How Do Class II (Bingo) Machines Work?

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Bingo card on a Class II Bluberi machine

We’ve talked in depth about how traditional (Class III) slot machines work. But we’ve also covered a variety of other machine types that are out there – Historic Horse Racing Machines and Bingo (Class II) Machines are among them. The latter is the topic of today’s question:

I live in a state with class 2 slots. Do you know if class 2 slots have worse odds compared to class 3 slots? Are they similar to random number generators even though they use bingo games somehow? I don’t really understand the bingo card thing.

Lisa A.

Bingo machines have evolved over the years as the slot makers have become more savvy with how to work with the math around Bingo.

Anyone who’s played Bingo understands the basics – you have a Bingo card with five columns of numbers, with each column’s numbers chosen from a range of 15 (B is 1-15, I is 16-30, etc.). Then numbers from that set of 75 are randomly drawn.

When you play traditional bingo, you often play for pretty traditional patterns: 5 in a row, four corners, blackout bingo. Sometimes you’ll play for slightly more intricate patterns like a postage stamp or a flying kite.

When you play bingo on a Bingo Machine, the potential patterns can get a lot more complex. This allows for all sorts of possibilities to play out on the machine.

With Bingo Machines you’re playing against other players – sometimes a game will need to wait until others are playing to be able to complete a wager. That’s different than the self-contained slot machines that are working off a random number generator.

But in most other ways the experience you get on a Bingo Machine is equivalent to what you’ll get on a traditional slot. Slot makers are increasingly comfortable putting their slot brands on Bingo Machines, a sign you’ll get a roughly equivalent experience playing either the Bingo or slot versions of the same game.

You ask about odds, which is generally what people ask us when they really want to know about payouts. Just like going from casino to casino, payouts and odds may differ at times. Anecdotally, we have found casinos tend to be a bit more generous when offering Bingo Machines vs. slots as the comfort level is different. 

But because Bingo Machines are solely a tribal gaming offering, where payouts are often not required to be reported, there’s nothing conclusive out there confirming one way or the other.

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