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You don't need to have ever played bingo before to be able to enjoy online bingo. People don't just play for the chance to win, but also for the social interaction that it provides.
In the 21st century online bingo advertising is as common as for items like insurance or three piece suites so it is now an accepted part of everyday life and a regular hobby of millions of people.
Furthermore, you no longer need to be tied to a desk to play. Online bingo is available on your laptop and increasingly on your mobile phone. Downloadable apps have been developed by all the top online bingo providers to enable their customers to play their favourite games wherever they may be. So play on your sofa, in bed or on the bus.
Not all bingo sites look alike. This is because there are different bingo software providers that have developed a bingo game platform and bingo operator choose which they want to run on and build their offer around that.
The biggest names you will come across are Virtue Fusion, Dragonfish, Parlay, Gamesys, GtechG2, Microgaming, Byworth and Cozy Games. If you see the term 'proprietary software' this means it is not part of any of these big platforms and is unique to that game. See a breakdown of all the bingo software types here.
When an operator chooses which software to run with they can also choose whether to just offer the bingo rooms that are available across the whole network of sites on that software or whether to offer 'local' rooms that are just available to their own players on that single site. Networked rooms mean larger prizes, but more players too, so can be harder to win.
When playing on a networked site, many players will be playing the same game, but at different sites. So someone playing Lucky Numbers Bingo at Gala Bingo will be playing against people playing the same game at Paddy Power Bingo and Sky Bingo and lots of others.
Many sites have developed their own non-networked rooms to run alongside the bigger networked rooms, so players can choose where they want to play and have the best of both worlds.
There are a number of different types of bingo game, the most common in the UK online bingo market being 90 ball bingo. You will also find 75 ball, 80 ball and 30 ball bingo at many bingo sites.
The premise of all these bingo versions is exactly the same - to be the first to cover all the numbers on one of the cards you hold, based on numbers being randomly generated.
Each ticket contains 27 squares and 15 random numbers. A ticket is made up of three lines of nine squares with each line containing five numbers. A 'strip' of 6 tickets will contain all 90 numbers. As each ball is called the software will mark of the relevant number on each card where it appears.
Most sites will play the usual UK game of 'One Line' (any single horizontal line across), 'Two Lines' (two horizontal lines) and then 'Full House' (all three lines) to win. The first player to correctly complete a horizontal line; then two lines and finally for crossing off all the numbers on a ticket and so achieving a Full House wins the corresponding prize for the given game.
There are a number of versions of 75 ball bingo. All are played on a card with five columns and five lines. Each column is labelled B,I,N,G or O. The B line contains numbers 1-15, the I line contains numbers from 16-30, The N line contains numbers 31-45, the G line contains numbers from 46-60 and the O line contains numbers 61-75.
In the 'British' and 'American' versions the centre square in the 'N' column is free, but in the 'Swedish' version there is no free square.
In 'British' and 'Swedish' 75 ball bingo prizes are usually offered for one line, two lines, three lines, four lines and the full house (or Coverall as it is sometimes known). The 'American Bingo' version is played on a variety a pre-determined patterns varying from single lines, corners and crosses to shapes of letters and numbers. The pattern options are endless.
This will be familiar to many from when they played at the seaside. Older readers will remember putting beer bottle tops over the numbers, but younger people will only have ever seen the plastic boards with the sliding doors.
The 80 ball bingo board contains numbers 1 to 80 in different, brightly coloured columns. The red column contains numbers 1-20, the yellow column is 21-40, the blue column is 41-60 and the white column is 61-80.
There are usually two chances to win. The first by calling a single line horizontally, vertically or diagonally, by covering the four corners or the four centre squares - although the exact ways to win may vary from site to site. The second is to go on to get the full house by covering all the numbers first.
This consists of a small grid containing numbers between 1 and 30. Some sites offer prizes for each of the three horizontal lines, i.e., one line, two lines and full house, while others just operate it on a coverall basis.
Some sites will also offer what is known either as a 'Progressive' or 'Jackpot' prize. These prizes are higher than the usual game prize and are usually won by completing the full house of any game version within a pre-determined and advertised number of calls.
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