If you’ve found yourself on this page then the chances are that you’re a novice when it comes to playing bingo, or it could just be that you need a little more information about how to play online bingo in comparison with playing at your local bingo hall.
Whatever the reason you find yourself on this page, we’re sure the information below will help to enhance your experience playing bingo online.
Introduction to playing bingo online
The online bingo industry is one that has grown exponentially over the years but with changes in the rules and regulations governing online gambling of any description, the number of brands offering bingo on the Internet has dwindled of late.
The regulatory bodies have made significant changes to make you, the online player, have a safer experience from start to finish so whilst numbers have dwindled when it comes to online bingo sites, player safety and overall experience have improved.
Whether you are a novice or an expert, you’ll find something of interest in this article and around BestBingoWebsites in general.
Bingo online? What is it?
Online bingo is similar, but not quite the same, as bingo in your local club. In the UK, the differences are fairly small and limited to things like the number of tickets you can purchase per game and the fact that online you can chat whilst a game is in play.
Additionally, in the UK you don’t get to play 75 ball bingo in your local retail club but only 80 ball and the more traditional 75 ball.
The rules of the game do not differ though. As is the case with retail bingo, you buy tickets, numbers are called, and if you mark all your numbers off first then you are a winner.
There are several types of games that can be played and the number has increased since the inception of bingo online. It really depends on which of the best bingo sites you are playing at as to which games they offer, but the following examples are generally found at all bingo sites:
75 ball bingo – Tickets/cards have a 5×5 grid with the middle square a free one. Games can be played for patterns or lines.
90 ball bingo – Tickets/cards have a 3×9 grid and each row of nine has five numbers on and four blanks. Games can be played for one line, two lines and the full house or a variation of this.
Other versions of the game that are offered at some, but not all are:
30 ball bingo (Speed bingo) – Tickets/cards have a 3×3 grid and you play for a full house only.
50 ball bingo – Tickets/cards have a 2×10 grid with each row containing five numbers. You can play for one line and then the full house, or just the full house depending on the rules set out by the host site.
80 ball bingo (Shutterboard or Cashline) – Tickets/cards have a 4×4 grid and there are several ways in which to win, depending on where you are playing.
- Diagonal, horizontal or vertical line
- Four corners
- Full house
Additionally, some brands boast themed games. For example:
- Rainbow Riches Bingo
- Emmerdale Bingo
- Coronation Street Bingo
And then you have innovative sites like Tombola who create new versions of the online bingo game on a regular basis.
Bingo online differs slightly from retail / land-based bingo in that it is more social, at least during a game. In your local club you’ll be shhh’d if you chat during a game, not at your choice of site online though.
Once upon a time it also used to be that the auto-daub feature was something you only had online too but the introduction of electronic bingo at your local club means that this is no longer exclusive to online.
With all that said though, the differences are quite as noticeable as they once were.
How to play online bingo for real money
When you play bingo online there are several options available to you; one of these is to play for real money. If you opt to do this then there are a number of things that you will need alongside a computer or mobile device. First thing is that you have to be above the age of 18!
Then you will need:
- Money to deposit into your bingo account
- ID – both photographic and then proof of address
- Internet connection
Something that we also strongly suggest when opting to play for real money online is to set yourself a responsible gaming limit too. We take a look at this later on in this article.
Playing Bingo Online For Free
Although there is only one specific site that we can think of that you can play truly free bingo at, there are many brands that afford you the opportunity to play bingo online for free.
The latter free bingo option may have wagering requirements attached to any winnings derived from the no cost games so please always double-check the terms and conditions available.
Choosing A Bingo Site
Choosing a bingo site to play at can be a minefield because there are literally hundreds to choose from! Whilst the number of brands isn’t quite as high as it once was due to numerous closures following changes to gambling regulations, there’s still a large number to choose from.
Here are BestBingoWebsites we have reviewed quite a number of different sites and our bingo reviews are always a great place to start. Word of mouth also a great tool to help you make a decision as to where to play, and social media too.
First and foremost though, you need to know your own expectations and what you are looking for from your online bingo experience. For example, are you looking for a brand that offers free bingo games to all players on a regular basis? Does a good loyalty reward scheme hold more appeal to you? Is it the social aspect of the game online that you enjoy?
Registering a bingo account
Registering an account at an online bingo site will vary slightly from brand to brand but for the most part, the information that is required in order to open an account remains the same.
To open a bingo account at the site of your choice, you will need to provide the following information:
- Date of Birth
- Email address
- Telephone number
You will also be asked to provide a nickname or username (what you will be referred to as in the chat rooms and the name used for any promotional leaderboards etc.) and a password.
Some online bingo sites will also ask you for your occupation as part of the sign-up process.
Additionally, you may also be required to upload documents that verify your age and ID before being able to access the site.
As with all things online bingo, how you can deposit at a site will depend on the options each individual site has to offer. Changes in gambling regulations in April 2020 mean that credit cards will not be accepted at any site from this date.
The majority of online gambling sites, not just bingo brands, will accept debit cards but other options include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Pay By Mobile
- Wire Transfer
Details of the deposit options available will be listed on the site’s banking page.
Before making a deposit with any site, always check the bonus offers and any associated wagering requirements. It is also worthwhile to read their withdrawal policy, after all, if you get lucky with your deposit – you want to be able to withdraw your money easily.
More information about deposit bonuses and wagering requirements can be found here.
Like deposits, the options available to you for withdrawals will vary from brand to brand and all details can be found either on a specific banking page at the site of your choice, or in their Terms and Conditions.
Before being able to withdraw any funds from any online bingo account, you will have had to provide documentation to prove your identity. This is for your safety and in order to prevent money laundering. The ID and verification process only has to take place once usually (although we have known for it to happen more than once if there has been a significant time lapsed between withdrawals i.e. years rather than months).
Account verification / ID requirements are much the same industry-wide and you will be asked to provide the following:
- Personal ID – photographic ID like a passport, drivers licence or National Identity Card
- Address Verification – a utility bill of some description that is dated within the last three months
- Payment ID – the front and back of any card used to make a deposit with the site with the first six and last four digits on the front hidden but the CCV (three digits on the back) still visible.
Additionally, if you opted to take a bonus on any deposit you made with the site, wagering requirements may have had to be met before withdrawal.
It is against regulations set out by the UK Gambling Commission for a site to withhold a withdrawal because insufficient ID has been verified. This would see the operator in breach of their licence conditions as the details should have been obtained before the customer was allowed to gamble at their site.
As the online bingo industry has grown and evolved over the years, player’s safety has become more and more important to operators and the regulators.
Consumers, you the player, have more and more options in order to ensure that you are gambling responsibly. These include features like self-limits, game time reminders, self-exclusion and taking a break.
Editor in Chief
Nickie Shute is the Editor in Chief of Best Bingo Websites and a leading expert in online bingo.
Nickie has been writing and contributing to the online bingo world for over 10 years and cut her teeth writing for bingo affiliate websites, as well as owning her own white- label bingo site.