Mobile bingo app reviews

Online vs Live Bingo

bingo hall - bricks and mortar

Are bingo halls the right call?

Since the 1960s, bingo has been a huge pastime in the UK, with at least one bingo hall in every town filling their seats with large crowds every night. Today, many of those players have taken their fun online, playing one of the many online bingo games or apps that have sprung up in recent years. So what are the pros and cons of each style of bingo, and which is the best way to play?

Playing socially

Naturally, playing bingo live is a much more social experience and, for many people, the chance for a night out with their friends is as important as the chance to play a few rounds of bingo. Live bingo halls create a sense of family amongst their regular players. Once you have played at the same bingo hall for a while, you will get to know many of the customers and staff, and you’ll find most of them will cheer your own wins almost as loudly as their own.

Live bingo halls also offer great value extras too. They aim to attract players by keeping their bar prices down and offering affordable food. This makes a night out at the bingo much cheaper than going out to a pub or a restaurant.

Online bingo tries to replicate this social side with chat rooms and other interactive features. You may even make friends with other regular players if you are loyal to the same game and play at the same time of the day or week. However, there is nothing quite like the thrill of playing in a crowd who are all after the same prize fund; or the excitement of shouting ‘house!’ at the top of your voice as you proclaim victory.

Shouting house

There’s nothing like the thrill of shouting ‘House!’ in a crowded bingo hall

Having a laugh

A good bingo host, or main stage caller, will make your night much more enjoyable. While the old days of ‘two fat ladies’ and ‘clickedy-click’ traditional bingo calls have gone, you should still get something of a show to go with your game. The floor staff, or checkers, can also add fun to your night.

On the other hand, if you just want to get on with the game, online bingo is much more professional. There is no slow calling so the old ladies can keep up and no cheesy jokes in between games. This is a serious game that is about the bingo and not the banter.

Speed and simplicity

Even the best mainstage bingo caller can’t keep everyone in the hall happy with the speed of their calls. There will always be some players left struggling and missing numbers, while others will just want them to get on with it. The faster the caller, the more you will have to concentrate to keep up, and the more chance of you missing out on a prize.

When you are playing online this is not an issue, as most sites will mark your card for you if you want them to. This not only means you will never miss a win, but also means you can play multiple cards in the same game. Of course, if it is the visceral thrill of playing that you are after, having your computer mark your card for you might not be enough.


Where online bingo really wins out though is convenience. One of the best online bingo tips is to avoid busy times, like evenings and weekends, where you will be up against so many more players. The prizes may be bigger, but your chances of winning are much smaller. With live bingo, you can only play when everyone else does, but with online bingo you can play when you choose to, and increase your chances of winning.

Similarly, you can play online bingo anywhere at any time, without having to give up a whole evening. While a live bingo hall may take two or three hours to play a dozen or so cards, you can easily fit this in on your bus ride to work, or in your coffee break, if you play online. You can play as few or as many games as you like, and you can start and finish when you want to. Online bingo gives you total control and flexibility that a bingo hall simply doesn’t offer.

Bigger prizes

If you are after big money wins, then live bingo halls simply cannot compete. For the most part, you will only be playing for the prize pot created by your fellow players, so you’ll only get small prizes in the tens or occasionally hundreds of pounds. There is just one big game, The National Game, which has a bigger prize, and then you are competing against every other bingo hall in the country.

Playing online gives you the chance to play for progressive jackpots that can be life changing sums. These are available anytime, not just on selected nights, and can be won by any player. Like slots jackpots, these can be won with just a small stake without having to play all night.

Bingo bonuses

Perhaps the biggest advantage of online bingo over bingo halls, is the many bingo bonus offers that are available. Search around the different sites and you’ll find plenty of great deals to get you started, including deposit match bonuses and bonuses that don’t require anything from you. You’ll rarely find a live bingo hall that lets you play for free, even if it is your first time.

At the end of the day, the best type of bingo for you depends on what you want from your game. If you just want a night out and a laugh, with the bonus of a small win here and there, then seek out your local bricks and mortar bingo hall. On the other hand, if you are serious about playing and winning, online bingo has a lot to offer, and can still be lots of fun along the way.

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