Lucky pants? How to win at the bingo

The five secrets of winning at the bingo

George Osborne at the bingo - how to win

How would you like to win thousands of pounds playing bingo? The game might not typically be seen as a major money spinner, but if you play your cards right, it could win you a tidy sum. There are five ways you can go about improving your chances.

Before we start, it's worth being clear about the basics. The numbers are chosen entirely at random, so it's a game of chance. It means there's no way to guarantee a win, and of course the vast majority of people who play will lose. It means you should only gamble with money you are prepared to lose.

Once you're on top of the basics, there are some steps to help you win.

1. Play as many cards as you can
As you practice, you will get more efficient at keeping track of numbers on a host of cards, and the more you play for each game, the more chances you have for a win. If, for example, there are 100 cards in play and you have four of them, your odds of winning are four times better than if you had one of them.

The aim is ideally to be good enough to play the maximum number of cards permitted. Don't run before you can walk though, if you're too ambitious, and get too many cards, you'll only end up missing numbers on all your cards and ruling yourself out for a win.

2. Get to the bingo early
This means you have time to catch up with friends and socialise before the game starts, so you won't be sidetracked during the games. You can also use the opportunity to talk to other people about the other games in town, and their experiences of Bingo elsewhere. They might offer tips of alternative halls where they have won big.

3. Stay off the booze
Some bingo halls serve alcohol along with other drinks and snacks. If you're only interested in having a fun night with your friends, then feel free to drink. If you want to stay alert, however, it's best to steer clear.

4. Try a lucky club

A new study by The National Bingo Association has revealed that the UK's luckiest bingo club is Mecca Bingo Forge in Glasgow, and the top ten are apparently:

Mecca Bingo Forge (Glasgow) £322,833.34
Mecca Bingo Talbot Road (Blackpool) £307,833.34
Beacon Bingo, Cricklewood (NW London) £306,166.67
Mecca Bingo (Aberdeen) £268,666.67
Castle Leisure Bingo (Newport, Wales) £229,500.00
Palace Bingo (London) ££212,500.00
Castle Leisure Bingo (Merthyr Tydfil) £175,000.00
Palace (Great Yarmouth) £168,666.67
Mecca Bingo (Dundee Douglasfield) £165,000.00
Mecca Bingo (Hamilton) £157,000.00

5. Play for fun

Bingo has changed, and while there's still plenty of life left in bingo halls, the online bingo market dominates. The UK is now the biggest market in the world for online bingo - and last year was worth £128.64 million.

There are plenty of people playing online for fun. More than 40% of payers deposit £25 or less each month, and many of them report having made firm online friends through bingo sites. These players are replicating the offline experience - without having to leave the house.

There is a risk, however, when things move online. More than a quarter of players play online bingo for three or more hours at one sitting, and those who deposit £100 or more a month make up 20% of the market. When bingo stops being an entertaining night out, and becomes a way to accidentally spend £100, there's always the risk it becomes a dangerous habit.

Because while it's always going to be fun to win at the bingo, if it stops being fun just to play and lose, there's a good chance we have adopted the wrong approach.

North East is luckiest in Lotto

North East is luckiest in Lotto