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Popular Types of Bingo Games

Jamie Wall
Written by Jamie Wall

A list of 6 popular bingo variants in the UK, detailing the gameplay, audience engagement, and educational aspects of some. The FAQ section answers the most popular questions on the differences between the types of bingo.

As a popular form of gambling in the UK, the lack of complex rules and in-depth strategy makes bingo games highly popular amongst wide groups of people. Many choose it above complicated tabletop games with cards, seeing it as a social occasion just as much as a chance to win gratifying sums. Regardless of the type you opt for, simply mark off the called bingo numbers on your cards and see whether you complete a line, a few lines, or a full house. On this page, we’ll reveal some quick facts about the UK bingo scene and outline some of the most popular types of bingo to play.

Key Bingo Facts and Where It Stands Today

Here are some key facts about where bingo first originated, along with the best win to date:

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Historical Roots

Bingo originated in Italy from the Italian lottery known as Lo Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia. In action since 1530, bingo didn’t find its home in the United Kingdom until the early 1700s.

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Popularity

Surveys show that 3 million people regularly play bingo in Great Britain, with many at least two times per week.

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Economic Impact

According to National Bingo Game, the total amount of monetary prizes won from different bingo games throughout the UK is over £1 billion.

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Record-Breaking Wins

The UK’s biggest bingo winner is John Orchard, who won a huge £5.9 million from a 30p stake at the online bingo site Butlers Bingo in December 2012.

Due to its popularity, there are now multiple types of bingo games. While the premise remains the same, each variation has its characteristics for players to be aware of, regardless of whether playing in physical bingo facilities or participating in website tournaments.

The most popular types are 75-ball and 90-ball. Our dedicated article on how to play bingo brings the two of them into the limelight. Make sure to check it if you’re not familiar with the rules and the gameplay. However, if you’re bored with classical bingo, the varieties below will refresh your palate.

80-Ball Bingo

A middle ground between 75- and 90-ball bingo, this type is complete with 80 balls and a 4×4 grid. Each ticket contains 16 numbers, and 4 different colours are used to categorise all 80 balls, with 20 numbers for every colour group.

The gameplay of 80-ball bingo is standard by simply marking the numbers. There are a lot of bingo patterns, including classic diagonal, horizontal and vertical lines, along with corners and a full house.

80 Ball Bingo Table

An example of an 80-ball bingo ticket

Column Number range
1 1-20
2 21-40
3 41-60
4 61-80

50-Ball Bingo

A 50-ball bingo ticket features a 5×2 grid with 10 numbers in total. Numbers can range from 1 to 50, with a full house and single line being the winning combinations. On average, a game of 50-ball bingo typically lasts between 7–10 minutes, so it’s a nice alternative for those who don’t want to stay too long on a game.

50 Ball Bingo Table

An example of a 50-ball bingo ticket

Column Number range
1 1-10
2 11-20
3 21-30
4 31-40
5 41-50

30-Ball Bingo or Speed Bingo

As a faster-paced alternative to traditional 90-ball and 75-ball bingo games, 30-ball bingo is even more dynamic and quick to play than a 50-ball bingo. Especially if you visit a physical casino or hall, as most 30-ball games last between 3–5 minutes.

Numbers range from 1 to 30, with each ticket featuring a 3×3 grid formation with 9 numbers in total. The ultimate winning combination here is a full house, in which all 9 numbers are marked.

Speed Bingo Table

An example of a 30-ball bingo ticket

Column Number range
1 1-10
2 11-20
3 21-30

36-Ball Bingo

While often as fast-paced as 30-ball bingo, the 36-ball variation isn’t as popular in bingo halls. Players have just 12 numbers on a 6×2 ticket and must mark all numbers within 36 calls to win.

Due to the differences in this variation, there are no specific charts or number ranges for players to follow. Typically, 36-ball bingo comes under different game names, with Cash Cubes and Fluffy Favourites being the most well-known. As a result, 36-ball bingo is most commonly found at online bingo sites.

Penny Bingo

Akin to its name, penny bingo allows players to purchase tickets for just 1p. The perfect option for inexperienced players to test the waters regarding bingo gambling, penny bingo tickets are available across all bingo variations.

The option to play penny bingo is most typically seen at online casinos. However, some physical bingo halls may offer these tickets, too, allowing players to practise their marking speed for a tiny sum of money.

The affordable nature of penny bingo tickets means they are incredibly popular across online and in-person games. So, check in advance when penny bingo tickets will be released at your chosen destination to avoid disappointment.

Maths Bingo

Offering an educational twist to traditional bingo games, maths bingo is a great way for people to practise their mental arithmetic skills. This free game is particularly popular amongst schools to help children learn — with no money involved.

Maths bingo tickets feature a 4×4 or other types of grids, each square featuring a number. The bingo caller will read a maths question, and participants must mark the correct number answer on their ticket. To win, players must complete a full row. However, it’s not the only possible way to play it.

One of the most widespread varieties is playing Maths Bingo with dice. The teacher will distribute bingo tickets with a chosen grid disposition. They, in turn, will feature randomly written numbers from 1 to 25 or other (as agreed with the teacher). At the top of the ticket, there will be a void space for 4 numbers — they are for the ones called out by the teacher after they roll 1 die. The pupils’ task is to fill the void spaces at the top with these numbers, and then execute mathematical operations so that the results match with the numbers on a grid. For instance, let’s assume we have such a sequence:

1—6—4—2

A pupil may train his multiplying skills: 1 × 6 = 6; 4 × 2 = 8; 6 + 8 = 14 — and then mark 14 on their grid.

Alternatively, the teacher may assign a task to make subtractions, additions, or other procedures in elementary arithmetic. It all depends on the creativity of the teaching staff, as well as that of the children.

To Sum Up

Bingo’s simplicity and sociable nature have helped it maintain its popularity. With multiple types of games out there, it can be confusing to distinguish the details of each — especially as a bingo novice. We hope this article has given you an idea of the main bingo variations to facilitate your choice. Regardless of your preferences, whether you’re playing online or in physical locations like bingo halls, this game will be a great way to make new friends.

References

  1. A History Of Bingo In The UK, Playing Bingo. https://playingbingo.co.uk/retail-bingo/bingo-history/a-history-of-bingo-in-the-uk/. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  2. Bingo Facts, National Bingo Game. https://www.nationalbingo.co.uk/interesting-facts. Accessed March 28, 2024.
  3. The Biggest Bingo Prizes Ever Won, Wink Bingo. https://www.winkbingo.com/blog/bingo-prizes. Accessed March 28, 2024.
Author
Jamie Wall
Jamie Wall Casino Analyst

Former NetEnt developer with MSc in Casino Game Development from the London School of Economics and an article featured in The Times of Malta. Jamie dissects each game & casino, so you can read reviews that blend passion and insight. You’ll never meet a person who knows more about game mechanics than him.

FAQ

How can I increase social interaction while playing online versions of 80-ball, 50-ball, and 30-ball bingo?

To do so, consider joining online casinos or bingo-playing websites that offer integrated chat rooms. These allow you to communicate with other players during games, creating a communal atmosphere. Participating in themed bingo nights or tournaments can also be a way to create a friendly competition, replicating the interplay of traditional bingo halls.

Are there mobile apps specifically designed for playing 50-ball and 80-ball bingo, and how do they compare to common online casinos?

Yes, many mobile apps on Google Play and App Store offer 50-ball and 80-ball bingo for you to play on the go. These apps often provide an extremely simple interface, making it easy to mark your numbers and chat with others. Compared to casino apps that offer games of all kinds, bingo apps might offer quicker access to games, notifications for starts of new games or special events, and sometimes exclusive mobile-only features or bonuses.

How do I win a full house in 30-ball bingo if it’s so fast?

In 30-ball bingo, indeed, the primary challenge lies in the game’s speed. It requires you to be extremely alert and responsive. A strategy to cope with this rapid pace includes practising with free or low-stake games to learn to recognise numbers faster and mark your speed. Additionally, limiting the number of tickets you play per game can help maintain focus and accuracy.

Can maths bingo be played in online learning environments?

Sure thing! Educators may create virtual bingo rooms or use online educational tools to host maths bingo games. Also, customisable bingo generators allow teachers to adapt maths questions to specific topics or difficulty levels. Interactive whiteboards and screen-sharing tools are helpful in this regard since they enable real-time problem-solving and discussion.

Furthermore, there are loads of printable maths bingo charts online that can be sent to parents. By printing the grids on paper, parents (or carers) can reduce the impact of gadget screens on children’s eyes and train their fine motor skills.

Are there any cognitive benefits for playing bingo variants like 80-ball, 50-ball, and maths bingo?

Engaging in bingo games can offer several cognitive benefits. For children, for example, implementing bingo in learning environments helps to train quick thinking, concentration, and number recognition skills. Maths bingo, in particular, helps to practise arithmetic and problem-solving skills in a playful context. For older adults, bingo can be a way to maintain mental agility and social interaction.