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Slingo: why do British players like it?

Slingo logo (Image: slingoimages under CC BY-SA 2.0))

Gambling is a British past time, there is no doubt about it. In every venue, you can find people on their phones making a bet on the current race or sports match, playing poker or trying their luck on slots, casinos and bingo.

But lately, something new has been spreading – Slingo.

Slingo is the spoiled child of slots and non Gamstop bingo games preferred by self-excluded customers. It is popular thanks to the combination of 75-ball bingo mechanics and prizes, with the speed and bonuses only slots can provide. Its easiness to follow, variations, and the possibility to have control over the results make it a Brit top pick.

Slingo’s beginning

The Slingo story started in 1994, in the basement of Sal Falciglia, a semi-retired businessman/high roller from New Jersey with a love for Bingo and Slots.

For days Mr Falciglia was dabbling with the idea of combining his two passions until one morning at 2am, it finally sparked. For reasons he still can’t explain (like all eureka moments), he ran to his office in the middle of the night to outline his creation.

The next morning after making the necessary arrangements, a 5-reel vintage slot machine was delivered to his house. It was in his basement where the first Slingo prototype was designed and after a million tries, Slingo was ready to take his spot in history.

How it works

Like all bingo games, you have a 5×5 card to fill. Players have up to 20 turns to spin the five reels under its card. If a number matches one in the card, it gets marked. As lines are completed milestones in the paytable are cleared being higher as more lines you fill.  If you manage to make a full house before you run out of spins you win the jackpot.

Depending on the Slingo version you may have from 7 to 11 initial free spins to use. Once finished, you may continue playing with a premium cost. Cost of spins will vary according to how close you are to complete a full house and is up to you paying to hit the spin button or walking away with smaller rewards and lesser regrets.


During a spin some items will improve or cut your chances of winning, spicing up the excitement.

  • Joker: These are the wildcards. Jokers let you pick any unmarked number in the row where they appear. If the row is completed they lose their effect.
  • Super Joker: It acts the same as jokers only that you can use them in any number in your card. If a Super Joker appears along with a simple joker you must use the Super Joker first. 
  • Free spin: they won’t complete any row but allow you another chance to spin the odds at no cost.
  • Devil: it comes to block a number. In the original game, it also cuts by half the accumulated points during that game.
  • Cherub is not very common to see it but appears to cancel the devil’s effect by shooting him with an arrow.

The paytable

The size of the stake will define the cost of your spins and prizes. Depending on the title “As spins complete rows”, cumulative bonus and prizes can be claimed and augment the size of your reward. 

One favourite is the Joker bonus: If a spin gives you 3, 4 or even 5 jokers you will earn some extra cash.

“One of the reasons Slingo was so successful is because the player was always so close to getting a full card. That’s really what got people enjoying the game. I think that was the hook: You’re always so close to something happening.” Sal Falciglia – Slingo Creator.

And he is right.

Doing the math and always getting close to the jackpot is what makes people keep playing again and again. the first session will seem like a slot game, just using the spin button. But once you find out the mechanics of the game, it is impossible to just play it one time. 

A matter of strategy

Each Slingo version has its own variations on mechanics and bonuses but the same principle remains:

Find the point where your stake is still affordable enough to keep spinning to complete a full house.

Some titles have unlimited spins to keep playing, allowing you to increase your chances to win but also the cumulative stake cost of each spin, therefore reducing and even surpassing your rewards profit. 

This makes it mandatory to have strong self-control in the gambling culture to walkway if you don’t want to fall in the trap of betting more than you can support, so strict bankroll management skills are required to keep on top of the game, or at least enjoying it even-steven style.

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