In the early days of the Live Dealer era, it seemed that the most important element in determining any new release’s success came down to two things: RTP and visuals.
After all, every designer in the world was dropping new blackjack and roulette titles!
Since just about every element of gaming substance was going to be more or less indistinguishable from the competition, small differences in rules often made the difference between big hits and also-rans.
Those days are over.
Now, it’s much more important to create a game with a truly original appeal, as well as rock solid gaming fundamentals. From their latest release, Vegas Ball Bonanza, it’s clear that Pragmatic Play understands this assignment!
Not only has this firm distinguished itself with a steady stream of hit releases, they’ve done what many companies would consider the impossible: they took a tarnished brand and turned it into an absolute winner!
Pragmatic Play endured a somewhat troubled launch in 2015, mostly due to their partial origin (and purchase of) the much-reviled company TopGame. Whether this was an oversight or a purposeful pivot from some previously bad actors into the regulated market, there can be no debate about the simple fact of this firm’s primacy. They have bases in seven countries, are fully licensed in no fewer than six jurisdictions, and regularly partner with other top brands to bring elite-level content to the online casino sector worldwide.
They’ve also doubled down on international market expansion, which is especially important for Canadian players.
So what did the brain trust cook up this time? Let’s take a look at what makes this bonanza so rich.
Big Bingo Energy
Vegas Ball Bonanza may have a vague name, (although, like most players, we love any meaningful reference to Las Vegas) but the core of the game is based on bingo, with some elements of Keno or Lottery present as well.
And let’s be real. These games don’t have the best reputation in the casino world.
Much of this has to do with the math, pure and simple. The numbers don’t lie, and they aren’t kind! Traditional bingo, for example, comes with an RTP in the range of 70-85%… and any number within that range is indeed pretty abysmal.
But don’t let that deter you from trying this game! Although it takes bingo as its inspiration, this title’s RTP comes in at a thoroughly respectable 96.3%. Sure, that won’t compare favorably with advantage blackjack play, but it’s better than many slots, and much, much, much better than traditional bingo odds. So let’s put that bad reputation aside, and focus on some of what makes this title so special.
First of all, this appears to be Pragmatic’s first bingo title! So naturally, they’ve pulled out all the stops, adding a tremendous amount of flavor, style, and substance to the mix.
The bet size ranges from $0.10-$200.00 per ticket, with up to 9 tickets available per round. As in traditional bingo, there’s a dealer drawing balls from a rather baroque device – in this case, 9 out of 30 balls are drawn per round.
Each ticket may hold up to 6 winning paylines. (These are horizontal and vertical, but never diagonal.) Payouts are based on the quantity of winning lines on the ticket: one winning line pays 1:1, two winning lines pay 5:1, while all six winning lines reward with a 250:1 payout.
There are also 4 ‘wild’ balls which may appear during any given round, and can trigger a bonus game.
Still, the signature feature here has got to be the win multipliers. These are assigned at random on up to 5 numbers per round, ranging in value from 2x-50x and make possible the top payout of 20,000x per ticket.
With possible payouts like these, some players can be forgiven for trying to play at the highest stakes possible. Be careful, though… the maximum payout is capped at 20,000x per ticket or $500,000.00 in total. These won’t register as “limits” for most players, but high rollers should take notice, as it may impact their choice of strategy.
Clearly, the pleasures of traditional bingo are not the central point here. This game is about innovation, possibility, and the chance for big, big, big wins!
How It Works
Each round begins with a 12-second betting period. This may seem fast at first, but after a few rounds have gone by, it will start to feel second-nature. Just click on any number of tickets (up to the maximum of 9) to purchase them. The numbers will be revealed immediately, and if you don’t like the look of them, the ‘refresh’ button allows players to change them.
Next, the Lucky Number multipliers are revealed. Up to 5 of these will appear on a screen behind the live dealer; if you have any of them on your ticket(s), and if those paylines turn out to hit, the payout will be multiplied by the number displayed.
Then, the dealer activates the drum’s drawing machine. 9 of the 30 balls within will be drawn, and cards will be automatically updated to reflect the drawn numbers. If any special balls appear, the features will be triggered!
If it is the star ball that appears, all Lucky Number multipliers on all cards will be activated – whether their number was drawn or not. This greatly increases the chances that the most profitable paylines will be activated, and that players might enjoy the best payouts of their gaming session.
Wild balls, on the other hand, trigger a separate, special feature. A wheel with 10 segments appears, which may land on an outcome of 1, 2, 3, or 4. The number that is chosen indicates how many extra balls – in addition to the previously chosen 9 – will also be drawn, greatly increasing player’s chances of winning.
(Please note that this game is entirely based on luck. No numbers are mathematically superior to others, and it makes no statistical difference if a player buys one card, two, or all nine. This is a situation in which the best choice is to stay within your bankroll limitations, relax, and enjoy the ride.)
Some Bingo Backstory
Though it seems completely ubiquitous today, bingo actually has a more complex origin story than most other mainstream casino games. The modern version that is widely recognized today is derived from a variety of earlier games and concepts.
The roots of the game can be traced back to Italy, where “Il Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia” was popular in the 16th century. This involved players marking numbers on cards as they were drawn. Then, in the late 18th century, the action moved to France, where it was known as “Le Lotto.” It was often played as a social game among the French aristocracy.
Perhaps most comedically, an educational version of the game became popular in Germany in the 19th century. It was called “Lotto” and was used to teach children spelling, multiplication tables, and history!
Bingo reached the United States in the early 20th century and began to take on its modern form. It gained popularity at carnivals, fairs, and social events, often as a means of raising funds for churches and charitable organizations. The name “bingo” is said to have originated when a toy manufacturer named Edwin S. Lowe introduced the game to his friends. As the story goes, when one of his friends excitedly completed a card, she accidentally shouted “bingo” instead of “beano,” the name used for the game at the time.
Over the years, bingo’s rules and formats were refined and standardized, leading to the version of the game that is played in bingo halls, online platforms, and other venues today. The game involves a caller drawing and announcing numbers, and players marking corresponding numbers on their cards in an attempt to complete predetermined patterns.
Will any of that help players to win? Probably not. But for casino connoisseurs, it can be a lot of fun to show up armed with some context, especially for especially beloved games.
It is worth pointing out, though, that while the game may not enjoy the best reputation in modern casino culture, it does have several advantages.
Ease of Play: Bingo is relatively simple to understand and play, making it accessible for players of all skill levels.
Variety: There are different types of bingo games available, including 75-ball, 90-ball, and 80-ball bingo, offering variety for players.
Community: Bingo players often develop a sense of community, fostering a friendly atmosphere in brick-and-mortar situations, chat rooms, and online forums.
Easy Strategy: Bingo is a game of chance, so players have limited control over the outcome, which can be frustrating for those who prefer skill-based games. On the other hand, this is also what makes it so relaxing to play! The laser like attention required for winning poker or advantage blackjack play, for example, is not necessary here. Players can just relax and enjoy the game!