If you are on the floor of one of the dozens of Native American casinos across the US, you may run into a game you don’t see elsewhere. It’s a hybrid slot game with a bingo display at the top, and it’s called a bingo slot machine.
Let’s look at bingo slots, what they are, how they compare to regular slots machines, and how to read the winning patterns.
What Are Bingo Slot Machines?
In short, bingo slot machines are slots synched up with a big house bingo game. When you spin the reels, you are actually playing a fast game of bingo against one or more other players in the casino.
You can easily spot these machines. They are the ones with a 5×5 bingo card and a display of drawn numbers somewhere on the screen. The rest of the device looks like any other slots game.
Bingo slot machines are considered Class II games because of the player against player bingo element and predetermined wins per round. Slots in most other commercial land-based casinos, such as those in Las Vegas, are Class III machines.
Class II Slots vs. Class III Slots
The class designation for casino games comes out of the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). It established three classes of games to regulate the gaming income of tribal gambling centers.
Class I is for ceremonial or social games with minimal prizes. Class II lumps together player vs. player games, like bingo, and card games where gamblers aren’t playing against the house, like poker. Class III is essentially all other “Vegas-style” casino games, such as blackjack, roulette, craps, and video poker.
Bingo Slots Are Born
As time and technology progressed, the tribal casino operators wanted to make their class II bingo games more popular since the bingo-hall setting was dated. Gambling tech experts eventually devised the bingo slot machine, combining the gameplay of bingo with the look and excitement of slots, all while still abiding with IGRA.
Class II Casino Games
- Player vs. player games with a single prize
- Slots are connected to house bingo games
- Regulated at the casino level
Class III Casino Games
- Vegas-style player vs. house games
- Anything that uses RNG
- Regulated at the state level
Anatomy of a Bingo Slot Machine
A lot goes on with a bingo slot machine. Most of them have two displays plus the slots reels, and everything changes each time you spin the reels. There are three main things to watch for when playing one of these games. If you sit at a machine for a while and pay attention, you’ll start to see how everything interacts.
Since wins are predetermined, the reels on some machines are just for show and don’t really matter. On newer video bingo slots, animated reels go through the motions to illustrate the amount you won.
Part of the screen shows drawn numbers for the specific round. Balls get pulled digitally, and the draw happens quickly. The numbers match up to the card to create winning patterns.
Some machines flash bingo patterns on the screen and tell you what pays what. Other games have a massive list of wins depending on the specific bingo you hit, similar to a paytable.
How To Read Bingo Patterns on Slot Machines
Patterns on the bingo slots cards are just like winning patterns in any other bingo game. You’ll see straight lines, geometric shapes, animals, and plenty of different combinations.
On the game’s screen, you might see flashing cards with pattern names, payouts, bet amounts, and the number of drawn balls that you have to cover your card. Some machines use a numbered code corresponding to a particular bingo combination and a paytable. The infographic below shows you how to read one type of pattern.
Hitting a Winning Pattern
When you press spin, you will see numbers light up on your card as they get drawn, some cover the pattern, and others don’t. When you see all of the numbers in the pattern covered, you win the predetermined payout.
Note: There is a space on the machine indicating your wager that you can change based on the machine’s limits. Some patterns will only hit and payout at specific bet levels, so you may need to up the stakes to access all possibilities.
Does This Help You Beat The Game?
Despite some superstitious beliefs, knowing how to read the patterns or trying to pick the right card at the last second doesn’t actually help you win. You can’t predict which balls will come up in a draw.
Knowing the patterns only tells you whether or not you will get a payout when the round is over and how large it will be.
Playing Slots and Bingo at Online Casinos
Bingo slot machines are a unique and ingenious combination of two fan-favorite betting games. Online casinos have class III slots and electronic versions of bingo that run on random number generators. Unlike their class II counterparts, you’re playing against the house.
Playing slots or bingo at one of the real money online casinos below is like playing in Las Vegas from the privacy of your home. You can even place bets and spin reels from your mobile phone or tablet.
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Try Online Slots and Bingo for Free
Try the game demos below to get a taste of what it’s like to play at an online casino. Both of these options are available at Wild Casino.
Get Into the Fun of Bingo Slots
It is always interesting to get out and encounter different real money games, and bingo slots are undoubtedly in a category of their own. If you want to witness one of these machines firsthand, you’ll need to make your way to a tribal casino. At least now you’ll know what is going on when you encounter one.
You can always play online if you’re not near a brick-and-mortar establishment with bingo slot machines. Play at a legit casino site that’s easy to join and has hundreds of slots and several bingo options.