Are you missing nights spent at your local bingo hall? You’re not the only one! Many people right now are longing to get together with friends and enjoy a night out.
Whilst we’re staying inside more, why not get your friends involved by organising a virtual bingo night? Virtual bingo nights are incredibly popular and allow you to have a fun game of bingo and socialise with friends without having to leave the comfort of your own home.
If you’re unsure where to start in organising a virtual bingo event, don’t worry, we’re here to help. Read our step by step guide below for all the information you need to get a virtual bingo night planned and in your diary.
1. Get Everyone on Video Call
The first step in organising a virtual bingo night is deciding what video call application is going to be the easiest to use. What’s great is that in 2020, there are so many different options for players to choose from and many of them will already be widely used by those currently working from home. Some of the most popular video call providers to consider are:
- Skype – This is one of the most reputable and widely known video call software providers available. It’s completely free to use and you can use it straight from your mobile device. If you are having a large bingo virtual night, then this is a great option to consider as up to 50 players can be on a video call.
- House Party – You may have heard of House Party as it has seen a huge rise in users in recent months. Everyone is raving about this app! Up to 8 people can join in on the video call which they aptly name a ‘house party.’ What’s cool about this option is that there are also other in-app games you can enjoy playing together. This app is best used on mobile devices.
- Zoom – This is another trusted, popular option that can take up to 100 people on a video call for those throwing a huge virtual bingo night. It’s completely free to use and available across all devices including mobiles, tablets, desktops and laptops. What makes it a little different to other option is that you can choose a custom background, making bingo nights even more fun. However, the downside to Zoom is that the free version only allows video calls of up to 40 minutes.
- Facebook Messenger Room – Did you know that you can host a video chat room on Facebook? This is a recent feature launched by the platform that allows up to 50 people in a single room and the best part is, those who don’t have a Facebook account can still take part! Keep an eye out for updates on this software as soon they will be adding the ability to create rooms in Instagram and Whatsapp.
Any of these options will work well for a virtual bingo night and you can choose which is most important to you such as creative backgrounds, being able to play in-app games or the platform allowing a larger number of people in one room.
2. Decide Who’ll Be the Bingo Caller
In every bingo game, you need to designate one person to draw the numbers and check winning tickets to ensure the game runs smoothly and this is no different with virtual bingo games.
The role of the bingo caller is to draw numbers, call them out and then check tickets for those claiming to have a win. This person will also be responsible for choosing the game prize which can be anything from a voucher to a cash prize. Having this prize in place makes the game much more fun and competitive!
Over the course of multiple virtual bingo nights and games, you can rotate the bingo caller to ensure everyone gets a go at playing this role.
3. Create the Bingo Tickets
Next, it’s time to create the bingo tickets for the game. In normal circumstances, you would be given a ticket with numbers on a grid that are randomly generated, however, this won’t be possible with a virtual bingo night. Instead, you can use a random number generator online to do this and this is what online bingo sites use too.
Decide what bingo variation you are going to play so you know how many numbers will be in the game. The most common games are 90 ball bingo and 75 ball bingo, but as this is a virtual bingo night, you have the option of choosing whatever number you like! Just remember, the more numbers you have, the longer the game will be.
Every player needs to have a pen and paper ready for this step to write down their numbers.
- Find online a random number generator. This is incredibly easy to do and there are lots online to choose from.
- You can then set the minimum and maximum numbers for your game. For example, if you’re playing a 90 ball game, set the minimum as 1 and the maximum as 90.
- Click on the generate button to get your first bingo number and write it down.
- Carry on doing this until you have 5 bingo numbers to make up your ticket.
Make sure you are playing with a group of people you trust to accurately write down their numbers without cheating! Have all the players show their tickets on screen to check this before starting the game.
If you prefer, there are also ‘bingo cheat sheet’ options online that allow you to download pre-made bingo tickets and other resources.
4. Get Set, Bingo!
Now, you’re just about ready to get started playing but first, the bingo caller will need to set up the random number generator. There are loads to choose from on your mobile via apps. Visit the App Store on iOS or the Google Play Store on Android to find a random number generator that works well for you. You can also simply use one online if you prefer. This is easy to set up and, again, you’ll need to set the minimum and maximum number for the generator.
The game can now begin! Generate numbers and call them off for players to mark off their homemade tickets. A top tip from us to remember is to write down these numbers as you go. This will allow you to easily keep track of the numbers called and resolve any disputes that may arise from players. Furthermore, if you’re the bingo caller and using Skype, you can share your screen with the other players, allowing them to see what numbers are being called.
5. Announce the Winner
Whoever marks off all the numbers on their bingo card will be crowned the winner by shouting ‘BINGO.’ The bingo caller will then have to check their numbers before making the win official and awarding the player their prize. Physical cash prizes aren’t an option right now, but don’t worry, there are other options you can use to award the money digitally.
Most people already have PayPal, so it’s a great, hassle-free option when transferring money digitally. All you need is their PayPal email details to send money as a friend or family member.
If everyone has an iOS mobile or tablet device, you’ll be able to use ApplePay to transfer the prize. This is quick and easy and all you need is the recipient’s mobile number. As you expect, this transfer option won’t work with Android devices.
Monzo is a popular, fast-growing online banking option that lets you save money, share bills and also easily collect money from friends. If all players agree to this payment method, everyone can add money to the prize fund, allowing the winner to easily collect their prize.
Running a virtual bingo night for charity? A great option is to use the JustGiving platform. This lets you collect donations and all money is handled by the platform.
Setting up a virtual bingo night really is as easy as that! Enjoy a night full of fun, excitement and socialising with friends, even during lots of uncertainty. Follow these steps to make sure your next virtual bingo event goes without a hitch.