. The prize will be shared equally among the winners if there is more than one. The full house is always the largest prize in any one game.
A third type of bingo game is a rather quick game of bingo. It is played with 30 balls, numbered one through thirty and appropriately known as 30 ball bingo or speed bingo. The 30 ball bingo game utilizes a 3 × 3 card and the object of the game is to be the first bingo player to “fill” his or her card, which requires all nine numbers on your card to match the numbers that have been called out.
The fourth main type of bingo game is 80 ball bingo, which is a hybrid between the 75 ball bingo rules and 90 ball bingo rules. The bingo cards are 4×4, thus they contain 16 numbers. Prizes are awarded in 80 ball bingo vary, depending on the game played. Some of the ways to win 80 ball bingo include being the first player to complete an entire line on their bingo card. The “line” can be horizontal, diagonal, or vertical. Getting “four corners” also constitutes a win in some 80 ball bingo games, whilst other games require multiple lines (1 or two lines), and still others require a full house.
Playing bingo online, players can make use of optional features which make playing the game easier, such as auto-daub. Auto-daub automatically marks off the numbers on cards as they are called, so players don’t have to. Most software providers support other gaming features as “Best Card Sorting” and “Best Card Highlighting” where players cards are sorted and highlighted by closest to bingo.
There is variety among the different kinds of bingo games that can be played. For example, some inexpensive game rooms appeal to the player who may want to play for as little as 3 cents or 3 pence per card ; some bingo games only allow players to purchase the same amount of cards so they are not competing against the “high rollers” out there who buy many cards for the same game.