The world of online bingo is a bit of a jungle. There are so many bingo sites to choose from, with every single one promising big jackpots. Apparently, all you need to do is sign up, deposit some cash, and play to your heart’s content.
But not all bingo sites are created equal, and some aren’t exactly trustworthy. That’s why it’s essential to learn how to compare bingo sites and separate the wheat from the chaff. Keep reading to find out how to identify the perfect site for playing bingo online.
Your First Steps in the World of Online Bingo
So, you’ve decided to get online to play some bingo. Welcome aboard! You’re certain to find a long list of accommodating sites where you can become a regular and even meet some new friends in chat rooms. But before all that, and before we dive into our bingo sites comparison guide, we need to touch on a few basics about playing bingo online. We’re not just talking about avoiding scams but about the specific knowledge required to fully appreciate this game.
What You Need To Play
Online bingo has one obvious requirement that you don’t need when playing in person at your local bingo hall – you’ll need access to a device with an internet connection. The good news is that every single site works on a standard internet browser that you already have installed on your computer. You won’t need to get some special software to start playing bingo and run a comparison of the sites that meet your expectations.
You can also play on your smartphone or tablet device. It’s rare to come across a site that doesn’t offer a lightweight mobile version optimised for smaller screens. In fact, a lot of operators also offer mobile apps you can install on your phone and play on the go. In other words, our favourite game keeps up with technological advances. It’s even easier to compare online bingo sites when you’re using a mobile device, as everything loads faster.
Games and Chat Rooms
There are many types of bingo you can play today. But just like you wouldn’t go to a bingo night at a local club without getting familiar with the games they play there, you shouldn’t venture onto websites before learning about the games they offer and the specific rules.
The variety of bingo games online is huge, which is one of the many reasons you should compare free bingo sites. The classic 90-ball bingo is played everywhere, of course, and works exactly the same as in your local bingo hall. However, the selection of games doesn’t end there, and you’ll see many versions of the game, including the fast-paced 30-ball variant. Take some time to familiarise yourself with each of the games on offer, especially if the site has house rules for certain bingo variants. More often than not, there is a specific winning scheme and prize list beyond a simple full house.
Since website operators don’t need to worry about any physical space for hosting bingo nights, more games can run simultaneously. Some of the best bingo sites in the UK run games 24/7. There usually isn’t a “bingo night” in a traditional sense, but some websites try to create an authentic atmosphere of a big night out by using chat rooms and time-limited games.
A chat room accompanies every bingo game you can play online. This is a place where you can meet like-minded bingo fans and discuss things even beyond the game. Some sites may inject a moderator or a host into a chat room to keep the discussion going and keep players entertained.
What To Look for When Comparing Bingo Sites
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the shiny banners and bonus offers when you first visit a bingo site. But it’s important to move past this and focus on a few key components that’ll tell you whether the site is legitimate and if you should hang around for a few rounds of bingo.
For every bingo site comparison, it helps if you’re already familiar with the company that owns the website you’re accessing. Credibility is often the best currency, and operators should have an established reputation for trustworthiness.
Recommendations from friends are also a good option. This industry isn’t exactly young anymore, which means there are reputable sites that most players are familiar with. Additionally, any endorsements by celebrities or famous brands greatly improve a site’s credibility. Nobody wants to put their name and face on a bad product.
Is It Legitimate?
One of the fastest ways to compare bingo sites is to start by scratching the scammers off your list. There’s a quick and easy way to check whether sites are legal and registered within the UK: Scroll all the way to the bottom of the homepage and look for the information about the site’s licence. The licence should be issued by the UK Gambling Commission. To find out if the accreditation is valid, simply run the licence number through the UKGC’s register.
Many trusted bingo sites now have a contract with the Independent Betting Adjudication Service, which is approved by the UKGC and provides impartial adjudications on disputes between gambling sites and their players. As such, the presence of an IBAS logo is another good sign. Lastly, look for the year when the site was launched. The sites that have been around for longer are typically more reliable.
Navigation and Design
Take a good look at the bingo site you’ve accessed. Can you quickly figure out where the games and chat rooms are? Are all of the functions clearly displayed? If you encounter convoluted web designs and the site is difficult to navigate, you should probably move on. These types of sites are usually not worth your time and should be excluded from your comparison of UK bingo sites.
If the operators want their players to have a good time and get to the games quickly, they should make their sites easy to navigate. If you prefer playing bingo on your smartphone or tablet, check the app stores for the official app. But even if the company doesn’t offer a mobile app, most sites are optimised for mobile play.
The selection of bingo games is a key factor when choosing a venue and conducting an online bingo game comparison. A rich selection of bingo rooms is now a must. This goes for both the variety of games themselves and entry prices. Sometimes you just don’t feel like playing high-stakes bingo, and you want games starting from 5p, or you’re in a rush and want to play some fast games with big jackpots. It’s always nice to have a choice.
Is It Fun?
Lastly, a bingo site should be fun to play at. At the end of the day, we love bingo because it’s a fun game. That’s why this is an important consideration when we’re trying to compare online bingo games. The sites usually try to emulate the atmosphere of a bingo hall in the form of a chat room. Players can also see who’s online, add players to a friend list, and chat privately or on a public channel. There are usually moderators and hosts dedicated to keeping the discussion civil and entertaining the players between games. With bingo, the atmosphere is half the experience, and chat rooms are a crucial ingredient.
How We Find the Best Bingo Sites
Our bingo site reviews aren’t just a rushed assessment of the venues. We look for the best of the best – the sites that are absolutely worth your time and money. Of course, we start with all the aforementioned categories, including verifying the reputation and legitimacy of the site, browsing the game selection, and testing how the whole site works. We also look for any unique characteristics and, finally, compare bingo sites. Here’s what else we look at.
This is a competitive industry, and site operators need to incentivise players to sign up, deposit, and regularly play at their bingo venues. This can be done through welcome bonuses that boost your winnings by doubling your first deposit or by offering free bingo games and cashback deals. Most of these sites offer loyalty rewards and regular bonuses whenever you reload your account.
Some welcome bonuses are based on your deposit balance, with the best bingo sites promising to match it by a certain percentage up to 100%. While there are bingo-only sites, such as Heart Bingo, Wink Bingo, or Mecca Bingo, you’ll often find bingo games on casino sites or slot sites. Deposit bonuses at such sites will usually involve free spins on some of the most popular slots, such as Starburst, Rainbow Riches, Fluffy Favourites, or Fruit Blast.
In addition to various welcome bonuses, free bingo tickets can be won in weekly, monthly, or special promotions. We also review these in every online bingo comparison.
Bear in mind that these bonuses usually come with a set of requirements, which is one of the reasons we compare bingo sites in the UK in such detail. The sites usually require you to “roll over” a bonus, meaning that you need to wager your winnings a certain number of times before you can cash out. Other restrictions apply as well – minimum deposit amounts, games bonus win cap, minimum bonus amount, and so forth.
You’ll notice that the requirements aren’t always clearly displayed, which is why we pay special attention to the fine print in the terms & conditions sections. There, you’ll find phrases like “subject to 20x wagering requirement.” (By the way, if you do find such a wagering requirement, consider yourself lucky: The years of thorough comparison of online bingo sites have taught us the average is closer to 35x.) Sometimes, you’ll have to wager both your deposit and bonus funds, while sometimes, wagering just the bonus funds will suffice.
On top of that, there’s always a time limit to complete the wagering requirement. It ranges anywhere between seven and 30 days. Of course, the more leeway you have, the better.
Bingo sites have to offer a variety of ways for you to reload your account. A modern site normally accepts debit cards, PayPal, Paysafecard, Skrill, Neteller, wire transfers, and a variety of e-wallets. The more options at your disposal, the better.
But our comparison of bingo sites doesn’t stop there. We also look for any transaction fees and measure how quickly the sites process both deposits and withdrawals. Then, we check for withdrawal restrictions. For example, some websites operate a “closed-loop” policy that requires you to use the same banking method for depositing and withdrawing funds.
Technical problems with bingo websites aren’t unheard of. You may encounter complications when attempting to cash out, or the email with your verification link can go missing. That’s why the best bingo sites have 24/7 customer support and provide various channels to get in touch with the customer service team. We also test support response times and report about the overall customer experience.