Everything You Need to Know About Online Bingo in 2020 

Internet lottery concept with computer mouse connected to lottery balls

Bingo is enjoyed by players of all ages across the entire world. Join us as we teach you everything you need to know to play online, including the basic rules, picking a reputable site, advanced tips, as well as some of the latest news affecting the game.

Join the growing digital community

There’s little doubt that interest in online Bingo is increasing, with the UK’s Gambling Commission 2018/2019 review reporting 278% growth over a period of 8 years. This phenomenal rise is unsurprising when you consider the benefits the digital game offers over its traditional counterpart:

  • Play from any location – Whether you’re at home relaxing on the weekend, or want to get in a quick game during your lunch break, players can take advantage of mobile apps and websites to join in a game from any device with an internet connection.
  • Online sites never close – You may want to keep on playing, but unfortunately the host of your local game needs to sleep. Unlike the face-to-face version of the game, online sites are available 24/7 which means you can access it whenever you want, at any time of the day. 
  • You won’t accidentally miss a number – Got distracted, didn’t hear the call properly, or just didn’t see a number? In a real life game this may cost you a win. In online games this is not a problem. Many apps and sites use software that help you keep track of the numbers, ensuring you never lose a game because of a simple error.
  • Connect, chat and play with people across the globe – Connecting with people from your community is great, but online gaming lets you grow your relationships with passionate players from all around the world.
  • Take advantage of the sign-up bonuses – Many sites offer players bonuses for signing up. New players can use these rewards to get to grips with the game they’re interested in, while more experienced players can use the extra credit to play more games for free.

As appealing as this may seem, it’s important that we first touch on the different rules of the game before you start to play bingo online.

The rules 

The basics that you need to so you can enjoy the game have remained pretty much unchanged since the game’s invention in 1929. Each player gets a ticket containing a grid (or multiple grids), with a random number in each square. Players mark off numbers as they are called out by the host, which are chosen at random, usually using numbered balls.

However, as much as the basic idea is the same behind all versions of Bingo, there are some key differences between each version of the game. 

UK rules

The 90 Ball UK version plays out on a ticket with either one or multiple nine by three grids. Five random numbers are placed in each square along each row of the grid, with some squares being left blank. 

Players mark off numbers which are chosen at random by the game host. However, in the UK version of the game, the numbers selected are between one and 90. Players can win if they complete one line, two lines, or all three lines (more commonly known as a full house) of matching numbers.

US rules

Bingo numbers with blue and white background.

The US version, also known as 75 Ball Bingo, plays out on a ticket with either one or multiple five by five grids. Each square in these grids contains a random number, except for the square at the very centre of the grid. This square is called the free space, and automatically counts towards a win. 

Just like the UK version, the game host randomly selects numbers between one and 75 and calls them out. Players then mark off any matching numbers on their tickets, and win if they have a full row of numbers in a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line.

Other variations of the game

Hand of woman holding coin on Bingo lottery scratch card

The best sites and traditional venues offer variations on the core game. Each of these use a different pool of numbers, as well as different types of tickets. For example, one of the more popular online versions is 80 Ball Bingo. This take on the game plays out on a four by four grid, with random numbers between one and 80 in each square. As with other versions of the game, there are multiple patterns that get you the win, including first line, four corner and square arrangements.

There are other variants of the US rule set that include additional patterns for victory, such as an X (two diagonal lines of matching numbers from each corner of the grid), four corners (only matching numbers in the squares in each corner of the grid) and blackout (every number in the grid is a matching number).

Players can also use a scratchcard. In this version of the game, players scratch the top of the card to reveal the winning numbers, which they then compare to their boards. Numbers that match are scratched off, and players can claim a prize if they have a winning pattern. 

Online players don’t need to worry about being left out, as many gaming sites have recreated this experience with online scratchcard games.

Players may need to start learning new calls

If you’re a traditional player and are used to calls like “two fat ladies, number 88”, “never been kissed, number 16”, and “time for tea, number 83”, you may soon need to keep an ear out for new calls in your offline and online games. 

Millennial players are looking to replace calls that might be interpreted as offensive. In response to this, some older players are asking younger fans to respect the game’s tradition. Blake Robson, a 12-time winner of Bingo Caller of the Year, believes that it would be better to educate younger players about the calls. He also believes that keeping this part of the game the same would prevent confusion amongst older players.

Getting started online

Now that you have a basic understanding of the rules of the game, as well as how it is played today, your first step is to find a reputable online gaming site. When identifying whether online sites are safe, you need to keep in mind the following criteria:

  • They are legally licensed for your region
  • Take a look at online review sites, as well as social media channels and forums to get an idea of other people’s experiences
  • Research their customer support channels, and get in touch with them to test how helpful they actually are
  • Verify how long they take to pay out
  • Confirm if the online gaming site uses software provided by a trusted gaming developer
  • Carefully read their Terms and Conditions

Once you’ve picked an online site that you trust, you can start familiarizing yourself with how it works. However, don’t dive into a game without reading some of our advice first.

Bingo tips

Bingo lot is filled in with red pen

There are many strategies you can take advantage of to improve your chances of winning. Here are five tips that you can use online:

  • Start small — If you’re playing online for the first time, you’ll want to give yourself time to get used to the “lay of the land”. Until you’re comfortable with the system, you should start with only one or two tickets. This will give you the time you need to learn the interface, as well as any tools you can take advantage of. For example, many sites include an auto-dab feature which automatically marks off matching numbers, but it is disabled by default.
  • Set a budget — While there are ways to improve your odds of winning, it’s important to remember that you’re still playing a game of chance. Whether you’re on a winning or losing streak, it can be easy to get caught up in the game and spend more money than you had intended to. By setting a budget and sticking to it, you can help avoid any nasty surprises at the end of a gaming session.
  • The largest rooms are a double-edged sword — The rooms with the most players will generally have the largest prize pools, but don’t be fooled into thinking that’s all that counts. The more players in a room, the greater the level of competition and the less chance you will have to walk away with the jackpot. While you may need to play in the rooms that offer tickets that you can afford, if you’re aiming to win you may need to change your approach. Try joining a slightly more expensive room with fewer players so there’s less competition, or playing at a slightly quieter time, to increase your odds of winning.
  • The more tickets you have and the more games you play, the greater your chances of winning — If one player joins a game with one ticket but his friend buys three, who do you think has the greater chance of winning in that game? There’s no arguing with the maths here. Playing more games with more tickets ultimately means a better chance of winning. But again, remember to keep tabs on your budget so you don’t break the bank.
  • Have fun — We all play games to have fun, and if you ever find yourself not enjoying the game, be sure to take a break. Whether that means playing with a pet, watching your favourite show, or simply going for a walk, it’s important to switch gears for a while so you can come back to the game refreshed and in a better mood.

Looking for more pro tips on how to up your chances of winning that bingo jackpot, our guide to the top bingo strategies has you covered!

Connect with the premier online community

If you’re interested in an reputable online gaming site that allows you to play online Bingo, as well as other games like online scratchcards, be sure to take a look at Mecca Bingo

Founded in 1961, we’ve evolved to offer an exceptional experience to players all across the UK. We don’t just provide a friendly, fun, and safe environment for you to play and socialise in online, we also implement the latest technology to ensure your privacy and security online.

Get in touch with our customer service team to learn more about the steps we take to offer you the best online gaming service.

We’re here to help you keep it fun – remember to set your deposit limit. Click here for more details on the safer gambling tools available including reality checks and the ability to take a break from your gaming.


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