Online Bingo Games in Michigan
Bingo, though long past its heyday of the 1970s, still remains a relatively popular game in Michigan and beyond. The Wolverine State currently features hundreds of land-based bingo halls. As a result, you won’t face any difficulties finding a game in Michigan.
Online bingo, on the other hand, isn’t currently available in the state. However, this situation could change in the near future. This page discusses some of the laws regarding MI land-based and online bingo. It also covers Slingo and 90-ball bingo.
Michigan gambling laws for bingo
In 1972, Michigan legalized charity bingo via Act 382. Subsequently, nonprofit organizations were permitted to run bingo games.
Michigan offers the following three types of license:
- Large bingo license — Operators can run games one day each week with prize pools maxing out at $1,100 per game and $3,500 per session. Large license holders can also offer a progressive jackpot game, which includes 50% of card purchases and the previous session’s unclaimed jackpot.
- Small bingo license — Operators can offer bingo one day per week with prize pools reaching up to $25 per game and $300 per session. They are not allowed to run progressive jackpot games.
- Special bingo license — Operators can provide bingo for up to seven consecutive days with prize pools maxing out at $1,100 per game and $3,500 per session. However, they can only obtain special licensing up to four times annually. Also, special license holders cannot feature progressive games.
Can bingo halls operate without licensing?
The Wolverine State makes a few exceptions to the licensing rule. Senior citizen clubs, groups and homes can stage bingo under the following scenarios:
- Nobody takes a cut for operating the game.
- Only members, guests and employees can play.
- All revenue goes to prize pools and limited expenses involved with running the games.
- Card prices cannot exceed $0.25.
- The sum value of all prize pools cannot surpass $100.
Michigan tribal bingo
Native American tribes in Michigan have been offering legal bingo games since the 1980s. They eventually converted their bingo halls into traditional casinos toward the late eighties.
Today, some tribes seem to have long forgotten bingo and strictly focus on their casino offerings. Other tribes, however, still feature bingo action. Due to their sovereign status, they are not required to obtain licensing from the government. Instead, they can run games with no limit on the prize pools.
Is online bingo legal in Michigan?
The answer to this question is unclear, but online bingo may be legal in the Wolverine State in the near future. Lawmakers and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer approved the Lawful Internet Gaming Act (HB 4311) in 2019.
HB 4311 legalizes daily fantasy sports, online casinos and online poker. Bingo isn’t specifically included in this list. Michigan online casinos are set to launch soon. They could potentially offer bingo at some point.
However, they’ll need to ask the Michigan Gaming Control Board for approval before featuring the game. Given that other states let their casino sites offer bingo, the MGCB may well give approval.
Free and real money online bingo
If/when Michigan offers bingo online, it would likely feature free and real money modes.
Free online bingo games allows you to play without risking any money. Instead, you merely register for an account and start playing. Free bingo lets you enjoy the game and determine if you like a particular casino before depositing.
Once you make a deposit, you’ll be playing real money bingo. The real money version lets you play for large and small prizes.
Games with large prizes are the most attractive due to their win potential. However, they also draw more players and offer lower odds of winning. In contrast, games with smaller prizes give you a better opportunity to win. The downside, though, is that you cannot win significant money.
Depositing at MI bingo sites
The Michigan online gambling market should offer the same deposit options featured in other regulated markets. These banking methods will likely include:
- ACH — Would allow you to send an e-check from your bank account to a casino site.
- Casino cage — You’d deposit in person at a Michigan land-based casino.
- Credit card — You’d use a branded credit card, such as Visa or Mastercard.
- E-wallet — Neteller, PayPal and/or Skrill should be available at internet casinos.
- Play+ card — MI sites may issue branded prepaid cards.
- PayNearMe — You’d visit a 7-Eleven and deposit in person.
How to withdraw money
Most of the same deposit methods covered above will double as cash-out options. You’ll probably be able to withdraw bingo funds via ACH, casino cage, e-wallet and Play+ card. MI casinos would also let you request a paper check. Checks usually take 10-14 days to arrive via the mail in other markets.
You’ll need to supply additional identification when requesting your first withdrawal (and possibly beyond). For example, you may need to send copies of your driver’s license and a recent utility bill. The casino should process your withdrawal upon seeing the verification.
What’s the difference between Slingo and bingo?
Bingo and Slingo are often confused. Both feature similar names and gameplay, but they also differ in key ways.
Slingo is a combination of bingo and a slot machine. The game’s grid features a traditional 5×5 bingo layout. However, it differs by delivering payouts like a slot machine. You might receive a payout for clearing five spaces going in a vertical, horizontal or diagonal line.
Here’s an example from a Slingo game offered at a New Jersey casino site:
- Each Slingo round begins with 11 spins.
- Every space on the grid features a different number.
- You select the “spin” button to begin a turn.
- Five numbers and/or special symbols will appear at the bottom of the grid.
- If any of these numbers match your numbers from the grid, then the corresponding space(s) become(s) blank.
- You receive a prize any time you mark off a winning line (12 combinations are possible).
- You’ll receive an especially large payout by completing the entire grid (i.e. turning it blank).
- Special symbols help improve your chances of winning (e.g. the joker symbol serves as a wild symbol).
- You can earn free spins by landing little balls in areas to the right of the 5×5 grid/card.
Bingo doesn’t come with the same frills and features as Slingo. Instead, it’s a more straightforward game that involves marking off called numbers.
Traditional bingo is easier to pick up than Slingo. You shouldn’t experience much trouble with the latter, though, after playing for a short while.
Can I play online bingo in Michigan?
You cannot legally play online bingo in Michigan at the moment for two reasons:
- Legal gambling sites haven’t gone live in the Wolverine State yet.
- When internet casinos do launch, they’ll likely need permission from the MGCB before offering bingo.
The good news is that internet gambling is legal in Michigan. The Michigan Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer worked together to pass the Lawful Internet Gaming Act in 2019. Several online casinos have already obtained licensing and are planning to launch in late 2020 or early 2021. Others will go live throughout mid and late 2021.
One or more of these sites is likely to request permission to run online bingo and Slingo games. Therefore, you should enjoy some options for playing internet Slingo and bingo in the near future.
How to play 90 ball bingo
Multiple forms of traditional bingo exist, including 75-ball, 80-ball and 90-ball games. You’re most likely to see the 90-ball version when/if it becomes available in Michigan.
A game of 90-ball bingo employs a 3×9 card (27 spaces). Only five squares in each of the three rows contain numbers — the rest are blank.
Each column (1×3 area) features numbers by sets of 10. The first column can offer numbers ranging from 1-10, the second 11-20, the third 21-30 and so on.
At a land-based location, a caller pulls balls from an air machine and calls the numbers. You mark the corresponding space every time that the caller calls a number on your card.
Of course, you don’t need to manually mark anything off online. The software completes this action for you. 90-ball bingo sees three winners in each round. Wins occur as follows:
- Any line — You win if you’re the first to mark off an entire row (five numbers).
- Two lines — You win by being the first to mark off two rows.
- Full house — You win if you’re the first to mark off all three rows.
How do you read bingo cards?
You may already understand how to read a bingo card after reading the section above. If not, though, we’ll provide additional information for reading cards.
First, you should consider the type of game you’re playing. 75-ball bingo, for example, is different from the 90-ball version.
The 75-ball game features a 5×5 card with a free space in the middle. Your goal is to mark off lines/patterns as designated by the bingo hall.
Here are common winning lines/patterns in the 75-ball version:
- Diagonal line
- Horizontal line
- Vertical line
- Four corners (may or may not be available)
Aside from knowing how to read a card, you should also understand the exact rules of each game. For instance, 75-ball bingo only sees one player win in each round, while 90-ball bingo features three winners per round.
Should you experience any trouble with online bingo, you can consult the information option (usually marked “i”). This section shows all of the ways that you can win, along with other relevant rules.
Michigan bingo halls
The Wolverine State boasts a large number of land-based bingo halls. You can expect to find over 300 locations throughout the state.
You might consider playing at any of the following casinos until the online version becomes available:
Firekeepers Casino & Hotel
- 11177 E. Michigan Ave., Battle Creek, Michigan.
- Offers bingo on Mondays and Thursdays during the daytime.
- The online casino will run on the Scientific Games
- Owned by the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi.
Four Winds Casino New Buffalo
- 11111 Wilson Road, New Buffalo, Michigan.
- Sporadically offers bingo games during any given week.
- The online casino will utilize the Scientific Games platform.
- Owned by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.
Leelanau Sands Casino & Lodge
- 2521 N. West Bay Shore Drive, Peshawbestown, Michigan.
- Runs bingo games every Wednesday through Friday, beginning at 5 p.m.
- The online casino will run on the William Hill
- Owned by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.
Northern Waters Casino Resort
- N5384 US Highway 45, Watersmeet, Michigan.
- Sporadically offers bingo during any given week.
- The online casino will operate through PointsBet.
- Owned by the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians.
Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort
- 6800 Soaring Eagle Blvd., Isabella Reservation, Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
- Bingo runs Wednesday through Sunday throughout the day.
- The online casino will run on the Aristocrat
- Owned by the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Nation.
Final thoughts on Michigan online bingo
Michigan online bingo may not officially be here. However, it’ll could become available along with or shortly after online casinos go live in the state. Once this happens, the casinos will probably need the MGCB’s approval before featuring bingo.
Until then, you can enjoy numerous land-based bingo parlors. Various casinos and halls offer this game throughout the Wolverine State.