How long does a game of bingo last? That depends on luck and the system for calling and marking tickets, but a typical game lasts between 4 and 10 minutes. Let’s take a closer look at what goes into this timeframe.
The longest any game of bingo can last is ninety calls. At this point, every possible ticket will have every number called, so the game ends automatically. However, games practically never go all the way to ninety calls.
Realistically, probability tells us that the majority of games end somewhere between sixty and seventy calls. The average number of calls decreases slowly as more people join the game because there’s a higher chance someone will have a good ticket.
Calls are quick in professional bingo games, usually coming once every few seconds, so it’s important to keep up with the game. Casual locations may do calls at a slower rate, which lengthens each game and reduces the excitement in favour of a more leisurely style.
Beginner games also tend to be slower than regular games. Some bingo halls have sessions specifically to help people learn to play better, and since there’s a lot more fumbling and searching, they go at a slower pace to make it easy.
Game variants, like speed bingo, are naturally faster than regular games.
We know how long individual games take, but that’s not a good measure of the time you’ll spend playing bingo. Instead, it’s usually better to think of it in the context of a bingo night (or bingo day, if you’re playing earlier).
Online bingo games tend to be faster-paced, with minimal downtime between games. In-person games are slower, with breaks allowing people to buy tickets and stretch.
The game itself is only one aspect of a traditional night, though. Many people also have a nice meal and chat with friends to make bingo even more of an occasion. When you add these into the equation, it’s not rare for a bingo night to take several hours, with only a small part spent playing.
Evening bingo games start around six, so people often begin eating at five and enjoy a leisurely meal. Bingo halls are often purpose-built venues with fine dining available, so you can go straight from a restaurant to a game.
At home, with sites like MrQ Bingo, people may eat a little later and hop straight into a game afterwards.
We’ve looked at the question of how long does a game of bingo last, but how does ticket buying impact that? The biggest factor in the downtime between bingo games is purchasing tickets. Some people have to get tickets for each game, while others buy in bulk and prepare for several games in a row.
The actual time for this can vary by location. Bingo halls and online game areas want to run as many games as possible. More games mean more tickets sold, which means more profits for them. However, people also need a chance to decide whether to keep playing each night.
Many places don’t have a set number of games they plan to run in a given timeframe. Instead, they’ll run more if games end fast and fewer if things take longer than usual.
Having fewer players often means longer games, so bingo games outside peak hours tend to be more leisurely.
Online bingo is almost always faster than in-person bingo because the system can automatically collect numbers and mark things off. They can do this much faster than humans can perceive, but going too fast makes many people feel like they’re not playing real bingo.
To mitigate this, companies slow the games down to try and find the best balance between the number of games and letting people enjoy the experience. The speed needs to sync between different companies if they’re part of a bingo network, so online companies tend to have similar speeds regardless of where you play.
Some places offer bingo sessions, a series of games that halls try to complete in a specific period.
From six to seven, games are usually somewhat casual and may focus on electronic tickets rather than in-person games, even at bingo halls. This period is when some people are still eating, so these games tend to be for the most passionate fans who want to play as much as possible.
The main games in bingo tend to run from seven to nine. You’ll find most people are participating, both online and offline, and bingo halls will focus on traditional game styles in this period.
These games can be a little slower, but it’s common to have a break halfway through. Doing so gives everyone a chance to stretch, refresh themselves, and perhaps grab a small snack before getting back to the game.
From nine until closing, things tend to go back to electric tickets and more relaxed games. Online counterparts also tend to slow down after nine as people get ready to sleep, with most players logging off.
That said, sites like Sun Bingo may run 24/7, even if there aren’t many people on. Electronic systems can bring players from different companies together, and there are almost always enough people playing to let you find a game.
What About Collecting Winnings?
Winnings are usually available at the end of the night. Jackpots may take extra time to pay out. Outside of additional verification for winning cards, companies may have to set things up and transfer funds.
Online bingo systems can take even longer to pay out or have caps on the amount you can withdraw at a time. That helps keep their funds relatively stable, and it’s legal. If you’re chasing a big payout, make sure you read a site’s terms and conditions so you know what to expect.
So, how long does a game of bingo last? Most games will be over within 10 minutes at most, regardless of where you play. Six or seven minutes is more common, and most locations have several games in a row so you can feel like you’re participating for long enough. Many people make a night of it and play for several hours in total.
Last updated: Jan 24, 2023