The game of Slingo has been around since 1995 and for almost 20 years it was play-for-fun only. A number of real money versions of this exciting game are now available.
- Bingo crossed with a slot machine
- Single player real money Slingo
- Multiplayer real money Slingo
- Other Slingo games
The game of Slingo is a hybrid of 75 ball bingo with a slot machine, combining the excitement of spinning reels with that of marking off numbers on a card. It is played on a 5 x 5 grid that resembles a 75 ball bingo card. Directly below the grid are the reels, but they do not look much like a regular slot machine as only one space on each reel is visible.
The idea is to complete the grid by matching numbers from the result of spinning the reels with numbers from the grid. In each game, a maximum number of spins is allowed and this is typically 20, but only the first 16 spins are free. The others have to be paid for either by using free spins or cashing in points already scored.
In the classic play- for-fun Slingo game, it is mostly numbers that come up on the reels, but they can also contain 4 other symbols. The Joker allows any number in the above column to be daubed. The Super Joker allows any number anywhere on the grid to be daubed. The Gold Coin awards points. The Free Spin awards a free spin token that can be used to pay for one spin after spin 16. Some versions also have the Cherub who doubles your score and the Devil who cuts your score in half unless the Cherub also comes up at the same time.
In all the play for fun versions points were awarded for completing horizontal, vertical or diagonal lines on the grid (known as Slingos) and in some cases patterns, and the aim was to score as many points as possible.
Typically the grid had to be daubed manually against the clock, although the fancier versions of the game included a power up called Slingo Vision that highlighted numbers that could be daubed.
There were many variants of play-for-fun Slingo including larger grids and all manner of exotic power-ups which added to the fun. This screenshot is from Slingo Daily Challenge where a preset score had to be beaten by judicious use of the power-ups of the day.
There were even multiplayer versions of Slingo where you could play against and chat with players from all over the world.
Real money bingo and slots are both so popular that it was only a matter of time before someone came up with a real money version of Slingo. This was done by Gaming Realms, and they also bought the rights to the name and the Slingo.com domain which resulted in most of the free versions of Slingo that were accessible to UK players being replaced by real money Slingo and slots. The first real money version of Slingo to be released was Slingo Riches in 2015, and it was followed by other versions a few months later, all only playable at Gaming Realms sites such as Spin Genie and Slingo.com
Slingo Riches differs from the earlier, play-for-fun versions of Slingo in a few important ways:
- By FAR the most important difference is that there are only 11 initial free spins rather than 16 and only 15 in total rather than 20. This substantially decreases the chance of filling the grid, and if you are used to playing a free version of Slingo it can come as a nasty shock!
- You do not need to match up the numbers on the reels with the numbers on the grid – they are autodaubed immediately after the reels spin. You do still need to choose where to use the jokers and super jokers (super jokers always come first)
- There is a bonus payout for 3 or more jokers on one spin (analagous to a scatter payout on a conventional slot), as well as for a coin symbol (these appear on the centre reel only).
- There is no time limit and you can resume an interrupted game later if you lose the connection or have to stop playing .
- The free spin symbol awards a free spin but this is instead of not as well as one of the four possible paid spins. The free spin symbol can only come up during the 11 initial spins, not during the extras (whether free or paid).
- The 4 extra spins have to be paid for in real money (unless the free spin symbol has come up) and the cost of each extra spin depends on both the number of Slingos won so far and the number that could potentially be won with the remaining extra spins; typically it is a bit more than the payout due for the number of Slingos already scored.
- There is no Cherub in Slingo Riches and the only function of the Devil is to be a non scoring symbol blocking any numbers from coming up on that reel that spin. The Devil appears on the centre reel only.
- There are none of the fun power ups seen in some of the free versions as these would prevent the game from having the consistent RTP it requires in order to gain regulatory approval for real play.
You win money for the number of completed Slingos at the end of the game – how much you win depends on the size of your initial bet which ranges from 50p to £100. The break even point is 4 Slingos and if you do manage to mark off the entire grid you win 200x your original stake – but do bear in mind that you are EXTREMELY unlikely to be able to complete the grid without using extra spins, and if you pay for extra spins the amount you pay for them is likely to be a long way in excess of your original stake. In the screenshot below, the original stake was 50p and just ONE extra spin is priced at £2.46.
Slingo Riches has an advertised RTP of 95% but seems to be quite a high variance game with most games being loss making. 11 spins frequently seem to result in just 1 or 2 Slingos for a return of 10% or 20% stake; as has already been pointed out, this can be a bit of a nasty shock when used to 16 spins with power-ups as found in the free versions, which generally enable the player to clear most of the grid. Although potentially more Slingos can be completed by using extra spins, the extra spins can be very expensive (each extra spin itself has a theoretical RTP of 95%).
One thing that Slingo Riches does have going for it is that each game takes several minutes to play and this is more akin to a game of bingo than a slots spin. When you play slots it is possible to burn through quite a lot of money in a very short space of time if luck is not on your side, whereas with Slingo it takes a lot longer, so there is more entertainment to be had for the same outlay.
Slingo Extreme was the second real money version of Slingo to appear. It has the same 95% RTP as Slingo Riches but with a couple of important differences:
- The paytable is different, with smaller payouts for 6-9 Slingos and bigger payouts for 10 Slingos and Full House (500x original stake).
- The number of initial free spins is 11 (the same as in Slingo Riches) but 8 extra spins are available instead of the 4 in the earlier version.
- The RTP on each extra pay spin is 95% (again the same as in Slingo Riches) but because of the differences in the paytable, pay spins which could result in getting a number of Slingos between 6 and 9 are less expensive than in Slingo Riches, whereas a spin that could result in 10 Slingos or a full house is going to be very pricey.
Essentially, Slingo Extreme is a higher variance version of Slingo Riches (hence its name).
Deal or No Deal Slingo is a tie-in with the famous Endemol TV programme and arrived in Spring 2016. It is even higher variance than Slingo Extreme and although it has the same 95% RTP (for the base game and per extra pay spin) it differs from the other two versions of real money Slingo in a number of ways:
- The minimum stake is £1 (there is no 50p stake level as found in the other games) and the maximum stake, £100.
- In Deal or No Deal Slingo, the first thing you must do after buying into the game at your chosen stake level is to choose one of the 26 red boxes to be the player’s box. The other 25 boxes appear on the card.
- The contents of all the boxes is listed at the side of the play area. As numbers are marked off the corresponding box is opened and its contents eliminated from the list.
- There are 10 initial free spins (instead of the 11 in the other games).
- There is NO limit to the number of extra spins that can be bought but no more than 4 can be free spins from free spin symbols.
- In this version there is no payout at all for 1,2, or 3 Slingos. When the player completes 4 Slingos the Banker’s Offer comes into play. The player has the choice of opening their box, accepting the Banker’s offer or spinning again. The cost of extra spins depends on which boxes have been eliminated as well as on the chances of getting a Slingo on the next spin.
- Instead of the fixed paytable in the other versions there is a series of multipliers – x2 for 5 Slingos, going up by one for each Slingo until it reaches x7 for 10 Slingos and then it jumps to x20 for full house. The multiplier is applied to the contents of all the boxes left in the game (at full house, however, there won’t be any boxes left apart from the player’s box).
- The top prize in Deal Or No Deal Slingo is £100,000 but not only would this require a full house win at the maximum stake, the player would have to have been lucky enough to pick the box containing the biggest prize in the first place. It could be a while before anyone wins this one!
Big Money Slingo is a version of single player real money Slingo that plays rather differently to the other, earlier versions. It features the same 75 ball game card and 5 reels but the object of the game is not quite the same. Instead of getting a payout at the end of the game based on the total number of Slingos completed, each potential Slingo has a specific prize attached. These prizes are multiples of stake level and are the same in every game, but the Slingos they are attached to move around from game to game.
There are 6 possible stake levels in Big Money Slingo, ranging from 50p to £25 and corresponding to 6 different play areas. Players select a play area before starting to play, and in order to have a chance of winning the top prize of £250,000 it is necessary to play the £25 area. In the 50p area, the prizes range from 25p to £5000.
Another very important difference between Big Money Slingo and the other versions is that there are just 6 initial spins and NO opportunity to buy extra spins (although up to 3 extra spins can be awarded by free spins symbols).
Immediately after the start of the game and prior to the first spin taking place, up to 4 jokers appear on the card marking off numbers . This is the only time in the game that jokers appear, and there are no super jokers and no devil. The only non numerical symbol that can appear on the reels is the free spins symbol.
On the face of it Big Money Slingo has a substantially worse RTP than the other versions at 85.15%, but because there are no pay spins in this version there is no opportunity for the RTP to compound. It only takes two pay spins on one of the other versions for the RTP on the original stake to be down to around this level.
Of all the real money versions of Slingo, this one is the furthest away from bingo and closest to a slot machine and this is because it is visually confusing in the manner of a slot machine. Because all the Slingos are worth different amounts, in order for the game to have the consistent RTP that is required for regulatory approval the chances of completing a particular Slingo have to be inversely proportional to the prize – i.e. completing the 25p Slingo is much more likely than completing the £5000 Slingo (and one need not play the game for very long to verify that 25p Slingos are indeed the most common). In the screenshot below our eyes make us want to believe that the 45 is just as likely to come up as the 12 and that both have a 1/16 chance of showing up on the next spin (as there are 15 numbers plus the free spins symbol on each reel).
In the other single player versions and in multiplayer Slingo, what counts is the total number of Slingos and it does not matter which ones they are, so there is no need for any unequal weighting on the reels. The RTP in the other single player versions is kept consistent by adjusting the cost of the pay spins and the RTP in the multiplayer version is kept consistent by adjusting the prizes based on the number of players (just as in a game of regular 75 ball bingo). Here, though, the 12 would complete the £5 Slingo and the 45 would complete the £5000 Slingo and therefore it must be a lot less likely that the 45 would be spun than the 12. For this to happen, some sort of weighting has to be applied to the reels based on which prize is attached to which Slingo for that particular game. In effect, instead of being 16 symbols long (15 numbers plus free spin) the middle reel is several thousand symbols long and only contains one 45. This may sound very dodgy but in fact it is how all video slots work (online and offline) and it is what enables slot machines that do not have physical reels to offer much bigger top prizes than those that do. In bingo, of course, all the balls have equal weighting and this is why it is important to understand that this particular version of Slingo has very little in common with it.
The first multiplayer version of real money Slingo arrived on the scene in May 2016. It is called Slingo Boom and feels – and indeed is – much closer to bingo than the single player versions do, especially as it is played in what looks very much like a bingo room, complete with chat (and chat games).
- Each player has one card only (which gives everyone an equal chance of winning) and these are mostly priced at 50p or £1.
- The cards are all different but the numbers and symbols that come up after spinning the reels are the same for all the players.
- The Joker and Super Joker function as they do in the single player versions, with the important difference that players do not have any control over where they are used; the number to be marked off is randomly selected so will rarely be the best choice strategically.
- There is no Free Spins symbol in Slingo Boom and the Devil is a blocking symbol on reel 3 only.
- Games are either 1-2-Slingo (prizes for 1 Slingo, 2 Slingos and coverall split as in 90 ball bingo) or pattern (initially just coverall).
- As in the solo versions the reels spin from left to right and the numbers are not normally shown being marked off until the spin is complete (after all the reels have stopped). Nevertheless, a check is made each time a reel stops (rather than after the spin as a whole) to see whether someone has won and if they have, the game pauses mid-spin to award the prize, only resuming to show the rest of the spin if the win was on a Slingo rather than on the coverall.
- This means that if two players could complete a Slingo on the same spin, they will only split the prize if both complete from the same reel; if they complete from different reels the player who completes from the reel that is further to the left will win.
- One fundamental difference between Slingo Boom and 75 ball bingo is that numbers are NOT removed from the reels after being called, so the same number can come up multiple times in one game. This means that although a game of Slingo Boom does play quite a bit more quickly than a game of 75 ball bingo, it isn’t the 5 times as fast one might think.
If multiplayer real money Slingo becomes as popular as it deserves to be, no doubt there will be more multiplayer versions in the future.
New for Summer 2016 is a Slingo themed casino game – Slingo Shuffle Roulette. This is actually a card game where players have the ability to place a range of different bets (similar to those in roulette). Each bet has a different RTP (as detailed in the paytable) with the best being 96.67% for a bet on a single card. The player wins and receives a payout at the quoted odds if all their selections are dealt from the deck before the Devil card comes up. There’s the opportunity to buy extra cards if the Devil comes up earlier (like the extra pay spins in single player Slingo, these each have an RTP of 95% but be aware that the price is rounded up to the next penny).
With chip sizes of 5p – £100, and bets available at odds from 1/1 to 3000/1, this game suits all pockets and all risk profiles.