Bingo Payouts

A complete rundown on how bingo payouts are determined, helping you decide which bingo games are worth playing.

Payouts for a bingo session do confuse a lot of people. One bingo game would have a $500 jackpot while others have a whopping $500,000 one. This article will give you a complete rundown on how bingo payouts are determined, helping you decide which session is worth playing.

Bingo Payout Factors

cash icon

Before determining how a bingo hall runs the numbers for a game's jackpot amount, here are several factors that affect the payout.

Ticket Costs

Ticket price is one of the major factors contributing to the prize money offered in a game since this is what the establishment will use to cover the overhead. A portion of the total earnings for a specific session is used for the running jackpot.

It is important to note that ticket costs do not just come from the sale of one ticket. Casinos and hotels have bingo tournaments where the cost of entry is around $100 to $300. These entry costs are part of a room package where guests are given a specific number of tickets or cards per session.

Guaranteed Minimum Payout

Major bingo events tend to have a minimum guaranteed jackpot. This minimum amount is the guaranteed jackpot payout for any winner of that session. When there are more participants in that session than anticipated, the jackpot will increase.

Different bingo sites or events have varying minimum bingo payouts, ones that are held in gambling cities such as Las Vegas offer huge guaranteed payouts. It is important to note that regular bingo halls do not have a minimum guarantee prize and the total payout is still based on the final ticket sale of a session.

Number of Players and Tickets in Play

With jackpot prizes depending on the number of tickets that are active during each session, the number of participants has a substantial influence on that game's payout. You are likely thinking that the ticket number still dictates the jackpot amount, and you would be correct. However, the number of players will influence the number of active tickets.

The more players there are in a session, the more active tickets there will be. If a session has a minimum number of tickets required, such as five, then a relatively small number of players can still result in a large number of active tickets.

Prize Pool Tiers

Certain bingo games have multi-tier prizes where the total jackpot payout is split between more than one winner. The first player who can complete the target pattern on their ticket is the one who gets the top prize. Runner-up players who completed the pattern after the first player will receive the low-tier prizes.

First place has around 50% of the prize pool while the second and third place splits the remaining 50% - usually in a 30/20 split. If there is no multi-tier prize pool, whoever shouts bingo with a complete ticket receives the full jackpot amount.

Law-Mandated Payout Limit

There are laws in different US states and regions that set the jackpot limit of a bingo session. One example is the state of Colorado where the maximum progressive jackpot amount cannot exceed $15,000. In Iowa, cash prizes for one game are limited to $100 while "jackpot" prizes can reach $800.

It pays to know the limits set by the state on bingo payouts to find one with a sizable cash prize.

If you want the highest possible payout, look for states that do not have any limit on bingo cash prizes such as New Jersey and Nevada.

A list of factors than can affect bingo payout amounts
Common factors that will influence a bingo payout amount

Bingo Payout Calculation 

Staff compile the total ticket sale for each session and are cut into two: the bingo hall's rake and the cash prize for that round. If the bingo hall has a running progressive jackpot, a small portion of the cash prize of the running progressive prize comes from that session's cash prize.

Bingo hall rakes vary across different establishments, which usually range around 10%-35%.

For example, there are 50 tickets active costing $3 each so total sales reach $150. If the rake is 15%, the cash prize for that session would be $127.50 as $23.50 was taken by the bingo hall.

Progressive jackpot shares for each cash prize vary in most bingo sessions, which range from 1%-5%. If you are playing in a bingo hall with a progressive jackpot, the cash prize from $150 ticket sales would be down to $124.95.

Bingo RTP Explained

A bingo card

From slots to blackjack, every casino game has an RTP (return to player - a common term in slots) rate that determines the statistical amount a player would get back from their bets. Betting $100 on a slot with a 95% RTP rate for example would result in an average return of $95.

There are also bingo RTP rates, which help you determine the profitability of a game. A session's number of balls in play and the number of players determines your return rate during each session.

In bingo, there are 90 ball and 75 ball games with the number of probable combinations being the major difference between each game. 90 ball sessions usually last longer as it takes longer for a player to complete a pattern than in 75 ball sessions. Due to their lack of pace, 90 ball sessions would have a Bingo RTP rate of 80%. On the other hand, 75 ball sessions have an RTP rate of 70%-85% since the session can end in a short time.

A game's player number can also impact your RTP in one session where more players can cut down your return significantly. On the other hand, higher player numbers tend to result in larger payouts where your return for a small wager is substantially bigger.

Types of Bingo Payouts

Below are the three common prize structures you'll find at bingo halls:

Fixed Payout

As the name suggests, this is the main prize of any bingo session that comes out of the total ticket sales minus the rake. Bingo tournaments or events held in casinos and hotels usually set this as the main prize for most of their games such as four corners, letter patterns, and multi-row.

Progressive Jackpot

Progressive bingo jackpots are always the highest possible payout you can expect from a bingo hall. These prizes come from the small contributions that build up across each bingo session. With the contributions accumulating over several months, progressive jackpots can reach millions.

Winning these progressive jackpots is as difficult as progressive slot machines where you need to achieve a full house within a specific number of balls. A "full-house" is when a bingo ticket has all of its numbers covered. While this is achievable by having 60 to 75 balls in play, the requirement of completing a ticket within 30 balls makes it extremely difficult to get a full house.  

Prize Pool Payouts

When there are multiple winners for a bingo session, prize pool payouts are set for multiple people to receive a prize. Those who can complete the pattern first will get a majority of the payout while runner-ups receive the rest.

Examples of common bingo payouts
Types of different bingo payouts

Bingo Payout Verification

If you happen to be a lucky winner of a large bingo jackpot, including progressive cash prizes, chances are high that you will not receive all of your winnings immediately. Staff members will be checking the balls and machines to make sure the win is legitimate. Surveillance videos of the game are also examined to look for possible cheaters or collusion with the player and host. Once cleared, you need to present an ID to verify your identity and to make sure the winner is not underage.

Payouts that amount to less than $10,000, or within the maximum limit of a state, are given out in lump sum. For bingo payouts higher than the maximum limit, you are likely to receive your winnings by installment. This tends to be the case for progressive jackpots.

Bingo Payouts: FAQ

We've collected and answered the most common questions surrounding bingo payouts:

How is a bingo prize pool computed? 

Cash prizes come from the total ticket sales for a bingo session after taking away the rake. If the total ticket sale is $500 while the rake is 20%, the total bingo payout would be $400. If there is a running progressive jackpot prize, an additional 1%-5% is taken out of the payout.

What is the difference between fixed and progressive bingo jackpots? 

Fixed jackpots or payouts are the standard cash prizes in most bingo games. While these payouts vary in size, they are still fixed in regards to the usual bingo payout computation. On the other hand, progressive jackpots come from the accumulation of small portions of the prize payout.

Why do bingo halls have a maximum capacity on their payouts? 

Various states or territories have set a limit on how much a bingo hall can pay out its customers. Georgia has a limit of $1,100 in bingo cash prizes while Louisiana allows up to $4,500 of cash prizes per game. There are states such as Nevada that do not put a limit to the maximum payout of a bingo game.

What are bingo RTP rates? 

Return-to-player (RTP) rates are the statistical returns on your bets. 90 ball sessions usually have an RTP of 80% while 75 ball games have an RTP of 70%-85%. The number of active players also affects a bingo game's RTP.

Can a player take home more than $100,000 bingo jackpot prize in a lump sum? 

Most establishments are likely to offer large bingo payouts in installments. For prizes that are $1,000 or less, these are handed to the winner in one lump sum.

Ticket sales, player numbers, and several other factors determine bingo payouts in a single session. In regards to a high bingo RTP rate, look for 90 ball sessions with as few players as possible.