So you want to buy a bingo!
The best advice I can give is do not buy a bingo unless you are fully aware of what you are taking on. If after taking all the factors into consideration you still want to go ahead then this is my advice.
Firstly check out the Phil Hooper website http://bingo.cdyn.com/ to see which type of bingo you require. Bally first produced them in 1951 and the features changed gradually over the next 25 years until they stopped production in the 1980's. The early machines did not have moving numbers but had features like Super Cards and "free numbers" that were awarded after depositing extra coins to gain higher odds etc. Sometimes there were a choice of numbers that had to be selected before firing the fourth or fifth ball. E.g. Palm Springs, Frolics and Palm Beach.
After a couple of years the vertical lines of numbers could be moved up or down one position to give more opportunities to get winning lines. Different machines were made that had 3, 4 and 5 moving lines. E.g. Variety, Gay Time and Big Time
The next thing was Magic Squares with the 4 numbers in each corner block revolving which allows numbers to be re-positioned by A, B, C and D buttons. E.g. Broadway, Night Club and Key West.
This was taken a stage further and not only were there 4 blocks of turning numbers but the bottom row of numbers also moved along making 5 buttons A, B, C, D and E (later another vertical row was added to make an F line) E.g. Show Time and Cypress Gardens (later Sun Valley and Beach Time.)
In 1958 the first of the magic screen games came along with an increase in the size of the head. The backglass went from 28 x 24 inches to 31x 25 inches. These games were very popular and are the most sought after of all the bingo's today. Some are more sought after than others due to various additional features that enhance the playability. E.g. Carnival Queen, Can Can, Golden Gate and Roller Derby to name but a few.
There were other games that appeared along the way that were one off's including Double Header, Miami Beach and Miss America (2 cards side by side with 5 horizontal moving lines) which is often argued to be Bally's most popular game because it was released four times as 57, 75, De Luxe and Supreme. There were also many 6 card and 20 hole machines but they were never very popular here so I will not bother go give them a mention.
With very few exceptions you can say that the newer they are, the more complicated they are and that is a fact that you need to be very aware of. Some pinball dealers will repair bingo's but they are the first people to admit that they are a lot more complicated than pins. An engineer called to site will charge anything from £200 - £300 a day including expenses and will not guarantee a fully working machine afterwards. Having considered this do you think that you have the ability to learn how to fault find yourself or know someone locally who will help you? THE A.A. DO NOT REPAIR BINGO MACHINES.
Do not buy from an Ebay seller unless you have actually seen and played it yourself and preferably had someone with you as a witness to any statements made by the seller. It will be worth spending a few pounds on fuel to check it out rather than seeing the bids being pushed up in a "Private Listing" which is a crooks charter that allows anonymous false bids by the sellers friends and family. I have come across several sellers that do this and even give themselves feedback.
Please, Please use the forum if you need any impartial advice. Several of the members know a lot about bingo's and will do all they can to help. I too can be contacted using my email address or by phone using the numbers listed on the site.
FINALLY ALL I CAN SAY IS BE CAREFUL.
Please note: These are my own personal opinions and may differ from others.