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The Differences Between Class 2 and Class 3  Bingo Slot Machines

The Differences Between Class 2 and Class 3 Bingo Slot Machines

Slots are the most easily recognized game in any casino in the United States. Come to think of it, if you have ever visited a land-based casino, or perhaps played online, well, there is a good chance that you have played slots. Slots are so popular that you can find them almost anywhere. You can find slots in casinos, at airports, hotels and even in local bars.

However, winning in slots is not as simple as it seems. You may think it is simply pressing buttons and pulling levers, then sitting back and relaxing. For most places around the world, it is just that and you may think that there is no other aspect or logic to consider because each slot machine is programmed the same, each slot machine holds the same odds of winning. But this is not true because not all slot machines are programmed the same. There are two types of slot machines. They are Class 2 and Class 3 slot machines. Before we delve more into the differences between them, let us get a grasp at the context first.

Origins of Class 2 and Class 3 slot machines

Native Americans were socially and financially disadvantaged in comparison to “mainstream” America in the early 1900s. Also during this era, part of the native American culture was to gamble, whether it be with archery or various other social games. Yet, these activities were considered illegal at the time. In recognition of the previous two points, the Federal Government defined in legislation Native American land title with subsequent debate following as to whether and how to legalize gambling. There were some states which were conservative and opposed gambling because they believed it to be morally wrong. Others also opposed it, because of the fear of competition to their mainstream casinos. While some states were more liberal and wanted gaming to be allowed. They also wanted the gaming revenue to be tax-free (or at concession) and saw this as an avenue that could benefit the Native American community. In conclusion to the debate, an agreement was made to legalize gambling activity in 1988 on Native American land. A federal law was passed in 1988 by Congress called the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). The Act categorized gaming into three classes namely:

Class I Gaming: Defined as gaming associated with social card games or tribal ceremonies. The intention is not for profit, but the essence is more about social purpose.

Class II Gaming: Commonly known as Bingo (whether it is online Bingo or some other)and if played in the same area as Bingo other games such as punch boards, tip jars, instant Bingo and all other similar games.

Class III Gaming: This category involved the Las Vegas-style of gambling such as table games, like roulette, craps and blackjack and slot machines. Anything that does not fall into Class II falls into the category of Class III.

These Classes were formed to restrict Class III gaming but allow Class II and Class I. Because games that are Bingo in nature were deemed to be less immoral than Class III games. The origins of Bingo have a social aspect to it, which is less about profit-making and winnings but rather group entertainment. With this in mind that Class II machines were more unrestricted in use. Knowing this, Native American casino operators began to think of ways of creating gaming machines that met the requirements of Class II but looked and appeared to be in the Las Vegas-style of gaming. This led to an innovation and development phase whereby software engineers, hardware experts, game designers would be employed to think of new ways of gaming, but keep to the requirements of Class II which is Bingo-based. And the most obvious game that adapted to the format is slots. Thus games that appeared to slot were in fact, fast high tech electronic Bingo machines.

So what exactly are Class 2 slot machines?

Class 2 slot machines are a faster high speed automated version of Bingo. When a player plays a Class 2 slot machine the display of Bingo games is being run in the background. When hitting the spin button, the player is being pooled with many other players who have also hit the spin button and each player is given a predetermined Bingo outcome. So you could say that Class II slot machines are not really slot machines at all. They just appear to look like one but are electronic Bingo games. Most of Class 2 machines can be found in Indian casinos or slot parlours attached to horse racing tracks.

Class 3 slot machines

To ensure that the randomness and reliability of each machine are completely unbiased and fair, Class 3 machines go through rigorous testing by the third parties and licensed organizations. This procedure has to be done to ensure that the randomness and reliability of each machine are completely unbiased and fair. The rules are quite simple here. You are playing against the casino. The slot machines are set up in a way, holding a certain part of the money played while distributing the rest to the players. When you play slot machines, it is all about timing and it is all about luck.

The differences between Class 2 and Class 3

There are many differences between the two classes. Let us see some of them.

  • Class 2 slot machines are games of chance that are based on Bingo but are also similar to lotteries. These kinds of games are most appealing to tribal casinos in Native American reservations, as they do not need tribes to enter state agreements, plus tribes are not required to pay taxes on revenues generated from Class 2 machines. Class 3 games, on the other hand, are under a “catch-all category” which stands for games that do not fall under Class 2 or 3 class machines. Class 3 include traditional casino games like old-school slot machines, roulette, craps, etc.
  • Class 2 machines have an additional small window that displays the Bingo patterns whereas Class 3 machines work independently.
  • Class 2 slot machines are self-regulated by the Native American tribes that own and operate the casinos on their land title. In other words, the tribes themselves get to determine if they have breached the Class 2 Act (or not have breached). As history shows, self-regulation in any industry simply does not work. There is a conflict of interest between profit-making and maintaining ethics. And what will always occur, is the profit-making aspect will trump the maintenance of ethics. Class 3 slots machines, however, are not self-regulated but are verified through thorough testing by third-party and government organizations. Testing is conducted to provide players assurance of their randomness and reliability. The same testing is (supposedly) also performed by Native American casino operators, however, there is less transparency for these testing results than for Class II.

How to read the Bingo patterns on slot machines?

Players do not enjoy looking at Bingo patterns the way they love to look at 5 reels spinning and stopping, until a combination of symbols lands. But the problem is how are we going to read them? Bingo patterns play out just before the reels start spinning. And although each slot may differ in design, the Class 2 games typically feature the same Bingo elements. Many players who seek to fit those patterns on their cards compared to centrally assigned numbers. The Bingo patterns displayed on the screen are kind of a cover-up of your bets, which will be paid out to you if you win, depending on the sum of your bet. You can watch how these numbers are produced on a small Bingo screen, while the full-screen display is there for spinning the reels or video icons.

How to win on Bingo slot machines?

Just like online Bingo, players sit in front of their screens and are linked to the same game. They compete against each other until some lucky player forms a winning combination of symbols or numbers. If it lands on the highlighted areas, and you happen to have the right number (which are the yellow numbers below), the machine will pay you that amount. It is as simple as that. All you gotta do is follow the numbers and leave the rest to your lucky stars. Once the winner announces he or she has matched winning symbols, the operators will verify their claims.


Some people feel that class III slots are somehow “fairer” to the player because they are standalone machines that deliver results based on their Random Number Generator. In reality, however, the payout percentages on both types of machines are identical. The bottom line is that neither type of slot is “fairer” than the other. Players will get the same odds and payouts on both types of machines. The only difference is in how the results are determined. Think of it as two roads that both go to the same destination.