Bingo has traditionally been very popular in South Africa and was traditionally played in Bingo halls, for fundraisers and also found in the odd land-based casino. When Internet-based gambling took off in the rest of the world, the South African authorities were slow to react and to regulate it and the whole industry was left behind in a cloud of misunderstanding. This is about to change. For a list of online casinos, their games and where to play Bingo online in South Africa, see a list here { }.

The history of Bingo

The history of the game of Bingo can be traced back to 1500s Italy, loosely based on an old lottery game, called 'Ill Giuoco del Lotto'. The game spread from Italy to France in the 1700s and was called 'Le Lotto', played by the French rich. As the game spread across Europe the basic layout of the Bingo card remained the same; 27 squares in 3 rows and 9 columns, numbered from 1 to 90. This version of the game is still found in Bingo halls and casinos today.

When the Internet gained popularity and online casinos started to offer Bingo games in the mid 1990s, the basic version of the game remained but Bingo was played for free and for entertainment. In 1996, one of the first free online Bingo game was launched and was called 'Bingo Zone'. Another free version followed in 1998, called 'Bingo Blitz'. Bingo was able to fly under the legal radar as it was considered to be a lottery played as a game and the chances for winning of each player is equal.

  • 1500s - Early version of game in Italy
  • 1700s - Game spreads to France
  • 1900s - Arrives in the US - Named Bingo
  • 1990s - Bingo goes online
  • 2020 - Bingo for real money in ZA

Recent changes in the South African online gambling regulation allows for European online casino operators to enter the local market, bringing with them the very popular Bingo game. What's more, there are free versions available but you can also play for real money. In order to check out these new online casinos, players are encouraged to first play the free version so that they can get a feel for the casino's way of working and to get back to basics with the game of Bingo. Different casinos will have different rules.

Playing online Bingo in 2020

South African online players have traditionally been confused by vague online gambling legislation and cannot be blamed for approaching this wave of European casinos into the local market with caution. The fact that you can play Bingo for free is a perfect opportunity for a player to check out the casino's workings and to find a version of the game that he likes. Once you are comfortable with a casino and are sure that it is legit, players can deposit money with the casino and purchase their Bingo cards with confidence.

South African Bingo players are in for a treat with the new MGA-licensed casinos bringing their Bingo game variants into the market. As long as they are sure of the casino's legitimacy and operational intent, then they are in for plenty of hours of Bingo entertainment. Things to remember is to approach the game with sensibility and not to exceed their budget allocated for Bingo. There is a huge social aspect to Bingo, so be sure to chat to other players and take note of their experiences.