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Blackout Bingo Review: Can You Win Money Without Paying to Play?

Blackout Bingo Review
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Blackout Bingo is a mobile game app that bills itself as a skill-based way for players to win “real world rewards and cash prizes.” We tested the game to see whether it’s a legit money making app or just a fun way to pass the time.

In this Blackout Bingo review we’ll cover:

Blackout Bingo Basics

Blackout Bingo — not to be confused with the other Blackout Bingo that is also available in iOS App Store (see below) — is one of many games available on the Skillz competitive gaming platform, which enables developers to build games that offer tournaments and cash prizes (as well as other types of rewards).

Blackout Bingo in the app store
The is a review of the Blackout Bingo game shown in the upper left corner of the screenshot above.

Blackout Bingo is a competitive bingo game where players compete against each other to win cash or prizes. Often touted as a money making app, you may be wondering if it’s legit. The answer is “yes,” in the strictest sense: I was able to download Blackout Bingo and play free games that offered the opportunity to win in-game currency that could be redeemed for various prizes. 

However, as I’ll highlight throughout this review, there is no way to win cash without paying to play.

There are a few different types of currency that you’ll encounter within the game:

  • Cash: U.S. currency is required as an entry fee for some games, and is offered as a prize to the winners of those games.
  • Zs: The official Skillz digital currency. Can be used for entry fees, but cannot be exchanged for anything with a cash value. You earn Zs by winning games and tournaments, achieving “trophies,” or as a daily offer.
  • Ticketz: A type of virtual currency offered as a prize for some games that can be exchanged for gift cards or merchandise.

For each bingo game I played, I exchanged Zs for the opportunity to play. If I won the game (i.e., scored more points than my opponent), I won additional Zs and one Ticketz. If I lost, I didn’t win anything. 

Blackout Bingo game options
An example of the different types of games available on Blackout Bingo.

Blackout Bingo’s FAQs claim that all available games require skill to play. Presumably, that disclaimer aims to distinguish the app from a gambling platform. 

What skills help someone increase their odds of winning at bingo?

  • When a bingo number is announced, the player “daubs” their digital card — i.e., they press the corresponding number on their digital bingo card. Theoretically, those who daub fast will do better.
  • Beyond that, identifying and remembering to “call” a bingo earns points, and daubs that are made quickly earn extra points.
  • Additionally, every daub earns the player progress towards achieving “bonus balls.” When bonus balls are achieved, the player can select an extra ball from a number of options on their card. 

The closer you pay attention to the numbers that are on your card (and which numbers you need in order to get a bingo), the better bonus ball selection you can make. When you select the right bonus ball numbers, you achieve more bingos, which in turn increases your point total for that game — making it more likely that you will win. 

Now add multiple cards into the mix and deduct points for incorrect daubs and bingo calls, and yes, it is fair to say that having some degree of skill can help you win at Blackout Bingo.

Blackout Bingo Key Facts

Whether you plan to play on an iPhone or Android device, there are a few universal truths that you should know before getting started.

1. You cannot earn or win cash without paying to play.

There are several game options (brackets, head-to-head, and practice) available, along with various risk/reward scenarios for each. The bracket and head-to-head games offer numerous options where players have the ability to earn cash. However, there is a corresponding cash entry fee for these games.

2. You can earn free gift cards and merchandise without paying to play, but accumulating enough credit for these prizes will take an extraordinarily long time.

There is one bracket option that requires only Zs to enter (instead of a cash entry fee). Additionally, all practice games are cashless. Winning any of these games will get you more Zs (which you can use to play more games) and Ticketz. 

Ticketz winnings accumulate over time and can be redeemed for gift cards or merchandise. However, you can only win one Ticketz in any cashless game. (You can win up to 500 Zs, but they can’t be redeemed for cash or prizes.)

For context, it takes thousands of Ticketz to earn any cash reward.

3. There is an inactivity fee.

Per Blackout Bingo’s FAQs, once a user is inactive on the platform for six months, a $2 monthly maintenance fee is assessed to their account.

Note that the fee is deducted from the user’s in-app balance. Blackout Bingo says that no charge will ever be made to your payment method without your consent. However, it’s important to keep in mind that if you stop playing the game, any funds you added to your balance will be slowly depleted.

Additionally, if you close your account, make sure you withdraw your real cash balance first. If you forget, any remaining balance will be deducted two months after your account is closed. 

Blackout Bingo Gameplay & Features

Skillz uses an algorithm that matches players with people of similar skill levels for games and tournaments. The company says the “same circumstances” are then provided to each player. I assume that the term “same circumstances” means that the same bingo balls, in the same location; however, the Skillz Terms and Conditions are not that specific.

Here are a few of the key gameplay features you should know in order to maximize your chances of winning.

Boosts

During each bingo game, you have the ability to earn “boosts,” which effectively give you more points or time (and increase your chances of beating your opponent).

Leagues

Leagues award you for consistent play.

“Pro” leagues allow you to compete against your Blackout Bingo peers for cash prizes. The current league is offering $500,000 cash and 58.1 million Ticketz.

The “Practice” league offers Zs — currently 150,000 Zs split between the top finishers.

Leagues run over a set period of days and offer payouts to the top finishers at the end of the period.

Blackout Bingo Leagues
Example of a League leaderboard.

Loyalty Tiers

Players climb in rank through six tiers as they earn Ticketz. With each upward move in rank, they earn a Ticketz multiplier.

For example, lowly bronze players (like me) earn only 1x the number of Ticketz for each bingo game they win. But once I’ve played enough games to earn 250 Ticketz — about three years at the pace I played during my testing for this review — I would earn silver status and a 2x multiplier, so that every game in which I earn one Ticketz pays me two Ticketz instead. 

Note the massive jump between the second and third tier, as shown in the screenshot below: players need to earn 50,000 Ticketz to achieve the third multiplier!

Skills Rewards Tiers
The Blackout Bingo tiers list.

Blackout Bingo Cost & Earning Potential

There are several game options available within Blackout Bingo, along with various tiers in each, but they really boil down to free games and cash games.

Editor’s note: The specific prize amounts and gameplay features change from time to time. The figures below were current as of the date of publication, and we’ll update them periodically. While they may not perfectly reflect what you see in the app, they accurately demonstrate Blackout Bingo’s overall prize distribution balance, and they illustrate the key differences between how the different types of games pay out.

Free Games

People who don’t want to put in any of their own cash to play can choose between brackets and practice options. 

  • Brackets
    • Prize: 2-50 Zs and 1 Ticketz.
    • Entry Fee: 5 Zs.
    • Players: 32 players.
  • Practice
    • Prize: 2-500 Zs and 1 Ticketz.
    • Entry Fee: 1-300 Zs.
    • Players: 2.

Cash Games

If you’re feeling adventurous, there are several cash game options available along with various tiers in each.

  • Brackets
    • Entry Fee: $3-$160.
    • Potential Prize: $2-$330 (depending on the entry fee amount and your final placement) and 225-12,000 Ticketz.
    • Players: 4-32 players.
  • Head-to-Head
    • Entry Fee: $0.60-$465.
    • Potential Prize: $1-$755 and 50-43,700 Ticketz.
    • Players: 2.

Our Blackout Bingo Earnings

Our goal for this Blackout Bingo review was to establish whether or not it can really be called a money-making app. As such, I went into my testing period with the rule that I would only play free games, and I attempted to earn as many Ticketz as I could using Zs for entry fees. 

In 20 minutes of play I earned 57 Ticketz.

Here’s a log of every game I played, along with the amount of Ticketz I won.

Game TypeResult
Practice – Relax – Single Card1 Ticketz 
Practice – Relax – Single Card0 Ticketz 
Practice – Relax – Single Card0 Ticketz 
Practice – Relax – Single Card1 Ticketz 
Practice – Relax – Single Card1 Ticketz 
Practice – Relax – Single Card0 Ticketz 
Practice – Relax – Single Card0 Ticketz 
Win 3 practice tournaments trophy50 Ticketz 
Practice – Relax – Single Card0 Ticketz 
Practice – Relax – Single Card1 Ticketz 
Practice – Relax – Single Card1 Ticketz 
Practice – Train – 2 Card0 Ticketz 
Practice – Train – 2 Card1 Ticketz 
Practice – Train – 2 Card1 Ticketz 
Practice – Train – 2 Card0 Ticketz 
57 Ticketz 

Maximum Earning Potential

So, what was I able to redeem my 57 Ticketz for? 

Drumroll please…

Nothing. 

The easiest reward to earn on the platform is a sticker that costs 1,000 Ticketz. Let’s do some math to see how long I would need to play Blackout Bingo to earn 1,000 Ticketz. 

During this testing period, I earned Ticketz at a rate of 57 every 19 minutes and 30 seconds (equating to one every 1,170 seconds). 

Note that the vast majority of my Ticketz — 50 out of 57 — came from a trophy reward. I will include my trophy earnings in the math below, but I wanted to make the point that I would be unlikely to earn at the exact same rate over time.

  • 1,170 seconds (played)/57 Ticketz = 20.53 seconds/Ticketz.
  • 250 Ticketz (to hit the next earning tier) * 20.53 seconds = 5,133 seconds (1 hour and 25 minutes of consecutive play to move to the silver tier).

The next 750 Ticketz would be earned at a multiple of two for every victory (in the silver tier) so my earning rate would improve slightly to 1,170/64 = 18.28 seconds per Ticketz.

  • 750 Ticketz * 18.28 seconds = 13,710 seconds (3 hours 48 minutes).
  • 1 hour and 25 minutes + 3 hours and 48 minutes = 5 hours and 13 minutes.

If that math is hard to follow, consider yourself fortunate that you didn’t have to calculate it!

But here’s the big takeaway: It would take me 5 hours and 13 minutes of consecutive play to win enough Ticketz to redeem them for a sticker

If anyone wants to calculate how many lifetimes it would take to earn the Porsche Boxster (shown below) that costs 1.74 billion Ticketz, feel free to leave the answer in the comment section…

High Value Skillz Rewards
There is zero chance you will earn enough Ticketz to redeem them for these prizes.

Blackout Bingo FAQs

Is Blackout Bingo a gambling app?

By definition, gambling is playing games of chance for the opportunity to win money. Because there is an element of skill to Blackout Bingo, it is technically not a gambling app. However, the app does entice you to pay to play, and there is a significant chance you can lose money.

Who is eligible to play Blackout Bingo?

To play Blackout Bingo you need to be at least 18 years old and have a mobile phone (Apple or Android).

Do you need to turn on location services to play?

The Skillz Terms and Conditions indicate that the platform collects location information from users’ devices. However, users have the option to disable location access.

Keep in mind that the Skillz software does not permit users located in a “prohibited jurisdiction” (determined by the gaming laws of each U.S. state, country, territory, or jurisdiction). If you turn off your location access, you may be prevented from accessing the app.

What are the U.S. “prohibited jurisdictions?”

Per the Skillz Terms and Conditions, the following are prohibited jurisdictions as of July 22, 2020: “Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Tennessee. For card games, Prohibited Jurisdictions include Maine and Indiana.”

Blackout Bingo Review: Final Verdict

If you’re bingo-obsessed and looking for a glitch-free gaming experience for relaxation in your spare time, Blackout Bingo is a great choice.

However, if your goal is to find a money making app that you can enjoy while also making a little bit of extra cash, this isn’t the right choice. There’s no way to win cash without paying to play, and the prizes from free games accrue far too slowly to make earning anything of value a realistic proposition.

Check out our list of game apps that pay via PayPal for better options, and learn more about getting paid to play games for legit gaming-based side hustle ideas.

You can also refer to our full list of game apps that pay you to play, but keep in mind that like Blackout Bingo, many of them require a cash entry fee.

Vanessa Zeigler
Vanessa Zeigler is a freelance writer and editor focused on personal finance and time management. She has an MBA from Duke University and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). She writes about frugal-living techniques, side hustles, product testing, selling on Etsy and eBay, and using money-making apps. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Upwork and Etsy.

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