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Is playing Online Bingo better
than playing the lottery?

At first glance this might seem to be a strange question. It would seem that bingo and lotteries are two different gambling games that don't have much to do with each other. But this not the case. And many the of the big national lottery organisations offer bingo in the form of scratchcards though it's not legal to do the opposite, bingo sites offering lotteries.

In truth the games are similar in that they both rely on numbered balls being selected randomly to produce a set of numbers that players have to match in order to win, whether this is on a lottery ticket or a bingo card. The difference is that in bingo you also buy cards that have randomly assigned numbers as well. Indeed, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) is so unwilling to make a definition of what the exact definition of bingo is, that they are sticking with the 1978 Royal Commission report findings that, “Bingo is a lottery played as a game”.

Not saying what bingo is leads to confusion amongst the game operators but they have helped out a bit. Bingo has three solid principles that must be adhered to:
  • its played as an equal chance game i.e. its not a casino game
  • the player has to participate in order for the game to work
  • it must be clear to all players how the game comes to an end
In the UKGC definition of lotteries it has basically the same criteria but with different wording. The possible exception is that a lottery may have no winners but in practice that does not happen. So Bingo is a type of lottery. And in both cases you need a license to operate one unless they are small and with a limited selection of people playing, like at work or for a charity.

Whats Better In Bingo


This is where the differences between the two show up the most. When you play bingo you know that whatever the top prize is, it is going to be won and that you have a realistic chance of winning it. The exact opposite is the case with lotteries, especially the UK National Lottery where over 85% of the time the jackpot is not won, you have almost zero chance of winning it and on the fifth rollover its likely to be passed down to other winning combinations and amount to much smaller dividends. Of course there is a difference in scale in the top prize but there will be another bingo jackpot available immediately after one has been won.

Chances Of Winning

Following on from jackpots definitely being won is the actual odds you are up against. You can control the odds of being able to pick a jackpot or any bingo prize by choosing which bingo game to play. You can choose from a wide range of games that have different numbers of participants, fewer means more chance, more means lower chance but bigger prizes compared to the cost of playing.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents rates your chance of being hit by lighting in one year at 1 in one million. If you play the lottery once a week for a year your chances of winning the jackpot is almost exactly the same over the course of that year. Each ticket has the chance of winning the big one 50 times less than being struck down by the gods.

Return Of Money

People playing the lottery generally know that they are not seeing much or any of their money coming back. Half of their ticket price is taken and given to good causes and half the remaining money is tied up in the jackpot prize which they are extremely unlikely to win. So that leaves little for the prizes you do have a chance of winning meaning those payouts are really small compared to how difficult they are to win. Sure in bingo you know some money is taken out of the prize fund so that the operator can make a profit, but most of it is returned the players.

Bingo is Hip

If the Guardian Newspaper thinks that bingo is hip then the world really has taken the game away from its old image. This is not a surprise though as bingo is one of the few gambling games where you are actively encouraged to converse with other players in your game. In fact its a vital part of it, communities of like mined people getting to chat online and in the real world whilst they dab away or tick off numbers on their online card. Its gambling with a soul which is better than simply buying an anonymous lottery ticket.

Gamble Wisely

As always we advise keep to sensible amounts of money that you easily afford when choosing to gamble on anything.
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