Why Do Some Slot Machines Have Bingo Cards?

Slot Machine Screen with a Bingo Card

Slot machines come in a wide variety of styles. Some slots are basic five-reelers, some offer cluster pays, and others feature a Megaways slots engine.

If you play slots long enough, you may feel like you’ve seen it all with these games. One thing that you might not have seen, though, is slots with bingo cards.

These unique games display bingo cards and balls at the top. As a result, you might even wonder if these machines are totally different than normal slots.

I’m going to discuss more on the appearance of these machines and how they work. I’ll also cover why they’re like regular slots in many ways.

What Do Bingo Card Slot Machines Look Like?

A slot machine with bingo cards appears like a normal slot at first glance. It features a cabinet, display screen, and even unique symbols.

If you’re playing a game about racecars, for example, then the symbols and atmosphere will reflect auto racing. You won’t feel like these games are different from typical slots based on these aspects.

However, such slots also display a 5×5 bingo card at the top of the screen. They may also feature a string of bingo balls to the left or right of the card.

You’ll still spin the reels like with any other slot machine. The aspects that’ll throw you off, though, are the bingo card and balls. While this can be distracting at first, you can quickly learn to ignore the additional bingo elements on the screen.

But is ignoring the bingo elements a good idea? You’re going to learn the answer to that before you finish this article.

Why Do Some Casinos Offer Games Like These?

Native American casinos don’t offer slot machines with bingo cards just to be original. Instead, they do it for legal purposes.

As per the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988, tribes can negotiate gaming compacts with their local state government. Usually, these negotiations end with tribal casinos being able to offer Class II gaming.

Under a Class II agreement, casino can only provide poker- and bingo-related games. Gambling establishments wouldn’t experience much long-term success by only offering poker tables and bingo.

Woman in a Native Tribe Casino

Tribal casinos in the US have found a smart way to get around this issue. They order slot machines that essentially operate like bingo. The previous section explains how bingo-style slots work. They’re very similar to standard slots, with the exception of how they determine results.

Class III is the other main type of gaming. It’s usually reserved for commercial casinos. It grants gambling establishments permission to offer slot machines with random number generators (RNGs) and regular table games.

Commercial casinos don’t need to develop bingo-style slots. Instead, they can just offer the type of slot machines that many gamblers are used to.

How Do Bingo Slot Machines Work?

Class II gaming includes bingo, poker, and other related player-vs-player type of games. Normally, slot machines wouldn’t fall under this classification because they pit you against the house.

However, tribal casinos and their associated developers found a loophole. They realized that they could still offer slot machines by using a bingo component.

Bingo-style slot machines have the look and feel of regular slots. You begin each round by placing a bet and selecting the “spin” button.

The results are also displayed through reels and symbols, just like a slot. The twist, though, is that the results don’t actually revolve around the symbols.

Instead, everything is decided outside of the actual machine you’re playing. The slot machine you’re playing is actually linked up to other slots through a pooled bingo game.

Tribal casinos run a bingo generator that rapidly draws balls and decides winners. This process happens lightning-fast to ensure that results are provided for all linked machines.

Considering that Class II gambling is a player-vs-player affair, tribal venues need multiple gamblers to be playing slots. They can legally offer these slot machines as long as they have at least two players betting at all times.

Sometimes, the bingo generator doesn’t draw numbers/complete games in perfect sync with all of the machines. Therefore, results can sometimes take longer to come through.

Nevertheless, this setup is usually quick enough to where it doesn’t feel like you’re playing a bingo game. You’ll instead feel like you’re on a normal slot machine.

Bingo Card, Bingo Daubers, Bingo Numbered Balls

When bingo cards/balls are shown, you may have difficulty determining what’s a win or loss in the beginning. With time, though, you might be able to recognize the winning bingo patterns as they relate to slots.

Do All Class II Slot Machines Use Bingo Cards?

Slots with bingo cards and balls are exclusive to tribal casinos. Therefore, it might seem like tribal establishments must display a bingo card on these games.

The reality, though, is that tribes don’t necessarily have to show a bingo setup. Everything depends upon on a tribe’s individual compact with its relevant state.

As a result, some Class II slot machines look exactly like typical slots. They don’t feature bingo balls or a card on the display. Instead, they simply show symbols, reels, and betting options.

Can You Trust These Types of Slots?

You might be leery about playing slots with bingo cards if you’re used to Class III gaming. Before this post, you might not have even known about Class II and Class III gaming.

The reality, though, is that you don’t really need to be scared of these games. They offer random results just like any other slot machine. The main difference is in the way the results are determined. Class II slots use a bingo-style generator to produce results.

Outside of the bingo displays onscreen with most of these games, you probably won’t notice much difference with Class II gaming. You’ll spin the reels, wait for the results, and either win or lose the round.

If you’re worried about tribal casinos rigging slots results, then you’ll be comforted by knowing that these casinos are regulated by the National Indian Gaming Commission. This commission works to ensure that tribal gambling establishments offer fair and honest gaming.

As an added point, tribal casinos fully realize that rigging games isn’t a great business model. Gamblers who lose all of their money right away are much less likely to return.

As with any casino, tribal establishments need to offer fair payout percentages to keep customers coming back. Therefore, most bingo-style slots provide somewhere between 90% and 98% RTP.

What’s Better: Class II or Class III Slot Machines?

If given a choice, many gamblers will choose Class III gaming. They’re simply more familiar with this style of slots and feel comfortable with it.

Class III slot machines are also more likely to cover popular TV shows, movies, and comic book characters. Many players appreciate familiarity when it comes to slots themes.

However, Class III gaming doesn’t necessarily hold an inherent advantage over the Class II variety. Both types of machines offer similar RTP on average.

Class II slots can also compare favorably to their counterparts in terms of graphics and bonuses. They feature high-quality symbols and backgrounds along with exciting bonus rounds.

Row of Casino Slot Machines

A big advantage that Class III slot machines can have is huge jackpots. The most-popular Class III progressive slots tend to produce bigger jackpots because they’re connected to more markets.

IGT’s Megabucks, for example, is available all over the state of Nevada. It has paid out jackpots worth as much as $39.7 million. You’re just not going to find jackpots anywhere near this large in tribal casinos.

In Summary

Gaming classification is the reason why some slot machines feature bingo cards. Specifically, Class II games operate on a bingo model. Many of them display a bingo card and balls as a result.

You might think that this setup is strange if you’re not used to it. As for playing the games, though, you’ll hardly notice any difference.

Bingo-style slots do a great job at producing random and fair results. They’re also regulated by the local gaming authority.

You don’t have to feel weirded out by slots with bingo cards and games. They’re basically just like regular slot machines.