Housie gets its name from the term ‘Full House’ which refers to all the numbers on a player’s ticket that wins them the grand prize in the game.
This version of Bingo is mostly played in New Zealand and Australia, as well as some parts of the UK.
New Zealanders play NZ housie games, which, like housie games in Australia and the UK, is a 90 ball game.
The majority of housie games are not played for fundraising, but more for entertainment. Food stands, or tuckshops as they’re called, are a big part of the evening’s order, and the main event is the Super Housie bonus game.
Interestingly enough, housie tickets in New Zealand do not have serial numbers as most other bingo or Australian tickets have. They simply have a two digit code on the backs of the tickets instead.
Housie games pay out about 90% in prizes, which covers the cost of tickets. Prizes for each game vary, and each game has 3 winners for lines won. The biggest prize is the Super Housie game prize.
Community groups and activities are very popular in New Zealand capital, so housie halls are leased out from community centers, as well as schools and churches.
Even though housie is played for cash prizes, it is still very much a community event. Many groups have housie nights as functions, and some may donate proceeds left over from tickets to charities.
In Australia, 90 ball housie games are played. The name ‘housie’, most likely originated from players shouting “House!” when they have won 3 lines (or Full House).
Aside from having a different name, Aus housie is no different to UK 90 ball bingo. It is played using 8×3 grid housie tickets with numbers from 1 to 90, and there are 3 prizes per game: 1 Line, 2 Lines and 3 Lines or Full House.
As most housie games are more for the social aspect that big cash prizes, often players win hampers, gift vouchers or wine. Housie games are mostly organised by churches and organizations and played in housie halls across Australia.
There is usually a break halfway through the housie game. Super Housie games are played, snacks and drinks are topped up and often a raffle is drawn.