Bingo (American Version)

Bingo is a gambling game of chance where players mark off numbers on a bingo card as they are called. Bingo has been popular across America since it was first introduced in the 1920s, and the 75-ball variation is predominantly played.

Bingo (American Version)

History of Bingo

Back in the 1500s, Italy played a game named ‘lotto’ that was similar to bingo and was a version of tombola. Numbers would be called, and it involved cards and tokens. It then became widely popular in France after the introduction of ‘Le Lotto’ in 1778. This started the bingo card format of a grid with 27 squares in a 3×9 grid format.

The US version of bingo became popular in the 1920s and 30s. This was predominantly due to Hugh J Ward, who took the game around carnivals. He then copyrighted the game, and by 1933, the rule book was published.

Edwin Lowe saw the excitement around the game of ‘beano’ created by Ward at carnivals and decided to bring the game to friends in New York. He then created his version of the game with 12 cards or 24 cards, which became mainstream across the country by the 1940s.

While it is unknown where the name ‘bingo’ came from, some speculate that it came from someone shouting ‘bingo’ instead of ‘beano’ during a game.


How to Play 75-Ball American Bingo

In the UK, 90 ball bingo is known as the British variant, but in the United States of America, 75 ball bingo is the bingo game of choice. 75 ball bingo plays in a very similar way to 90 ball yet it has some slight differences. Here is how American bingo is played:

  1. Players purchase their bingo cards
  2. The bingo caller shouts out the numbers as they are drawn randomly
  3. Players mark off any numbers that appear on their cards with a dauber
  4. If players achieve a win, they can shout ‘BINGO!’
  5. The bingo caller or a staff member checks the bingo card to ensure they definitely have a winning combination
  6. The winner can claim their prize

After a winner has been announced and claimed a full house, a new bingo game can begin. These bingo numbers are called either through an electronic random number generator or via a mechanical ball drawer machine.


75 Ball Bingo Cards

75 ball bingo cards are displayed in the same way, and at a bingo hall, this will usually be on a piece of cardboard or paper. There are 25 squares on a 75 ball bingo card and this is displayed as a 5×5 grid. At the top of each column is a letter spelling out BINGO. This means on top of column one is the letter ‘B’, on top of column two is ‘I’ and so on. As the middle space on each bingo card is blank, there are 24 numbers on each bingo card. An example of a 75 ball bingo card is:

13 18 38 47 74
7 20 31 59 65
5 29 50 69
12 26 44 56 70
10 22 43 49 63


Each column has a set range of numbers. These are:

Bingo Column Number Range
1 – ‘B’ 1 – 15
2 – ‘I’ 16 – 30
3 – ‘N’ 31 – 45
4 – ‘G’ 46 – 60
5 – ‘O’ 61 – 75


How to Get a Win in 75 Ball Bingo

In 75 ball bingo, there is a pre-determined ‘pattern’ that is the combination needed to win. Some of the patterns that you may find in 75 ball bingo games include:

  • Coverall – all numbers are marked on the bingo card
  • X – numbers on two diagonal lines of numbers from each of the four corners
  • Square – numbers marked off on the four corners
  • Diamond – numbers marked off in a diamond shape on the card
  • N – numbers marked off in an N shape
  • Cross – numbers marked off in a cross shape

Before a player starts a game of 75 ball bingo, they must know the pattern required for a winning combination to partake in the game. 75 ball bingo normally only has one winner, which can make the jackpots in this game larger than other variants such as 90 ball bingo.


75 Ball Bingo Jackpots

The jackpot in 75 ball bingo can be determined in various ways, depending on what type of bingo game you are playing:

  • Progressive jackpots – progressive jackpots have jackpots that continue to grow as the game continues. If no one claims the jackpot within a specific number of calls, the jackpot rolls into the next game to create an even larger jackpot prize
  • Linked jackpots – linked jackpots connect jackpots from a range of 75 ball games across bingo halls or if its online bingo, across a variety of bingo sites
  • Community jackpots – with community jackpots, the winner gets the largest prize of the game while the rest of the players who took part get a smaller share of the prize


American Bingo Terminology

In the UK, bingo terminology is known as ‘bingo lingo’. The US also has its particular terminology found in bingo halls across the country. Some of the phrases you may find at US bingo halls include:

US Bingo Terminology Terminology Explained
Ready/waiting/chance/down/shot This describes a player who only needs to get one more number to achieve a winning pattern
Breaking the bubble The earliest point at which a player can get a winning pattern is called breaking the bubble
Jumping the gun If a player calls bingo before the number has been called
Standard All numbers that are a double of the first number such as 22, 33 and 44
Hard way bingo A bingo pattern in a straight line that does not use the middle free space
False alarm When a player calls ‘bingo’ but does not yet have a winning pattern. It is a false alarm


Bingo in the USA

Bingo games are usually held by charity organisations or churches in the US, and the game can vary depending on state legislation. At bingo halls, games are usually operated every day, while at Churches, they are operated weekly. Jackpots are usually quite small but the final game of a session usually has a larger prize up for grabs as part of a coverall style game.

One of the most popular locations to play bingo in the USA is the state of Nevada, which is famous for its gambling games. These games are run by casinos across the state and also by Native American bingo halls. These games are predominantly attended by locals, rather than Nevada and Las Vegas tourists. Games usually last for one hour and are offered every few hours, daily. Some bingo halls will offer linked games that increase the size of the jackpots across multiple venues, but this does reduce the chances of winning.


Popular Bingo Game Variations

There are many variations of popular bingo games that you can play in the US. Some of the most common variations include:

Bingo Variation How to Play
U-Pick’Em Bingo Players can mark specific numbers to monitor them for wins. It is very similar to the game of Keno
Shotgun Bingo This game is usually played in-between the main bingo games as it is a quick game with the numbers called fast and only one or two cards played
Quick Shot Bingo The numbers are drawn before the game and players purchase bingo cards that are sealed and matched against the numbers. There is a prize table in these games that displays what players will win if they call ‘bingo’
Bonanza Bingo This is often a progressive jackpot bingo game where between 43 and 48 numbers are drawn before the game begins. Players will then mark off their cards all even, odd or pre-drawn numbers. The bingo caller will check if anyone has a win, but if they do not, the bingo game continues. Players must call bingo within a set number of calls, otherwise the jackpot is turned over to the next game
Table Bingo This is a game of bingo that is fast-paced and played at a casino like other games such as blackjack


75 ball bingo is still the top bingo game played in the USA and is also enjoyed around the world. It offers exciting gameplay, large jackpot prizes and provides players with a great social community.

Last updated: Jan 24, 2023

Lillian Grey

183 Articles

Lillian Grey is a long time online bingo and slots player who started putting her thoughts down on digitial paper around 2008. Having been covering the industry for quite some time, she is able to spot the good from the bad when it comes to online bingo. An ever present at indsutry conferences and events, Lillian likes to meet fellow bingo enthusiasts to share stories and ideas, with maybe a glass of wine (or two) involved! When not covering the ever changing world of online bingo, she likes to read a good book and go for family walks in the forest.

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