Last update: 16th April 2018
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.
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:
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 (from the original release of the game), the starting 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%). Later releases of Slingo Riches (and other Slingo games) include quite a bit more information for the player about the risk and reward of extra spins, as seen in this screenshot.
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:
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:
BGT Slingo is basically a reskinned version of Slingo Riches, created for a BGT themed slots site.
X Factor Slingo is also based on the Slingo Riches engine, but with the addition of three progressive jackpots which can be won by collecting 7, 8 or 9 of the special X Factor logo symbols. These appear on the centre reel only from time to time, and are also awarded (instead of the cash prize in the other versions) for a spin that contains 3 or more jokers or super jokers. The game has an overall RTP of 95% just like the original, but the return on the base game is lower because some of it is tied up in the jackpots. X Factor Slingo also has a higher minimum stake than Slingo Riches, of £2 a spin (and a maximum of £100 a spin).
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.
Big Money Slingo is also the only version of Slingo to be available at non Gaming Realms sites; in summer 2017 it started to be rolled out to Dragonfish and Cassava / 888 bingo sites where it appears in the slots section.
The first multiplayer version of real money Slingo arrived on the scene in May 2016, exclusive to Slingo.com (it has now been rolled out to all the other Gaming realms sites). 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).
In Spring 2017 the game was given an additional twist. In some games non winning players are now offered the opportunity to buy extra spins after the game ends to complete the board and win the full house prize amount.
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.