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How to Play Bingo

Bingo! A game of pure chance, Bingo is a universal favourite that’s fun and easy to play. It may not require strategy, but it does call for quick thinking and fast action. It’s great to know that Bingo is also charitable gaming, so part of the proceeds goes back to local communities.

Check the complete guide on How to play Bingo.

Play Video How to Play Bingo

The Object of the Game

What’s it all about? The object of the game is simply to match combinations of letters and numbers on a gridded card to the combinations drawn – and to be the first to fill in a specific pattern on the card.

How to Play Bingo in 5 easy steps

  • A map with a location marker.

    Plan your play: Choose your Centre, arrive early, and pick up a Session Program to see when specific games are played. Payment methods may vary, with some centres accepting credit or debit cards and others cash-only.

  • Dollar signs signifying expense level with a check mark next to the middle option $$.

    Set a budget: Bingo is fun to play, but it’s smart to treat it as part of your entertainment budget. Plan a budget and stick to it.

  • Cash next to Bingo cards.

    Buy your cards: Get everything you need to play Bingo at your local centre, from books of cards to special games.

  • Dabbing a section on the Bingo card with a dauber.

    Dab and Play Bingo: Get ready, get set, go! Watch and listen to the caller for every number-letter combination; dab and play to win.

  • A speech bubble showing “BINGO!!”

    Yell Bingo! Score the right pattern? It’s your turn to yell BINGO as soon as the combination is called.

1. Plan your Play

A pin on a map.

Choose a Centre

To help you choose where to play, each Bingo centre lists its schedule and programs online. These include special events such as cosmic Bingo and prize nights.

A clock

Arrive Early, Prepare to play

Plan to arrive at the centre 30 minutes before the session starts, to buy cards and secure a seat.

Bingo sessions can last from one and a half to three hours, including an intermission.

Two dollar bills stacked on top of each other.


Payment methods may vary, with some Bingo Centres accepting credit or debit cards and others cash-only.

2. Set a budget

Plan how much you’re willing to spend on Bingo in advance, and set a weekly or monthly budget if you plan to play frequently.

Treat it as part of your entertainment budget: cash you’d spend on a night out. Play only as many sessions as your budget allows.

3. Buy your cards

Buy a book of Bingo cards, choosing from 3 to 36 cards per game. Specials, or bonus games, are also offered as separate strips for individual purchase.

Specials are add-on, optional Bingo games, not included in the book, and can be purchased as individual strips of cards. They have their own prizes, including jackpots, which require a minimum purchase – usually a 2-strip, but can vary by Bingo Centre.

Be prepared with a session program and a dauber, which you can buy at the Bingo Centre.

Bingo cards next to a dauber.

4. Play Bingo

Get ready, get set, go! The caller will draw one ball at a time and call out each number-letter combination.

When a combination that’s called matches one on your card, dab that square on the card. Be sure to use only the dauber, not a pen or felt marker.


If you dab the wrong number by mistake, you can still win. Just ignore that mark or place a coin on it as a reminder.

Go ahead and play multiple cards at once – but only as many as you can dab. You don’t want to miss any potential wins!

5. Yell Bingo

Got the winning pattern? It's your turn to yell BINGO!

Four things to keep in mind:

  1. Yell bingo as soon as the number is called.
  2. Don’t yell bingo before the announcer calls your last number, even if it’s up on the screen.
  3. Do yell bingo before the announcer moves on to another number – otherwise it won’t count.
  4. If you call it by mistake, don’t worry. It’s not a problem.


Hold on to your card in case someone who calls it didn’t actually win.


Be sure to bring government-issued photo ID to claim your prize.

Bingo Jackpots

There are two types of jackpot prizes, depending on the game.


The prize for each game is fixed, unaffected by the number of players, and listed on the session program. It may be split among multiple winners.

Progressive jackpots

Some games feature progressive jackpot prizes, which start with a base amount and increase by a fixed amount or as a percentage of sales. Not every progressive game will have a winner, so the prize pot will increase until a player wins, and it may be split among multiple winners.


Some Bingo Centres feature a “must go” night, when the progressive jackpot must be won.


Some games or rounds of Bingo feature an ordinal number, which means that to win the jackpot, Bingo must be called before a maximum number of balls are drawn. If Bingo is yelled after that, the winner only wins a consolation prize.

More ways to play bingo

Electronic Bingo (eBingo)

Turbo Challenge Bingo

Electronic Bingo (eBingo)

Leave your bingo dauber at home. eBingo is a modern version of the traditional paper bingo you know and love. Played on an electronic touchscreen, the computer automatically “daubs” the numbers for you. All you have to do is follow along and yell “Bingo!” when you’ve matched the pattern called.

Learn about eBingo

Turbo Challenge Bingo

Take your game up a notch. Turbo Challenge Bingo is designed for players looking for a fast-paced game, that can keep even the most experienced bingo players on their toes. Numbers are called every few seconds and players are challenged to follow along, swiping their numbers to match the pattern called.

Learn more about Turbo Challenge Bingo