Online bingo has been one of the more unexpected and amazing success stories of the online gambling revolution. Once merely a pleasant pastime for past-prime pensioners, the Internet infusion has given Bingo a significant boost of excitement.

Young women especially seem to be taking to the game in record numbers (over 85% of online bingo players are women, and over a third are under 35 years old), which could very well account for the incorporation of pop culture-drenched chat and chat games, as well as the decidedly empowering feminine design themes that enliven many of the major bingo websites.

The game of bingo has a relatively simple basic set of rules: a card is marked off with a set of rows and columns, and individual intersections are selected by the player. As the game round progresses, the caller (a person in land-based games, a random number generator in online bingo) calls out numbers one by one. Play progresses until someone’s card has every number that the caller has announced (usually yelling “Bingo!” to declare the win).

From this premise, many variations and details may differ. The primary difference is between the US and UK versions; the US card is a 5×5 card with 25 squares (the center may be a “free square”) and 75 possible numbers (i.e., 75-ball), whereas the UK version has a 9×3 grid with 90 possible numbers (90-ball). The US version often features matching various patterns to win, whereas the UK version tends to stay with one or two horizontal lines or all lines (“full house”).

Online bingo adds a chat function, which not only does away with the usual moratorium on conversation during games but also presents many opportunities for bonus games. The chat feature contributes greatly to the development of the unique culture and community that accompanies online bingo.

Unlike many forms of online gambling, bingo is a highly social game which requires a minimum investment. In fact, free bingo games are very common, and can often lead to the same sort of jackpots as the pay games. Bingo is also unusual for the types of game prizes, which tend to feature merchandise, electronics, and travel and shopping prizes as much as cash winnings.