Bingo is considered as a "soft" gambling game and since it is so common, bingo fans have developed a personal language exclusively for the game. Here are some of the most common phrases and terms used in bingo halls and in online bingo sites:
Admission – Used to describe an entitled entry to a bingo hall or to participate in a bingo game.
Admission Packet – It is a packet of bingo tickets used to get an admission. Usually in the admission packet there are three to six bingo cards, which vary among bingo halls.
After Game – The game played after the last round of a bingo session.
Ball Gate – A part of the bingo machine, from which the bingo pass to the playing field.
Ball Lifter – The device used to lift the ball from the playfield.
Ball Runway – The path in which the ball id lifted up to enter the ball shooter.
Ball Shooter - The mechanism loaded needle with a rubber edge used to pull the ball into the playfield zone.
Bingo Booklets – A set of colored bingo tickets, played color by color. They are attached together, thus the meaning "booklet".
Bingo Card – A card full of 24 numbered places and one open place (clean). There are five rows, and each row is assigned with a letter, from "B" to "O" (B-I-N-G-O). In each row there is a set of random numbers. In the "B" row there are the numbers from 1-15. "I":16-30, "N":31-45, "G":46-60, "O":61-75. In the middle of the "N" row there is a blank space.
Bingo Marker – A marker used to mark drawn numbers.
Bonanza Bingo – A bingo variation, in which the numbers are draw before the session and who ever reach a "blackout" wins instantly. It is usually played as the 13 session in bingo halls. If no player wins than more numbers are then drawn. Notice that the rules of Bonanza vary among bingo halls.
Blackout – A game system in which you must cover up all the number of the bingo ticket in order to win.
Breakopen – A multiply card with perforated breakopen marks. The game play zone of the card is covered to conceal a numbers, letters or symbols; some of which have been chosen previously as award winners.
Buy-In - See "Admission Packet".
Caller – The employee of the bingo hall in charge of announcing the raffled numbers.
Cash-In-Prize – A bingo game in which the payouts are cash.
Casino Night – A period of time, this usually starts afternoon and ends in the late hours of the night. In this event a bingo organization is allowed to operate casino games, such as bingo, roulette, poker and so on.
Consolation Prize – It is a prize(s) given if no winner is announced, usually played in special bingo variations.
Coverall– Another term for "blackout".
Dauber – The only pens aloud in bingo halls, used to mark drawn numbers. A variety of them in various colors are purchasable in any bingo hall.
Early Bird Game – a "warm up", meaning the first session of bingo.
Face – A term used to describe a bingo card.
Flimsy – Multiply bingo cards, printed on one sheet of thin paper. Usually cost $1-$2 and the payout on special games are bigger than the session's normal prizes.
Free Space – The center four-sided figure of the bingo ticket, meaning the middle square.
Game Board – A visual model of the game where drawn numbers are marked thus making them visible to anyone in the hall.
G.T.I – It is an electric dauber used to mark more than one bingo card.
Hall Ball – The first raffled and announced numbers.
Hard Card - A bingo card pattern which is printed on cardboard material. It is combined with shutters to cover up drawn numbers.
Hardway – A term used to describe a winning of card without the use of the free space. There could be more than one Hardway.
Inside Square – Another pattern but this time the player must mark the squares surrounding the middle square, meaning the free space, and the "I" and "G" and "N" rows as well.
Inlaid Card – It is a printed card, laid into a table, and discs are used to cover up the numbers as they are being drawn.
Instant Bingo – A bingo pattern which is needed to be complete in order to win the offered prizes.
Jackpot – A relatively big award, granted by completing a specific and rare pattern.
Late Night Bingo/Moonlight Bingo – A bingo session that starts late in the evening.
Lucky Jar – A jar packed with cash, which is to be won if a "special" number is drawn by the caller. If the caller announce the number by mistake it is also won he mistaken and announce it. It is usually the first number drawn in the session. Notice that money is added while the session progress and it is played almost only on regular bingo games.
Money Ball – It is a number which is raffled in the beginning of the game and inserted back. If later on you win with the help of that number then your prize is doubled, hence "money ball".
Multiply Winners – If more than one player wins the jackpot, if so the money is equally divided among the winners
Mushroom – A name for a display of bingo displays, usually it has six to eight positions for players.
Rainbow Cards – Bingo cards which are varied by colors. These cards are used to play for more prizes in the same time. The value of the prize rise with the color of the ticket and from high to low they are: Tan, green, red and blue.
On – A term used to describe a player who lacks one space on his card, which he needs in order to win.
On The Way – A game played before the blackout, on the same bingo card.
Outside Square – It is a pattern in which a player must fill the B and C row and top and bottom rows all in order to win.
Pattern – A special form/shape which needs to be formed by the bingo numbers on the card. For different games there are different patterns.
Parti – A bingo game in which cash is paid, depending on the number of players (due to the fact that half of the earnings are put as the main prize).
Payout – The percentage of the gain of the bingo hall which is then put back as prizes (or the equivalent value of the prizes). The payout is 75% in bingo halls, meaning, three quarters of the revenues are given back to the players in the form of prizes.
Postage Stamp Pattern – If a 2 on 2 pattern is marked in the edges of the card.
Progressive Bingo – See "Progressive Jackpot".
Progressive Jackpot – A jackpot which increases with time until it is won.
Quickie – A fast session of bingo and the numbers are announced without halts.
Rainbow Pack – A bingo card which allows for players to play for more than just one prize at a given time.
Reno Night – See "Casino Night".
RNG - The machinery used to draw numbers – Random Number Generator.
Serial Number – The bare minimum five character number in print by a company and on all sets of charity game cards.
Series – Used to describe how many "faces" can be in a given set of cards.
Session – A period of time in which different games of bingo are played, normally no more than 4 hours.
Shutter Cards – See "Hardcard".
Six Pack/Nine Pack – A term used to describe when six or nine numbers are drawn and they are psychically near each another.
Special – Games which are played with cards other than the admission cards.
Speed Bingo – Just like a quickie but in this bingo variation you may win with only three numbers.
Split Pot – A bingo game in which the prize is split between the bingo hall and the winner, the percentage given to the house is predetermined.
T.E.D – See "G.T.I".
Texas Blackout – A variation of blackout. If the first number drawn is even then all the even numbers on the cards are covered, if the number is uneven than all these numbers are covered.
Throwaways – See "Flimsy".
Validation – Eligibility necessary to gain extra prizes. The cost varies by the amount of cards played by a player.
Vegas Night – See "Casino Night".
VFW – A name for bingo halls.
Wild Number – This is the first ruffled number, after this number is ruffled any other number who bears the same last digit is also marked. If the number 15 is drawn then any number ending with "5" can be marked.
Josh Kendice, Guest Editor. 06/12/05