I’m a professional gambler by trade, which means I grind out a living at the blackjack tables or video poker machines. But when I’m looking to blow off a little steam and gamble for fun, I can almost always be found frequenting the nearest bingo hall.

Bingo gets a bad rap among the gambling set, as most players view the game as a luck-based affair akin to roulette or keno. And true enough, you don’t have many opportunities to use strategy or skill while sweating out a bingo card.

Even so, savvy players in the know do have a few tricks up their sleeve to improve their overall odds of walking away a winner.

Casino gamblers often consider the bingo hall to act as a retirement home of sorts, a place where old biddies and retirees can spend their day playing for peanuts.

This reputation stems from bingo’s roots as a vehicle for church charity drives and other faux-gambling enterprises. What they don’t know is the modern bingo hall is actually home to an eclectic mix of people and personalities, all chasing hefty prizes that can easily climb into the five-figures.

Whenever a fellow gambler starts laughing at my affinity for bingo, I usually try to trap them by asking when the last time they played Powerball or purchased a scratch card from their local convenience store.

And more often than not, these doubters are forced to admit that they do indeed play the lottery – a confession which immediately devalues their negative view of bingo.

For my money anyhow, bingo will always be the preferable game when compared to a “dumb tax” like the lottery. Don’t get me wrong now, I’ll occasionally grab a Powerball ticket when the prizes reach into the billions, but that’s only because the massive jackpots actually turn the ticket into a positive expectation play.

I know the odds of me winning the jackpot are astronomical (more on this down below), but as long as the math tells me I’m not lighting money on fire with a negative expectation play, I’m fine splashing around a few bucks on the lotto.

What I’m not fine with is my gambling buddies bashing my passion for bingo, all while they lose thousands of dollars annually on a sucker’s game like the lottery.

Pure games of chance are often lumped together in the same category – unbeatable games over the long run that uninformed players inevitably flock to – but luck-based games aren’t always cut from the same cloth.

Below you’ll find five reasons why I’m convinced playing bingo is better than the lottery. This is a personal list mind you, so objectivity isn’t the objective by any stretch, but I’ll do my best to tell it straight and let you, the reader, make the call.

1 – Camaraderie and Companionship

First and foremost, bingo is a social game meant to be played amongst large groups – exactly the opposite of a lottery ticket. When you play the lottery, your experience will almost always go a little something like this: buy a ticket from the gas station, take it home, check the numbers, and toss the ticket in the trash can.

Throughout the entire experience, you might not say more than two words or spend a single second with somebody else. While the lotto is a decidedly solitary experience, bingo is exactly the opposite.

Sure, you’re still playing your own card(s), as bingo isn’t a cooperative team-based game, but you’ll be surrounded by dozens or even hundreds of fellow bingo fanatics.

Regular players who mingle on a daily basis can become fast friends, congratulating one another on big winners and commiserating over close calls.

I can’t tell you how many friends I’ve made over the years simply by playing bingo together a few times. And because we share a love for a game many others dismiss out of hand, these friendships can often become quite close and meaningful.

Now, try to imagine a scenario in which the lottery can provide anything comparable. After wracking my brain for a while, the only equivalent I could come up with are the lottery “syndicates” – more commonly known as pools – that some players participate in. But even in this scenario, you probably won’t be sitting together to sweat the draw, you’ll just send a group text to inform pool members about the latest loss.

Take your gambling action to a bingo hall, however – like the glitzy room at Talking Stick Resort Casino in Scottsdale, Arizona – and you’ll immediately enter an exclusive club. The regulars who know you by sight will nod and say hello, while your neighbors at the table can be counted on for jokes and conversation throughout the round.

And if you’re looking for an especially entertaining way to enjoy bingo, check out the various “Bingo Night” events hosted by casino bingo halls. These events turn the hall into a nightclub, with DJs on hand to spin the latest tunes, laser light shows, and of course, cocktails on demand.

Don’t believe me? Well, take a tour of Talking Stick’s extremely popular Midnight Bingo festivities to see what you’re missing out on.

2 – Much Better Odds of Success

Lotto fever can be easy to catch, especially when the jackpots balloon into the millions and billions. But unless you have a horseshoe stuck where the sun doesn’t shine, or maybe a lightning rod, you have an infinitesimally tiny chance of actually winning big money.

Take the Powerball as an example. This popular national lottery routinely generates jackpots in the high hundred millions, and it recently set the world record by paying out a $1.6 billion reward.

The folks who claimed that reward had to beat astronomical odds of 1 in 292 million though, a truly obscene number that verges on the impossible. Think about it like this… your odds of being struck by lightning, not once but TWICE, stand at only 1 in 9 million.

That means your odds of having the heavens strike you down on two occasions are 32 times better than you have holding a Powerball ticket. And I realize that lotto games like Powerball offer variable prizes, many of which offer much better odds of success.

Check out the table below, however, and ask yourself if these odds are any more beatable:

Powerball Prizes and Odds

Correct Numbers Odds Against Prize
5 plus Powerball 1 in 292,201,338 Jackpot
5 1 in 11,688,054 $1 million
4 plus Powerball 1 in 913,130 $50,000
4 1 in 36,525 $100.00
3 plus Powerball 1 in 14,494 $100.00
3 1 in 580 $7.00
2 plus Powerball 1 in 701 $7.00
1 plus Powerball 1 in 92 $4.00
Powerball 1 in 38 $4.00

According to lottery officials, that odds table creates a total chance of 1 in 25 for Powerball players to score any prize at all. That doesn’t seem half bad at first glance, not until you realize how juicy bingo odds are by comparison.

To calculate bingo odds, you don’t need to get into NASA-like calculations. Nope, you need only know the number of cards in play during a given round, along with the number of cards you hold.

In a typical crowded bingo hall with 500 cards distributed per round, a player holding just a single card is facing 1 in 500 odds of success. Those aren’t great by any stretch, but they’re much better than your odds of hitting three Powerball numbers – good for a whopping $7 payout.

And guess what happens when you buy more cards? Yep, you’re odds increase directly and in kind. Purchase five cards against a 500-card field, and you’ve suddenly narrowed the odds to 1 in 100. Grab 10 to start the game, and you now have a 1 in 50 chance to land a prize.

Lottery players who believe in the fallacy of buying more and more tickets can only wish for a similar structure.

3 – More Bang for Your Gambling Buck

A lottery ticket provides a certain sense of anticipation and excitement before the draw takes place. Until those numbers are revealed, you have just as much of a chance – however low that chance may be – of collecting a life-changing jackpot. But as soon as the numbers come up, and they don’t match your ticket, the game ends right then and there. That’s it, and that’s all…

For bingo players, on the other hand, the end of one round simply means another is right around the corner. You start fresh with a nice clean card, and the pursuit of profit begins anew. A bingo fan can easily get 10 rounds in during an afternoon, offering tremendous value for only a few bucks.

And speaking of that price tag, Powerball may seem like a bargain at only $2 per ticket, but when the enormous odds are factored in, that value is severely diluted. You might grab a “five-pack” of tickets for $10, but as we know, your odds remain fixed no matter how many tickets you purchase.

Spend $10 on a round of bingo, however, and your money is now being stretched to the limit. Depending on the venue’s in-house pricing, that can come to five or even 10 bingo cards, plenty to spend the rest of the evening playing to your heart’s content.

4 – Easy Access to Other Games

When you play the lottery, you’re playing that particular game by its lonesome. You might buy differently themed scratch cards or spread your money around on separate draw-based games, but it’s still the lottery and the lottery only. Hit the casino bingo hall, however, and you’ll immediately be within walking distance of a wide range of fun gambling games. Blackjack, roulette, craps, poker, baccarat – there all waiting right there in the next room over waiting.

This is a page about the benefits of bingo, so there’s no need to dive too deep into this entry, but if you’re looking for a little variety to spice things up, casino bingo is where it’s at.

5 – It’s Just Plain Fun

Frantically marking your cards with your personalized dauber. Scanning other player’s cards and silently banishing the numbers they need into oblivion. And whopping it up in celebration as you scream “BINGO!” aloud.

These are the experiences that define a well-spent bingo session. You’re moving, you’re talking, and you’re engaging with fellow human beings – all while a sweet jackpot awaits the lucky winner.

Throw in a steady diet of complimentary cocktails and a little late-night excitement, and the bingo hall beats a lottery ticket every day of the week.


Bingo may not be for every gambler out there, but if you haven’t tried it for yourself, you can’t really knock it. You can’t say the same for the lottery, a game notoriously dubbed a “tax on the stupid.”

It doesn’t require any firsthand experience to know that chasing 1 in 292 million odds is a fool’s errand, which is why many savvy gamblers have never played a single ticket or card in their life.

Bingo is a different story altogether though, combining relatively attractive odds with a fun-filled scene and easy access to the full suite of casino offerings.

Go out and hit the bingo hall on your next trip to the casino, and I’m willing to bet you leave the room smiling – win or lose.

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