Online Bingo in the US is one of the most popular games in the country. It is huge and has a participation rate that is on par with online games such as slots, poker and the main stream casino table games. One of the driving factors of US online bingo’s popularity is its unique social aspect. Social aspects in today’s world is ever evolving and US Bingo has social attributes that make it very appealing to a wide range of demographics. The ability to chat and socialise during a game is what sets it apart from all other games. It has a slow turnover per game giving enough time for players to “chat” which is all part of the entertainment. With this in mind, often it is the social aspect that players are looking for when playing online bingo. That’s not to say, however, that winning isn’t a factor as well. US online bingo offers prize pools that are just as exciting and as large as slot machines, the lottery and keno.
The popularity of US bingo has been through its ups and downs. Only a decade ago, US Bingo was in rapid decline and projected be extinct. Local bingo halls were losing long term membership and the game of bingo was associated with an image of an old ladies game, not something that was cool and vibrant for the young. But bingo has since been revived through the the advent of the internet. Internet technology has allowed a wide social diversity reach and it’s soft gambling (light touch for want of better word) is quite refreshing. Surprisingly the influence of the internet has also seen an uptake on the land based US bingo scene, which is an extremely positive sign. Today in the US, there are over 60 million participants – both online and in the traditional sense.
The local bingo halls are beginning to thrive again!
So what is making Online Bingo so popular?
The internet and mobile devices has now made it possible to play online anywhere and anytime. Convenience is a huge benefit, alongside safety, entertainment and value for money. It’s a huge draw card for women, but we are also now seeing many men take up online bingo. More importantly, the age groups of players is trending down towards the late twenties.
The dawn of social media, instant messaging through WhatsApp, Facebook, WeChat and the like, has created a transferable communication mechanism that is ideal for online bingo. Online bingo thrives on a strong virtual community, and a virtual community can only grow through instant messaging, and other forms of virtual interaction. The social media platforms has certainly lent to the growth of online bingo.
Technology has also allowed players to play many games at once and chat with many players simultaneously. For players who want to be chatting with everyone, all the time and anywhere, online bingo is the only game in the world that offers this.
Online bingo in the US is very much a reviving game!
Understanding US Online Bingo
US bingo is the classic 75 ball (unlike the UK which uses the 90 ball variation). This means there is a pool of 75 balls to randomly choose from in selecting a number. The balls are numbered from 1 to 75. No two balls have the same number, and each ball has the same chance as being selected as another.
The 75 ball bingo game involves a bingo card that is a five column by five row square grid. The grid therefore consists of 25 squares.
In each square of the grid, a random number is assigned. The only exception is the middle square which is blanked out and not to be played. There are 75 numbers to randomly select from but only 24 squares to be populated with numbers.
Starting from left to right, the columns are labelled B, I, N, G and O.
For each column, numbers are assigned if they fall within the column range.
The number range for each column is as follows:
B = 1 to 15
I = 16 to 30
N = 31 to 45
G = 46 to 60
O = 61 to 75
Therefore, as an example, column B – which is the first column – has five squares. And in those five squares the numbers assigned must fall between 1 and 15.
Similarly, column I – which is the second column – also has five squares. And in those five squares the number assigned must fall between 16 and 30.
Traditionally it was important to know this as a player, for when numbers are called out, the player can quickly identify the column to scan down. But we will soon discuss how this has changed online.
How to Play US Bingo Online
Open an Account
The first step is for players to sign up to a US accepted online bingo site. Finding a good online bingo site can be difficult given the number to choose from. To find a good online US bingo site, they must accept US players, are honest and trustworthy, have quality functionality such as chat rooms, efficient payment methods and good customer service.
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Make a deposit
Having opened an account, the player deposits money into the account using their preferred method(s) that is acceptable for the online bingo site.
The player then uses the credits in the account to choose the bingo game of choice. Let’s assume the traditional 75 ball US online bingo is chosen.
Select a Game and join a Chat Group
Once selected, the player will join a group of players in readiness for when the game begins. Or, if single player mode, the player will have a brief count down before the game begins.
Before the game begins, the player is given a bingo card. If playing in a group, no two bingo cards are alike in regards to the random numbers assigned on the square grid. This means, more than one winner is extremely highly unlikely and that players copying each other is almost pointless.
Some players like to review their bingo card and memorise the numbers that have been assigned before the game begins. They do this in preparation for when numbers are called out for quick identification and marking (daubing) of the bingo card. However, although this was highly useful for traditional bingo, online bingo has a setting in which numbers can be auto-marked. This function allows players to sit back and relax and not concern themselves with marking numbers off quickly. So pre game readiness for online bingo is less important than the traditional form.
The Game Begins
When the game begins, traditionally a ball is selected from the pool of 75 balls and the number on the ball is announced to all players in the bingo hall or venue. The players would then scan with their eyes the bingo card to see if the number is present. If it is on their card they mark the number off as a way of tracking which numbers on their bingo card have been announced.
Online bingo replaces the randomness of ball selection, with a RNG (Random Number Generator). A random number will be computer logic selected and displayed on screen for players.
For those who have selected the auto-mark settings, if the number appears on the bingo card it will automatically be marked off. For those players who haven’t selected auto-mark they will need to manually check their bingo card and mark off if the number appears.
After the first number is randomly generated, a small time is allowed before the second number is randomly generated. The process repeats itself until a player has achieved a winning pattern. A winning pattern may include one complete row, one complete column, a X shape, or all numbers. There are over 300 variations of winning patterns that can be chosen to play for in selecting an online bingo game.
So far what we have explained for online bingo may not seem nothing out of the ordinary when compared to other online casino games, the difference lies with the chat functionality. Players love to chat amongst themselves, before, during and after a game. The game of bingo is a relatively slow turn over game. That is, it takes several minutes to play a game unlike blackjack which averages 30 seconds as an example. So, playing online bingo isn’t for the fast money action. It’s more about the time to play and to chat.
Online bingo sites have made it really simple to use the chat group function. Players simply click on the chat dialogue and see all the messages that have been posted. They can add to the list of message by typing their own message and clicking send or enter. Players can also upload pictures to create an avatar and some even allow pictures, gifs and the ability to send virtual gifts to other players.
If you are new, shy or just simply don’t want to chat – no problem – you can read chat messages in the side as the game unfolds. There is nothing forcing you to contribute to the chat group messages. You can chat as much or as little as you want.
Generally chat groups are monitored and regulated to remove offensive and disrespectful behavior. Most players develop a special bond with other players and create a very welcoming and supportive chat group community. Often emojis and words of encouragement are used that can be very expressive. The art of learning online bingo lingo can take some time for a newbie, but this shouldn’t be seen as a deterence. In fact , many players enjoy learning the online bingo lingo.
Online Bingo FAQ
In most USA states online bingo is permitted. The US has an extremely complicated framework and regulatory system, and in fact each State has its own ability in setting the gambling laws with exception to native American casinos which are governed at a federal level. Many of the US states allow traditional bingo and by inference online is also open to US players. Some states categorically prohibit their residents. In determining if you can play online bingo or not. It is very simple. Sign up to an online bingo account and if they accept you then your state is allowed. The onus is on online bingo sites to ensure that the US players they accept are permitted to play. Why? Because state laws that govern online gambling have penalties and fine which apply to operators.
It literally only takes a few minutes to sign up to play online bingo. There are many payment methods that online bingo sites cater for and their efficiency in processing payments has improved substantially with advancement in payment platforms.
In all US states, bingo is considered a form of gambling, even though it is a soft form of gambling. US state laws commonly define gambling as games with no skill than may result in a monetary return. Many US states permit bingo as it is a soft form of gambling and is often used by charity and non profit organizations to raise money for altruistic goals.