First and foremost, we’ll take a look at Slingo, a true crossover between bingo and slots that has been around since 1995.
Slingo is the closest thing there is to a genuine ‘bingo slot‘, combining elements of both traditional bingo, and slot machines.
In its original form, it’s a multiplayer game where each participant has their own bingo card, but instead of a bingo caller choosing balls for all the players to daub on their cards, a five-reel slot machine ‘spins’ to randomly select five balls at a time.
Each time a spin is made, the matching numbers from the reels can be marked off on the card above, scoring points for that participant and moving them closer to a full house.
After a total of 20 spins per player, the one with the highest points total is declared the winner – and as you might expect, there are big points bonuses for completing lines, or clearing your entire game card.
Slingo is a brand name, but you may see similar games (although not identical, due to copyright laws) running under different variations on ‘slots bingo‘ and ‘bingo slots‘.
If you’ve never heard of Slingo before, then it’s likely that ‘bingo slots’ to you simply means the online slot machines that appear on most online bingo websites.
These may or may not have a direct association with bingo – and in the vast majority of cases, they don’t – but they are a key component in many bingo operators’ online offerings.
Slots, like bingo, are generally games of chance, and as long as you know the basic rules, you should win more or less the same amount regardless of your skill level.
In fact, in many cases, sites are required by law to make sure that the element of chance is the dominating factor in slots games, preventing them from creating titles that rely too much on your knowledge of the game or some level of technical expertise.
Because almost anyone can play online slots with little to no experience, they are very popular, and a large proportion of people who regularly play bingo will have had a spin at some time or other.
On many sites, you are specifically told that you can play the slots at the same time as bingo – they might pop up in a separate window, or appear alongside the bingo games and chat room.
This adds a new dimension to your playing experience, and between the bingo, the slots and the chat, you should find it quite hard to be left feeling bored, even if your luck’s not in on any given day.
How to Play
Playing an online slot machine is easy enough, but check how your wager is calculated before you make your first spin, to avoid wagering more than you intended to.
It’s usually a layered process – first of all, choose how much you want each virtual coin to be worth in real-world money.
Typical values for virtual coins on online slots arcades range from as little as 1p to as much as £1, and maybe even more on certain high-roller sites.
Next, choose how many coins you want to wager on each of the game’s paylines – the different combinations of icons from the reels that qualify towards a win.
You’ll almost always find that the centre row across all of the reels is a mandatory payline, but you should have some choice over how many of the others you wager on, and this is where the big multiples come into play.
Some online slots have 50 or more paylines, so if you’re wagering on all of those, your total bet for a single spin could be £50 or more.
Make sure to adjust your coin value, coins per line and total number of paylines so that your total cost per spin is within your comfort zone.
It’s then simply a case of spinning the reels, and seeing what happens – and if you’re playing for a long time, look out for an autospin feature that can keep the game moving for you automatically; it will claim any prizes automatically too, and should pause for your input if a more complicated feature is triggered.
When it comes to feature play, just follow the on-screen instructions, and if you’re not sure of what you’re doing, click the ‘i’ or ‘?’ button to bring up the game’s information screen or help pages.
Like some bingo games, some online slots have progressive jackpots up for grabs – these can grow to be very large indeed, and it’s quite possible to win them within the space of your first few spins.
Even if you’re not lucky enough to hit a large progressive jackpot, you still have just as much chance as ever of hitting one of the smaller, regular prizes on the relevant slots title, so there’s no strong argument to avoid progressive titles, and plenty of reason to give them a go.
Instant-Wins, Scratchcards and Chat Games
Finally, look out for instant-win games. These are neither bingo nor slots, but fall into the same broad game category, which is why they still deserve a mention here.
Many instant-win games on bingo sites are similar in design to real-world lottery scratchcards (and many are called ‘scratchcards’ even online, where both the card and the scratching are virtual).
They are, again, quite low-skill, and based mainly on chance, but that doesn’t make them any less fun, and there’s still the chance of a decent-sized payout, too.
Chat games are slightly different, but usually give an almost-instant return to the winner; they are normally coordinated by your bingo room’s chat host and might take the form of a quiz or a caption competition among all of the players who are logged in at any one time.