I’ve previously talked about Bingo Machines, also known as Class II machines due to the government rules that allow for them. Recently, Brian Christopher broadcast live from Ho-Chunk Gaming in Madison, Wisconsin, a Class II facility.
During the live, someone asked a very basic, but fair, question: What is the connection between the Bingo game and the slot machine?
Once you understand how bingo machines work, it’s pretty clear, but if you’ve never seen a Bingo card on what looks like a slot machine, it’s a natural question to ask.
The slot game is not a slot – it’s an animated result for “entertainment purposes only.” It’s not a slot at all, hence why it’s called a Bingo machine. Think of it as high speed Bingo – every time you make a wager, you’re buying your way into a really fast bingo game.
Once you’re bought in to a game, a bingo game is played outside the machine you’re on. This differs significantly from a Vegas-style slot machine, also known as a Class III machine, where the determination of a win or loss happens within the machine. This distinction is critically important.
That’s because Tribal Gaming regulations allow Class II games, defined as games that are part of or aid in bingo, nearly universally, but Vegas-style slots require agreements with the states in which they’re deployed. So to get around these rules, companies have developed games that look like slots, but really just “aid” in the play of bingo, and then animate out the outcome as a slot spin.
The goal is to split the difference, and offer a slot-style experience while working within the Bingo rules. There are other ways they attempt to accomplish this in other markets, such as through Historic Horse Racing machines.
This means bonuses are many times predetermined too, since the amount paid was already determined by the Bingo game. Just like Bingo games can have bonuses that aren’t won every game, so can Class II games, and this is how big jackpots can be accumulated and paid. (There are Bingo systems that have other ways to accomplish this, so as always it will depend on the way the game was designed.)
In the end, the slot animation you see has no impact on the outcome of the game – it’s simply a rendering of what you won, if anything.