I have created a game concept for a viable casino bingo pinball machine and have included earnings analytics. Many pinball purists may not like this proposal because it talks about fitting the game into a standard slant slot cabinet, as a video machine. But for practicality, this would be the only viable option to get the game made. If the concept proves to be successful, then a mechanical pinball cabinet could be made later.

Also, many casinos try to cram as many games into their space as possible and a larger pinball type cabinet wouldn’t be practical because they could place two standard slot cabinets in the same space.

Because this game will attract a lot of slot crossover players and newbies, the automatic features would be the default, but there is always manual override for purist bingo players (especially when it comes to the final magic screen positioning). For those of you who don’t know what a magic screen is, it is a feature that allows for different bingos. There are a couple of youtube videos that do a good job of describing bingo machines and the magic screen feature.

Pinballingo by Jon Norris-

Pinballingo is a new genre of gaming devices. Many titles, themes, and features can be used.

I’m not going to use the term “Bingo” machine because unfortunately, this term is already used in gaming, to describe a class 2 gaming device. So to greatly differentiate the two types of devices, I am going to call this genre of games “Pinballingo”.

I know that original Bally/United bingo machines were usually on a Nickel, I am suggesting going to a quarter denomination. This must be done, so that the game can justify being placed in a casino. Even at a 25 cent denomination, the games will only earn 60% of what a standard video slot will earn. (If the game were a 5 cent denomination, then this stat would drop down to about 15%). At 60%, the earnings will be tolerable, and many casinos would still operate these games because they would give their operation more variety for their customers than their competitors.

Pinballingo uses a familiar top box that has the bingo card, features, odds, etc. The game has a simulated pinball machine on the lower screen:



The game would be very user friendly, giving players standard slot type buttons for betting, playing, choosing, and cashing out.

The reflex unit must be replaced by standard pay-tables. This must be done to allow the game to be made as a class 3 gaming device. This also allows the operator to change the pay-table to suit their customers.

The play of the game has two phases. The betting phase allows the player to place bets in order to advance features or advance credit awards. This would be automatic, but the player can opt for a “Manual” mode where they can control whether the bet is directed toward features or credits. The player will place between 15 and 20 bets (average) per game. Each time they place a bet, the features/credit awards scan and blink. This process takes only a couple of seconds (for each bet).

When the player is happy with their betting, then they can shoot their first ball. Shooting the first ball ends the betting phase, and those buttons are disabled. As balls land in holes, the game will automatically see any win and move the magic screen to those places to obtain those wins.

When it comes time to place the magic screen in it’s final place, the game will do that for the player automatically, unless the player overrides. The game does prompt the player at this time. Shooting the ball now locks in the magic screen.

After the 5th ball ends, the “Extra Ball” bet button is activated and the game prompts the player about their three choices: “Bet for Extra Ball”, “Start New Game”, or “Cash Out”.

Pinballingo by Jon Norris.

3 responses

  1. Hi Jon. Nice to see you designing again. And as you may remember, bingos are my passion!
    I like this idea and coincidently I have been talking to Phil Hooper who you may know.
    He wants to someday build a bingo in a standard size cabinet with a real playfield but have an LCD screen in the head which would have all of the most popular Bally bingos programmed in. The front rail would have all of the necessary feature controls. He says that he has it all imagined and that it is possible to do but he does not have the time to do it. I think this would be very popular among collectors but for all of the reasons you stated, including space, probably not viable for commercial use.
    I really like this idea and would certainly buy one.
    Your idea makes more sense for commercial use. As I recall, Premier had considered building a bingo at one time. Would you care to comment on that?
    If you like, you can post this on the RGP. I always have trouble posting there.
    Good luck and I look forward to reading your future endeavors. I will never forget the night we played Diamond Lady until dawn at Steve Kirk’s apartment. And thanks for all of your contributions to The Pinball Trader. The mag would have been sorely lacking if not for the ‘Chicago Connection’. Dennis Dodel

  2. Hi Jon,
    Cool idea and an interesting concept! I hope it floats! – There will be many things to do and overcome. One of them may be that most bingo pinball players enjoy and take advantage of the skill factor part of playing (successful nudging- and/or the lack it). It’s my guess this facet of game play would need to dumbed down (or likely removed entirely) to ensure everyone has the same chances of winning (like we’re told slots are) and to keep the gaming commission fat & happy. I think I heard somewhere this is part of why bingo were outlawed – along with the government believing they were not able to take “their fair cut”. Being a bingo purist myself I’d give this game a go … quite often in fact “if” I’d be able to apply my learned playing skills. Good luck with it & All the Best, Steve Smith – Richmond VA

    • Actually, Class 3 gaming devices are allowed a skill component. (Notice the Joystick on the game), this would be used for nudging, for a little skill in the game (like real bingo machines). If you look at IGT’s “Reel Edge” series of slots, they include bonuses that have a skill element, but this would only be about 10% of the total bonus win, so 90% is still determined my a random number generator. So a skilled player will still win more than a novice. I would help the novice by letting them use an “Auto” plunger, and the game would analyze whether the ball should be coming down the left, middle, or right side and place the ball there.

      I do think that this is a valid concept, but the difficult part is to get a gaming manufacturer to make the game. Unlike amusement games, there are high costs related with regulatory approval of each game title, that can run six figures for a single title.

      One thing on my side is the already large library of great bingos that can be cloned with only a new theme needed.

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