Saying the word bingo might conjure up images of gray-haired older folks sitting around waiting for a caller to announce the next number, but it's evolved along with technology to reach a wider audience in the 21st Century. Specifically it's possible to play bingo for real money online, and it doesn't require downloading any software to do so. Bingo is coming into its own as a form of online gambling thanks to a number of sites offering the game in Flash or Java form, meaning it can be played within any standard internet browser. Some online casinos have bingo in their game lineups, but it's easy to find as a standalone enterprise in many countries too.
The most familiar and widespread variation of bingo revolves around 75 numbered balls which are selected one at a time. Every player has different combinations of those numbers arranged on a five-by-five grid (usually with one “free” space in the center), and the first player to complete a row, column or one of the diagonals with selected numbers is the winner. The prize can be money or merchandise, with the former most common online. Different winning patterns may be required to win, ranging from simple shapes to elaborate designs. Versions of the game with different numbers of balls can also be found, though the goal is always to be the first player to mark the correct amount of numbers. Since physical bingo is a social game, online bingo makes up for the lack of face to face interaction with the use of chat windows, allowing players to communicate with each other while waiting for numbers to be picked.
Online bingo is one of the games that needs the least amount of computing power – needing just a random number generator to pick numbers and a way to check which players have them – so it should come as no surprise that it has flourished as no download game. Players can participate from anywhere they have an internet connection, and online bingo games tend to run smoothly with a minimum of problems. Since the game has grown over time, bingo sites have turned to bonus offers similar to the ones used by online casinos for their slots and table games players as a tool to attract and retain players.