Is Online Bingo Rigged?

Cheating Unfair AdvantageWithout doubt the most common question that we get asked is “are the games rigged”? You just need to do a quick Google search on this and you will see dozens of threads from any number of forums all over the net saying that the games are rigged because of X, Y and Z.

With pretty much every single scenario, what people are seeing is variance. This is where extraordinary events occur but are not beyond the realms of impossibility. For example, the chances of you flipping heads or tails is 50/50, but if you flip heads once it does not make it more likely that you are going to flip a tail the next go as the odds then reset – the coin doesn’t know it has just been flipped. You could theoretically flip heads 1000 times in a row and the odds would not have changed for each flip.

This is why when these extraordinary results occur in bingo people are quick to call that it’s rigged. Whilst we are going to go into this in depth throughout this article, we can tell you right now that bingo games are not rigged.

Random Number Generators (RNG)

Random Number Generator RNGThe first place we need to start is in how the games are built. Each bingo game includes its own random number generator which then determines the order that the balls are called in.

The process is actually very complex, and they do it this way to make it virtually impossible to ever hack or even predict the outcome. It involves what is known as a ‘seed’ number and then works within a complicated algorithm from there. For obvious reasons this algorithm is not released to the public.

A seed number will be applied to each game and then from there the algorithm determines the order in which the numbers are released. This then creates the balls that would usually be called in a bingo hall and in turn, creates the online game of bingo.

We’ve spoken about games being tested for fairness with the likes of the UK Gambling Commission, eCOGRA, and iTech Labs, but you also need to be aware that these very algorithms are tested by these companies to ensure that they are completely fair and completely random.

These RNGs are built into each and every game of bingo that you see. Once the game starts, a seed number is made and from that the algorithm spits out a sequence of numbers for that game. After the game ends, the seed is reset and then it goes again with the next game and so on.

If you’re unsure or you want to know a little more about the testing for the RNG from the bingo site that you are playing on, then you can contact the UK Gambling Commission or eCOGRA and they will be happy to point you in the right direction.

How Bingo Rooms Make Money

Ten Percent ProfitPeople aren’t always aware of how bingo rooms operate, and more importantly how they make money. If they were, then the question of fairness in the industry would likely disappear.

A bingo room makes its money by taking a percentage of each of the games that are played on their site. This is often referred to as the rake and works in the much the same way that online poker sites do, in that they take a certain amount of each hand that is played.

The amount will differ between each bingo site but this determines the amount of money they will make. For example, if the site were to take 10% of each pot and the pot for a game of bingo was £10, then they would take £1 of that pot and the remaining £9 would be split amongst the winners for that game.

Why is this so important we hear you ask?

Well, this process means that the bingo site doesn’t care who wins. It makes no difference to them whatsoever how the game plays out or which player is the winner as their money has already been guaranteed by the number of people who have bought tickets for that game. In short, they have nothing to gain by fixing the games.

This all means that the games that they provide are as fair as they can be due to the result bearing no reflection on the money that they make. You also need to remember that you can see who wins each game, so to have the same winner each time would become highly suspicious.

Why do the Same Players Keep Winning?

Unfair Advantage Computer AngerFollowing on from the above point, there are always times where you see the same winners popping up on a leader board. It may seem like something fishy is going on, but it’s not.

The most common answer to this problem is that these players are likely spending the most money. There are rooms where you can buy up to 120 tickets for a single game of bingo. It could be that they are playing in small games but buying many tickets, so it’s likely they have the vast majority of tickets for that game. If this is the case it means that they are going to win a lot of times in quick succession, so that’s why you see these players’ names all the time.

It’s also worth noting that if you do see the same winners each time it’s highly likely that they are in fact losing money. They’ve likely spent huge amounts on multiple tickets across multiple games and more often than not it will cost them more than they win. They only need to come up empty handed a couple of times for this strategy to get insanely expensive.

Bingo TicketsAnother reason to note is that these players could be pre-purchasing cards to keep ticking all day long, even if they aren’t logged in. Pre-purchasing for up-coming games is possible on some bingo sites; you can set the number of tickets for each game and just let it do its thing. There’s no need to be logged in and it will keep your account working all the time.

Again, if they are doing this it’s likely they are losing a lot more money than they are making.

This answers the question of why you see one person winning multiple games at certain times throughout the day.

You can get around all this though and hit up sites or networks that limit the amount of tickets that can be bought for each game. Virtue Fusion actually offer a bingo room that caps the maximum tickets per game at just 12, and there are several other game developers that do the same. The lower the number that can be bought by one player, the more chance the rest of the field has.

The Chat Bot Announces the Winner Before the Game is Complete

Chat BotWe’ve seen this happen a few times actually: where a chat bot for the bingo site has announced the winner of the house before the winner of the 1st line has even been called. This has been done in error, but there is an explanation.

When you play bingo your random number generator gets to work straight away. As soon as that game starts the sequence of numbers has been drawn instantly and the computer will know who has what cards and then will already have a winner assigned. This isn’t cheating, it’s just how the RNG works, it’s ahead of what is shown on the screen.

The game obviously doesn’t just tell you the winners after 1 second and then end the game, as this would be boring. It plays out like a normal bingo game and as it works through it announces line winners and then house winners. All numbers are locked in can’t then be changed once the game has begun, which means all the winners are assigned as well.

In error, it has been known for chat bots to announce a winner before the game is finished. Obviously for those that don’t know how the process works it looks seriously fishy and many people have called it a scam, but this is either a human error (most likely) or a technical glitch if the chat host is not a human. The outcome is the same it’s just that you have been told about it earlier than planned.

How to Find a Fair Bingo Site

One of the easiest ways to find a fair and safe online bingo site is to cross reference the site with the UK Gambling Commissions website.

You will be able to get a lot of data about the company and also be able to see if they are licensed with the UKGC, along with what parts of the business are licensed.

We would recommend you do this before depositing at any online gambling site, just to be sure they are legit.

Buzz Bingo UKGC

To give you an idea of what that might look like, here is a look at Buzz Bingo and their online license. As you can see, the domain has an active license and this means that they have gone through all of the tests necessary to comply with the UK Gambling Commission’s regulations.

It’s worth noting that there are other gambling commissions that are based all over the world, aside from the UKGC; but bingo sites cannot legally accept players from the UK without a license from the UKGC, so if they don’t have one, you are playing on that site at your own risk knowing that you may not have any cover should anything go wrong.

You can also look on site or even contact bingo sites to get more information on things like how their RNG works and even the amount of money that they take from the pot as their rake. Reputable sites should be pretty open about this, and if they are then you know that they have very little to hide.

Finally, you can always look at what others have said about them in the past. The bingo community is one of the most vibrant and tight-knit of any gambling platform, so there is usually plenty to read. We do recommend that you read the reviews thoroughly as well, especially player reviews. This is because someone may have given a bingo site 1 star, but in fact when you read into it, they are frustrated at something that has happened to them that could have been completely avoidable if they were more aware with how these things worked. Wager requirements for a bonus and withdrawal times are two key points that people get annoyed about but are actually industry standard.

Bingo RTP (Return To Player)

Change in HandsRTP is a common feature in online gambling but to be honest, it’s better known for its ties with slots. The RTP is basically the amount that the game is going to pay back over a long period of time.

For example, if you had a game with a 95% RTP, then you could assume that this game would pay out 95p for every £1 that is invested, with the casino taking 5% as their profit margin.

But this does not mean that if you wager £1 you are going to get 95p back with each go. The RTP is based over a massive range of hands, which brings in what is known as variance. The games are set up to make it just as possible for you to wager £10 and get £50 back, which would be a 500% RT, as it is for you to wager £10 and get nothing back, which would be a 0% RTP.

Unless you play a huge amount, the RTP will not really affect the outcome of these games or reflect what you do or don’t get back. It’s just an overall idea of how generous (or not) the game is.

In bingo, the RTP is representative of the money that the site takes per game. On average you can expect around a 75% RTP, meaning that they take 25% of each game as their profit margin. As a player it’s always best find the bingo sites that offers the highest RTP, as this means that more money is going back to the players and less is going to the bingo site.