Can Science Help Brightonians With Bingo?

Bingo is one of the most popular past times in Brighton – from traditional community-run events to nightclub ones such as Bongo’s Bingo. The game has seen a revival, especially through online means. Could Brighton’s bingo boom continue if we took a scientific approach to it? Can science help us predict the odds of winning at bingo?


Bingo is a classic game played in the UK with 90 balls and the US with 75 balls selected at random and called out. Players then have to cross off the called out balls from their sheet of possible number combinations. As the selection of online bingo and slots shows, moving bingo online helped increase the types of game people could play and added themes, icons, and tie-ins to the classic gameplay. Some sites even offer associated slots to enhance the bingo experience and have provided players with a digitized version of the game. But as the balls are called at random, is there a way to analyse your chances of winning?

The short answer is yes. There are two ways to look at this. You’ll need to analyse the odds of you winning based on the numbers you have on your sheet and the numbers called out and the odds of beating other players. Each ball, for instance, has a 1/90 or 1/75 chance of being called. If 100 players are in the room, your odds of winning are 1/100.

Typical bingo cards consist of 15 numbers. So, theoretically, the odds of winning in fifteen turns – that is having your numbers called out consecutively – is 93,400,706,414 to one. To establish this, the different combinations need to be assessed. We can analyse probabilities of winning at bingo by looking at them row by row. Each row contains five numbers. To have all five numbers of one row called out in five turns, the odds are 1 in 14649756.

To have all five numbers called in 10 turns, the odds drop to 1 in 58134. Everyone statistically has the same odds in bingo, regardless of which numbers they need to cross off. But your individual probability of winning can be divided into the probability of you being the winner (so one in the total number of players) and the probability of you achieving rows filled in to eventually make a full house.

But unlike other games where probability makes a difference – such as the odds in roulette – few people investigate the probability of winning at bingo. As the odds are so high of your card being called in a certain amount of turns, most people prefer to consider their chances of winning compared to others who are playing. The more people, the slimmer your chances – but in many progressive jackpot style games, the bigger the prize.

Bingo is a game that many in Brighton play with instinct, luck, and fast reflexes. From drag queen themed bingo to casual raffle events, the game has gripped the seaside town. There is a way to scientifically analyse your chances of winning and some people may feel this helps them play well. Others look at the astronomical odds and think they’d rather concentrate on the numbers in front of them.