Bingo and Bingo hall gambling is often overlooked in the presence of blackjack, baccarat, or video poker, but that doesn’t mean it’s forgotten. Bingo parlors remain a favorite place for gamblers of all ages, drawing in millions of players worldwide. Due to the combination of thrills (winning) and leisure (waiting for the ball to drop), bingo is a favourite of charitable gaming organizations in many countries. Wherever you play, the following terms and their meanings should help prepare you for bingo gaming.
5×5 Grid Card – The chief bingo card in the United States.
75 Ball Game – The American style of play.
90 Ball Game – The Australian style of playing housie or bingo. (See our page about bingo games.)
9×3 Grid Card – The common layout for an Australian bingo card, as opposed to the 5×5 grid used in the United States.
Admission – The amount of money it takes to enter a bingo hall.
Admission Packet – The number of bingo cards needed to enter the hall. This is usually between three and six cards.
Ball Lifter – A mechanism used to draw the bingo ball.
Bingo Card – A card with a 5×5 pattern of numbers. This includes the 24 numbers, along with 1 free space in the middle.
Bingo Market – Either an ink dauber or a crayon used to mark the number on a card.
Blackout – Game variation where the winner must black out every number on their card.
Blower – The force-air devices which mixes the balls together, so when the announcer pulls out a ball, it’s random.
Breakopen – A multi-play card with perforated tabs. This method hides the numbers on the card until the card is bought.
Buy-In – The admission or the price of the admission packet.
Caller – The person who announces which number was selected. The caller also displays the number on the board.
Cash-In Prize – A game of bingo where cash is the prize.
Chat Room – The pop-up monitor for typing and reading messages to the other players in an online bingo game.
Consolation Prize – On some games, if no one has won in a certain number of balls, no one wins. In this case, these are alternate prizes instead of the big jackpot.
Coverall – The same as blackout.
Dauber – An ink filled bottle with a foam tip. The dauber is used by players to mark cards. All a person must do is touch the square with the dauber.
Early Bird Game – The first game of the night. Alternately, this is a game before the regularly scheduled games of the night.
Face – The bingo card with 24 numbers on a grid and the free space in the middle of the card.
Flyers – Strips of six housie tickets at a time, usually bought by those who only want to play a few games.
Full House – Also known as a housie, this is the biggest prize winning combination.
Gameboard – This big electronic board shows the pattern needed to win and keeps people as informed as possible.
Hard Card – A card printed on hard cardboard and containing shutters. When a number on your card hits, you close the shutter.
Housie – The Australian term for bingo. This game has 90 balls and is quite different than the standard 75-ball American game.
Kelly’s Eye – The number 1, named after the one-eyed Australian gangster, Ned Kelly.
Main Stage Bingo – The main prize game of the session and also the main draw for the night.
Money Ball – A ball drawn at random before the game. If this is the number drawn when you win, your winnings double.
Moonlight Bingo – Sessions which start later in the evening, around 10pm.
Multiple Winners – Multiple winners can happen, when two people fill out their cards at the same time. When you have multiple winners, you split the prize. If you have a $400 prize and two people win, the prize is $200 apiece. If you have a $300 prize and 3 people win, each wins $100. This is a common, if unwanted, occurrence.
On – When a player has at least one card which is one number away from winning, they are “on”.
Progressive Jackpot – A jackpot which continues to grow until it’s won. The progressive builds by the day, week, and month. The progressive is popular in everything from pokies to the side bets in table games, like Let It Ride, three-card poker, and even blackjack.
Quickie – Numbers are called quickly, while the card must be filled to win.
Random Number Generator – A device used to create random outcomes in gaming machines in a live casino or online gambling casinos.
RNG – Another name for random number generator.
Session – All the games of bingo you play in one evening.
Tambola – Bingo or houzee in India.