In a bingo hall, when multiple people get a winning pattern, they can either share the prize amount equally or only designate one winner who reacted first. On online bingo sites, because numbers are automatically marked, the prize money is equally shared between all winners automatically.
Bingo is a game of chance played with a card printed with random numbers. You’ll mark each number drawn by the bingo caller if your card has it. If with the last number called you are able to form a winning pattern (usually one or multiple lines), that means you’re bingo and you win.
But what if somebody said bingo right when you started uttering the word? If confronted with this situation, do you know what to do? Is it even possible? Aren’t Bingo cards unique?
Yes, bingo cards are designed to have unique sets of numbers. But that doesn’t mean two or more people won’t be able to call bingo at the same time. In fact, the possibility of having two or more winners can happen in about 20% of Bingo games. If such an unusual situation occurs, one may wonder what happens if multiple people call bingo at the same time?
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Multiple Winners In Bingo: The Rules
When playing bingo, online or in a hall, you must clarify what rules are being used to manage multiple players winning the same round. There are two types of
- time as tie breaker – the first to yell bingo wins the entire prize
- prize sharing – the prize is equally split between all winners
Let’s review which rule is used when and where.
Prize sharing is the most common method to solve the cases where multiple players form a winning bingo combination with the same number called. Since the prize is usually a fixed amount, the operator equally divides the prize into the number of players who called bingo.
Prize sharing examples
Example A – if the prize money for a one-line pattern is £40.00, and two players win at the same time, they each take half the prize (£20).
Example B – if the prize money for a two-line pattern is £145.00, and three players win at the same time, they each take a third of the prize (£48.33).
In some very rare cases, if the bingo site is generous enough to give an unreduced prize to both winners, they can also do that. Though, it almost never really happens, especially with online bingo apps.
Single bingo winners are often needed for unshareable prizes like items (e.g., a car or a laptop) or for bingo operators who want to reward a prompt reaction time. Necessarily, to identify a single winner, the bingo caller must decide on some deciding factors to split multiple winners. The deciding factor is often who called “bingo” first.
Regrettably, this one’s quite tricky. As games are usually spontaneous and no one really knows whenever someone completes a line, organizers may fail to immediately recognize who shouted first. This may create confusion or even commotions between the winners and the facilitators.
For a more systematic way of identifying a winner, operators also do it through a tiebreaker. For this, they have several options. The winners could play one more game of straight (one) line Bingo, and as usual, whoever calls bingo first will take home the bag; or make the players choose one card from the deck and whoever picks the highest card wins. Ace cards are the highest and 2 will be the lowest. Some may even do it the traditional way, such as coin-flipping or rolling dice. These ways are still the gold standard in providing fair and unpredictable results in any game.
Rules Vary Between Operators
Rules vary between bingo game operators, while some only allow a single winner (the first to yell bingo), many will go with a prize share. Online bingo automatically marks numbers on tickets and therefore uses prize share nearly all the time.
First thing, clarify the rules of the bingo game you’re playing in. They should mention what happens if two or more players simultaneously call bingo. Knowing this is important as the rule varies depending on game operators. If rules are not clearly available, it’s better to ask prior to the game for clarification.