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Bingo glossary
Bingo terms, meaning of words: Terminology, Jargon, Slang, Vocabulary, Dictionary.
Bingo Glossary...

  • Admission - To be eligible to enter a bingo hall and/or participate in a bingo game.
  • Admission Packet - A minimum number of cards that you must purchase as the price of admission. Typically you must purchase an Admission Packet, which usually contains three to six card for every regular game, and may also contain some special games. Exactly what is part of the Admission Packet varies from hall to hall.
  • After Game - The game played after the end of a regular session of play.
  • Ball Gate - Part of the ball dispensing machine, the one-way flap at the top of the 'ball runway' which the ball passes under to enter the main playfield area.
  • Ball Lifter - The mechanism used to raise the ball from beneath the playfield to the 'ball shooter' tip.
  • Ball Runway - The channel where the ball is launched up by the ball shooter to enter the main playfield area.
  • Ball Shooter - The spring loaded plunger with a rubber tip used to launch the ball into the playfield area.
  • Basket Bingo - Bingo game where "basket" prizes are given. (See here for details and rules)
  • Bingo Board - A display board, usually electronic that lights up showing each number as it is called.
  • Bingo Books/Booklets - A number of different colored bingo sheets/cards bound together to form a book/booklet to be played one for each game at a bingo session. They are usually bound in the order in which they will be played.
  • Bingo Card - A card containing 24 numbered spaces and one free space (blank), with which you play BINGO. The numbers are assigned at random on each card and are arranged in five columns of five numbers each by five rows (5 x 5 = 25 in total including the blank square). The numbers in the B column are between 1 and 15, in the I column between 16 and 30, in the N column (containing four numbers and the free space) between 31 and 45, in the G column between 46 and 60, and in the O column between 61 and 75. Players have thousands of unique (unduplicated) cards to choose from. Some manufacturers print unduplicated series of 6,000 cards. There are also series of 9,000 cards available. Hard cards and Flimsy cards have a series number printed on them. For example, card number 1252 will always have the same numbers in the same spaces.
  • Bingo Marker - A crayon or ink dauber that is used to cover the numbers on a bingo game card.
  • Blackout - (Also, Coverall) A pattern where you must cover the whole card to win. Usually 50 to 60 of the 75 bingo numbers have to be called to cover all the numbers on a card. But blackouts in as few as 43 numbers have been recorded.
  • Blower - A forced-air device that mixes the bingo balls and dispenses them to the caller who announces the number and displays it on a bingo board.
  • Bonanza Bingo - A progressive coverall Jackpot that is usually played as the 13th game of the session. Forty-five numbers are drawn before the session and players mark them on separate cards and set aside. There is an additional fee to play this game, usually $1. The countdown begins at 48 numbers or less and go up one number per week to 52 numbers or until won. The amount of the jackpot is determined by card sales for that game.
  • Breakopen - A multi-ply card, made completely from paper or paper products, with perforated breakopen tab or tabs. The game play area of the card is covered to conceal a number(s), letter(s) and/or symbol(s); some of which have been designated in advance as prize winners.
  • Buy-in - Buying bingo cards or an Admission Packet (see above). Converting cash into bingo cards.
  • Caller - The person who calls out the bingo numbers as they are drawn.
  • Cash-In-Prize - A form of bingo where the prize is a cash payout. This is taken from the money paid in.
  • Casino Night (Also, Vegas Night) - An event held for a specific period of time (generally beginning in the afternoon and ending by midnight) during which a qualified organization is entitled to hold casino-style gaming events. Games conducted include: Pulltabs, bingo, roulette, blackjack, poker, craps, gin rummy, five card stud poker, and merchandise wheels.
  • Chat Room - A handy monitor or screen where you can read and exchange messages with other players.
  • Consolation Prize - The prize or prizes offered on some special games if there is no winner in a predetermined number of calls.
  • Coverall - (Also Blackout) A pattern where you must cover the whole card to win.
  • Dauber - Bingo dauber is ink-filled bottle/pen with a foam tip on it used to mark called numbers. When you touch the bingo card with the foam tip it marks the square. (See picture above)
  • Early Bird Game - A bingo game that starts earlier than another regularly scheduled game. But sometimes the Early Bird game is merely the first game of the session. The first game of a session is more commonly known as a Warm Up.
  • Face - Is the individual bingo sheet containing 24 numbers plus the free space in the middle.
  • Flimsy, Flimsies - Bingo cards printed on thin sheets of paper. There are usually three cards printed on a single sheet but flimsies are also printed in one, two, four, six or 9-card formats. Typically a flimsy sheet costs one or two dollars and a win on a flimsy on a special game usually pays quite a bit more than a win on a regular game. Also called 'Throwaways' in some areas.
  • Four Corners - A pattern where you must cover the corner numbers of the card. If you get those four numbers, you win.
  • Free Space - The center square of the card, which does not have a number assigned to it. It's like a Joker or a Wild square. You get it free every game and it counts towards your winning pattern.
  • Game Board, Gameboard - An electronic display that is attached to the bingo board to show the pattern needed to win that particular game. It looks like a bingo card and shows what variation of bingo you are playing on that particular game on the program. For example: four corners, chevron, regular, blackout, etc.
  • Game Room - Some online games divide the players into game rooms.
  • G.T.I., T.E.D. - An electronic dauber system used to play multiple packs at once. These usually require a rental fee and only one is allowed per player.
  • Hard Card - A bingo card printed on heavy cardboard material usually with shutters to cover each number as it is called out.
  • Hardway Bingo (Hard-way Bingo) - Bingo in a straight line without the use of the free space.
  • House - A casino or gambling center/centre or a gambling hall/property. Also the property owners or the operators of a gambling game, such as Bingo.
  • Inlaid Card - A pre-printed card, usually in 4x4 format laid into a table, and black discs are used to cover the numbers as they are called out.
  • Instant Bingo - A breakopen ticket which contains the letters B I N G O, bingo card faces, bingo numbers, and no other symbols. Winning tickets may incorporate letters spelling the word B-I-N-G-O, or contain a complete pre-designated bingo pattern, i.e., vertical, horizontal, or diagonal line.
  • Jackpot - A big prize usually awarded for achieving a difficult pattern, such as a blackout, within a specified number of balls.
  • Late Night Bingo (Also, Moonlight Bingo) - Session of bingo that starts late at night, usually about 10:00 pm.
  • Lucky Jar (or Cookie Jar) - A container with cash. You win the contents of the lucky jar if you bingo on the lucky number. The lucky number is usually the first number called at the beginning of a session. Money is added to the jar every time the lucky number is called or if the caller makes a mistake in announcing the game. Usually you can win the lucky jar only on regular games. There is no lucky number in play on special throw-away games.
  • Main Stage Bingo - The main event of a session of bingo, and the one said to draw the most customers.
  • Minimum Buy-in - The least amount you must spend to be eligible for prizes.
  • Moonlight Bingo - Session of bingo that starts late at night, usually about 10:00 pm.
  • Money Ball - A number drawn before the game that will double a player's winnings if bingo is hit on that number.
  • Multiple Winners - Two or more players bingo at the same time. When this happens, the cash prize is divided among them. For example, if there are five winners on a $500 game, they each receive $100.
  • Mushroom - A group of bingo displays which takes its name from its shape - it has a narrow tubular base, and a wider head with the machinery used to play the game and collect money from players. Customers sit around the mushroom to play, and there are usually 6 to 8 positions at each.
  • On - A player is said to be On when one or more cards they are playing lacks only one number for a bingo.
  • On The Way - The game played on the way to the blackout game. It is played prior to the blackout on the same card. First the preliminary game(s) are played and then more numbers are called until there is a blackout.
  • Pattern - The shape you need to cover on your card with called out numbers, usually it is in a straight line; horizontal, vertical and diagonal. See here examples of bingo patterns (link opens new window).
  • Parti - Short for participation bingo, a type of slot bingo or cash bingo where the prize is cash and depends on the number of players, since the cash prize is at least 50% of the money paid in. The most common boards used for parti bingo are inlaid cards and hand-held shutter boards.
  • Payout - The percentage of sales paid out by the House. The average payout among all bingo halls is approximately 75 percent. This compares with a payout of approximately 45 percent on state lottery games.
  • Postage Stamp Pattern - Matching four numbers to form a postage stamp (a 2 x 2 grid) in any of the four corners.
  • Prize Bingo - Until recently, this game was only played for a set prize or vouchers. Recent changes in UK law mean that now the prize may be cash of up to 15.
  • Progressive Jackpot - A Jackpot that gets bigger until it is won. It builds daily, weekly, or monthly if it is not won in a specific number of calls. If there is no winner in X number of calls, consolation prize(s) of lesser dollar amounts are paid. Different variations of progressive games add dollars or numbers, or both, to the jackpot. There is usually a separate buy-in for Progressive Jackpot games.
  • Quickie - Numbers are called as quickly as possible & the card must be full to win Bingo.
  • Rainbow Pack - A paper pack that allows players to play for three or four different prize denominations at once.
  • Reno Night - An evening of casino games like blackjack and roulette. These are sometimes held in bingo halls but more often in restaurants and hotels, Eagles & Elks clubs and other fraternal organizations.
  • RNG - Random Number Generator; the machine used to pick the numbers for a game of bingo. Most are electronic.
  • Serial Number - The minimum five-character number printed by a manufacturer on each set of charity game tickets/cards. Each ticket in a set contains the same serial number.
  • Series - Indicates the number of unique faces that a single set will contain. For example: a 9000 Series has 9000 unique faces.
  • Session - An entire evening or daytime program of bingo consisting of regular games usually played on hard cards and special games played on throwaways, flimsies or paper sheets. A session usually lasts somewhere between two and a half hours and three hours and 15 minutes.
  • Shutter Board - A hand-held re-usable plastic board with pre-printed numbers, usually in a 4x4 format. These numbers are marked off by closing shutters over them.
  • Six-pack, Nine-pack - Six or nine numbers in a block on one card.
  • Special - Games that usually are played with a different set of cards than the pack purchased at admission.
  • Speed Bingo - A variation of regular bingo. Numbers are called very quickly and you can bingo in as few as three numbers. Usually played before or after a regular session.
  • Speedgame, Speed Game - A coverall that is called very quickly. It is sold as a special game one card at a time.
  • Split Pot - A bingo game in which the winner splits the sales of the game (the pot) with the bingo hall or House. For example, the winner might get 60 percent of the sales and the house would keep forty percent.
  • Table Board Bingo - Table Board Bingo is a lottery scheme where players purchase the Table Board card and win prizes by being the first to complete specified arrangements or patterns of numbers on the Table Board Bingo device from numbers selected at random. A Table Board Bingo event can be held in conjunction with a Regular Bingo event and where the Table Board Bingo prizes are in addition to the maximum Regular Bingo prize board.
  • T.E.D., G.T.I. - An electronic dauber system used to play multiple packs at once. These usually require a rental fee and only one is allowed per player.
  • Texas Blackout - A variation of bingo. The first number called will be either odd or even. If the first number called is Even then all the even numbers on all your cards are Wild (Jokers). Cover all the even numbers. If the first number called is Odd, cover all the odd numbers. The game then proceeds to a blackout.
  • Throwaways - See Flimsies above.
  • Tickets - These are printed pages on which the main stage bingo is played. They are laid out in grids, and normally come in books. Some tickets have bar-codes which describe the numbers on them and are used to help check claims.
  • Validation - Eligibility required to win additional jackpot amounts. Price varies by number of cards played.
  • Vegas Night - See Casino Night, above.
  • VFW or V.F.W. - Veterans of Foreign Wars (re: Bingo Halls)
  • Wild Number - Usually played on a double bingo that leads into a triple bingo. The first number out of the hopper determines the wild number; for example, if 42 is drawn, all numbers ending in 2 should be marked off.
  • Wrap Up - The name of the last game of a session.

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