If you’re used to playing bingo in bingo halls and clubs and you’re wondering how the online version of the game works, or if you’re totally new to bingo and want to get involved but don’t want to leap into your first game feeling totally clueless, the Golden Bingo team is here to unravel the mystery of online bingo rules for you.
To be fair, there’s nothing mysterious about online bingo rules as they’re incredibly simple to learn because if they were overly complicated, there wouldn’t be millions of people taking part in bingo games each week.
If you’ve ever played a game in a land-based club like Mecca or Gala, the rules are pretty similar – for 90-ball games at least. The main difference is that rather than having to manually dab and sort your Cards, and try not to go cross-eyed while you keep track of how close to a full house you are on each card, the Online Bingo Software does it all for you. Some sites give you access to special in-game options, which allow you to change the look and colour of your auto-dabber. Plus, if you don’t like the suggested cards you’re given when you go to make your purchase, you can often swap them for different ones that are more to your liking.
You’ll also find that online bingo allows you to socialise just as much (if not more) as you can in a land-based club thanks to a nifty feature called the chat facility. It’s a window that runs in every room where you can see and reply to public messages from the chat moderator (the person who monitors the room, answers questions, announces the winners, keeps the mood light and fun, and intermittently runs chat games), as well as your fellow roomies.
When it comes to online bingo rules, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach due to the many different game types available. However, the majority of traditional 90-ball and 75-ball games are each based on a standard set of online bingo rules, which we’ll explain below.
90-ball bingo is still the game of choice for the majority of players in the UK. It’s the same type that you find in land-based clubs, and it typically offers three prizes in each game.
You can purchase individual tickets or strips (N.B. a strip is a group of six tickets), and each ticket contains three rows and nine columns. Every row is formed of five random numbers (from 1 to 90) and four blank squares, giving you a total of fifteen numbers per card.
Each game offers you three potential ways to win, and the prizes are awarded in the following order:
Although there are three prizes per game, it’s possible for multiple players to share the winnings. For example, if one of your cards qualifies for the one-line win at the same time as two other roomies, you’ll each receive a third of the prize amount.
N.B., some games may not offer all three prizes while others may include special features like Roll On (more than one Full House can be called per game) and 1TG and 2TG (a prize pot is divided between all roomies with only one or two numbers left to go when the Full House is won). If you’re in any doubt, the chat host will be happy to clarify the rules for you.
75-ball games are particularly popular in the US but are also becoming highly sought-after in the UK.
Each ticket is formed of five rows and five columns, which gives you a total of twenty-five squares. The centre square is ‘free’ (i.e. blank or marked by a star rather than a number) while all the other squares contain numbers between 1 and 75. You can often buy just one ticket per game or purchase strips, and each strip is made up of a group of three tickets.
The online bingo rules for 75-ball games can vary, and you should be able to see which format is being used by looking at the top of the game screen where the prize amounts for the different win types are displayed during each game. Some 75-ball games only award one prize for either a coverall (you must cross off all of the numbers on one of your tickets) or a pattern (you must cross off every number on one of your tickets that forms a specific pattern such as an ‘S’ or an ‘X’). In the UK, many sites offer an alternative version of 75-ball bingo that awards five prizes per game – for one line, two lines, three lines, four lines, and five lines.
While you’re playing at different sites, you’re likely to come across some other intriguing bingo variants such as 80-ball, 50-ball, 30-ball, Deal or No Deal, Immortal Romance, Lucky Numbers, and Who Wants to be a Millionaire. As the rules of some of these other game types can vary between operators, it’s best to check the prize amounts and formats at the top of the game screen prior to taking part so that you know what you need to do to claim a win.
Now that we’ve looked at the two of the most common online bingo rules, it’s time to start having fun. All of the recommended online bingo sites you'll find on our website are notoriously welcoming to new members. So, if you find yourself with any last-minute questions or get stuck mid-game, don’t hesitate to ask your fellow roomies or chat moderators for assistance or a few helpful tips. Plus, some of the best online bingo sites including Wink, Mecca, Gala, Costa and Jackpotjoy host rooms that are exclusively for newbies. Most of them allow you to play for free while simultaneously learning the ropes alongside other newcomers. So, don’t be shy – jump in and starting having fun today!