Online Bingo Sites and Bonuses March 2023
Online bingo has taken the nations favourite game to new heights with more people than ever (85%+) playing virtually through desktop and mobile devices. This has also changed the perception of bingo too with huge numbers of younger people, and plenty of men, now playing on a regular basis. Over 20% of the 3.5 million bingo players in the UK are now between 18-24 years of age.
Unlike casino, bingo is not a solitary pursuit, most games cost less than £1 to play and you can even play bingo for free 24/7. The welcome bonuses available from most bingo sites, in terms of percentage free, are massive (100 to 600%+), bigger than any other form of online gaming. The stakes required to activate these bonuses are also very low (usually £5 or £10), meaning you can have a lot of fun from a level deposit. On that note let’s look at the UK’s best bingo sites and bonuses. Further down you can find a guide to bingo including different games and software providers available.
Best Bingo Sites For UK Customers
Guide To How To Play Bingo Online
How Does Online Bingo Work
Virtual bingo games are driven by software, most of which is developed by third party providers who then license content to bingo sites. Numbers are drawn by random number generators, verified by independent testers, to ensure the games are random and fair. Most games are flash or HTML5 based and can be played on both desktop and mobile.
How To Open A Bingo Account
Signing up is easy, you will be asked for your name, address and date of birth. You will need to enter bank/payment details at some point to add funds too. Bingo sites must verify your age and identity by law, before you can withdraw you will need to verify your account. Pick a username that you are happy to have displayed.
How To Buy Bingo Tickets
It is good to start off with a free bingo, or low stakes game to get a feel for how to play. Games can be found in the lobby and are divided by type (90-ball, 75-ball, etc). Once you’ve found a game you can now select how many tickets to buy. Tickets come in strips, usually of 6 each, and you can buy any where from a few pence to tens of pounds worth
How To Mark Off Bingo Numbers
Bingo marking online is done automatically. This ensures that you do not miss out on any numbers drawn, this also makes the games quicker and fairer. Some of the skill element is however removed from the game although with some software providers (e.g. Dragonfish) you can still daub your own numbers if you like.
How Do You Win With Online Bingo
Prize structure vary depending on the game but for all games the main prize pot is allocated to the first ‘full house’, a ticket where all numbers are marked. Smaller prizes are given for a line, multiple lines, etc. (see game guide). Some games have additional jackpots or special prizes for patterns of numbers.
How Do Bingo Jackpots Work
Some games have a fixed jackpots that can be triggered by hitting a chain of events, e.g. perfect draw or sequence. Jackpots can also be progressive, this means the pool builds constantly until a win is triggered, these jackpots can reach the tens, even hundreds of thousands of pounds. You may need to make additional stakes to play.
How To Deposit Into A Bingo Account
All bingo websites will accept card payments and most take bank transfers, eWallets (e.g. PayPal, Neteller and Skrill), along with others. Through high street operators such as Coral and Ladbrokes you could even deposit/withdraw in cash in store. Most minimum deposits are £10, although many are as low as £5.
How To Withdraw Your Winnings
If your have successfully verified your account and your winnings are cash (not bonus funds) you will be able to issue a withdrawal (usually of over £10) in your account section. There is a processing time for the bingo site and a payment processing time, this can be from a few days for a bank card or hours for an eWallet.
Where Can You Play Free Bingo
Most bingo sites offer free bingo some of the time, if not all the time. These games are not just great for trying out games, having fun or chatting, many come with very generous free prizes such as £1000’s in cash, holidays, etc. There are no deposit or stake requirements to play free bingo, our favourite place for free games is Coral.
How To Choose A Bingo Site
Most people choose a bingo site based on the software or games they like. You might also consider if you want to play with a big multi-product operator such as 888 or a more niche bingo only site such as mFortune. It is worth trying out a few sites, using a few of the generous bonuses, to find one that works for you. Consider loyalty rewards too.
How To Claim And Use Welcome Bonuses
Bingo sites offer some of the most generous bonuses available any where (up to 600% free), this is mainly due to lower costs compared to real world bingo. Online players can therefore take advantage of deposit or play matched bonuses usually for depositing just £10. Look out for opt ins or promo codes that may be required.
Existing Customer Bingo Promotions
Sites vary quite a lot on how good they are for existing customers, with some focusing on loyalty products and others on free bingo prizes and free play promotions. Good sites for loyalty points and cash back tend to be the ones with the biggest and most active communities. Expect enhanced rewards for playing at non-peak times.
You do not need to actually sit in front of the screen in order to play online bingo. If you have purchased your tickets prior to the game start time then the game will automatically carry on to completion without you. Some games allow you to buy tickets well in advance letting you play when offline, this is useful for jackpot and prize games.
Bingo is one of the most social forms of gaming. Every game has a window allowing you to chat with fellow players, some operators even have webcam feeds and chat hosts (these can be turned off). Bingo communities are huge and many people meet in bingo rooms at designated times. Online bingo has its own shorthand chat terms, e.g 1TG (one to go).
Benefits of Online Bingo
Online bingo isn’t necessarily a replacement for bingo halls, but it certainly has many advantages for bingo lovers. Games can be played for free, or for fairly low stakes 24 hours a day, all year round. Bingo can also be played on the move, automatically and you can try a huge variety of games. Bonuses are generous and you’ll never miss a number.
Only Play With Licensed Sites
Bingo is a form of gambling and so it is regulated, in the UK, by the Gambling Commission. These licenses are there to protect both the customer and the operator from fraud, theft or money laundering. Licenses also ensure bingo sites protect funds, promote responsible gambling and take complaints seriously. All sites listed here are licensed.
Bingo Jackpots: How They Work
The lure of bingo for many is the chance to win the jackpot. Most bingo games will have a jackpot as a possible prize. Jackpots can take different forms. There is a fixed jackpot, a progressive jackpot and a community jackpot. All of these types of jackpots have something in common. You must get a full house in a pre-determined, or fixed number of calls (or less) or there will be a count down timer that indicates when a player is going to potentially scoop it up.
The fixed jackpot will be a fixed prize of any amount that could range from £200 to £1000 or even more. It will not increase over time and you either need to win it in a set number of calls or there will be a countdown clock. Never look at the number of calls and think there is no chance of winning, because there absolutely is. If the stars are aligned and you have that perfect bingo ticket and those balls come out in just that right order…It really does happen.
The progressive jackpot gets bigger and bigger until it is won. These can be mega sums of money. Life changing for some. The same applies as with a fixed jackpot; it can only be won within a certain number of calls. The progressive jackpot grows as it takes a percentage of players ticket price each time tickets are purchased.
A community jackpot is when the whole jackpot is shared between the winner and the rest of the players. The winner that triggered it might take 50% and the other 50% shared with the rest of the players. Depending on the number of players depends on how much you get. You could end up with a share total of 16p or £160.
Always look at the information button for each game – this is often at the top of the screen, next to the number of players and the balls being called. It will tell you all the details of the jackpot available including when it was last won.
Unusual Bingo Game Variations
We are all familiar with 75, 80 and 90 ball bingo. These games are available everywhere and in vast quantities. They need no introduction or explanation here. What a lot of sites have been doing over the last year or so is introducing different variants of bingo, often listed as special bingo. These are bingo games that do not always follow those same rules as 75, 80 and 90 ball bingo, but use the same overarching bingo rule principles.
There are a lot of games offered across the networks that have an add on feature game once the regular bingo has been called or completed. Age Of Gods Bingo and Snakes and Ladders are firm favourites. Age Of Gods offers a random opportunity for the winner of the full house to play a mini game to select a god icon. Each god icon having a different prize, often shared across the player community. Snakes and Ladders is slightly different, as once full house is called, all the players that have one number left to go on their card are entered into a draw for a share of more prizes depending on how far on the snakes and ladders board game the winner gets.
These additional features certainly extend the game play time, they give additional prize opportunities, albeit often pence figures, and provide further entertainment; you get more for your face value ticket price.
Lots of operators use icons or pictures instead of numbers. For example, Housey uses playing cards. As each card is called, a poker chip is placed on it. Another game called Emoji Bingo uses emoji symbols; instead of number balls being called, different emoji balls are called.
Cash Cubes is different again, using a multi-stake approach instead of players choosing the number of tickets they want to buy. Every player has four cubes to complete, each side with a number on. Once a cube has been completed it is moved from the in-play card. You need to complete all four cubes to win. After each game, the total number of cubes you completed is added to a running total. Once you reach 50 cubes in your running total you can win further prizes. This game continues every time you choose to play Cash Cubes. Offering type of player retention mini bonus.
Bingo Millions uses a great prize rule. It is a 75-ball game with 5 prizes available (one to four lines and a full house). Depending on the number of balls called to complete a line, this will determine how much you win. For example, you might win two lines and because you completed two lines in between 21 and 25 calls, you win £25. Or, if you win two lines but it has taken 41-45 balls to complete them, you will only win 50p. If you get a full house in between 25 and 42 ball calls you are in for a million-pound win.
The Best Time To Play Online Bingo.
The Best time to play really does depend on the type of bingo player that you are. Online bingo has its peak busy times and quieter times. This very much mirrors people’s typical daily routines and working patterns. Online bingo is at is busiest during the evenings between 8pm and 10pm. It also gets busy around lunch time. However, you will always see a constant flow of players throughout the day, with some games busier than others.
If you like to play bingo because you want a chance to take that big prize pot, then these higher prize pot games are held during the prime-time evening slots. For example, popular sites will have £800 plus prize games available on a Friday night. This really is the case for all bingo websites.
There are the jackpot games that run throughout the day, these are linked to the number of balls called to get a full house. Having just checked a popular site, there is a current jackpot available of a colossal £28,000 on a 90-ball game. However, you must get a full house in 36 or less calls. Often a full house coverage sits at around 54-64 ball calls for 90 ball bingo. You really must have luck on your side to get these jackpots. Playing primarily to win these jackpots is not always going to give you returns. But, it is possible if you have that lucky ticket and somebody will one day win it.
You might simply enjoy the thrill of a win, no matter the size, then in which case, dip in whenever you fancy it at any time of the day or night. There is so much to choose from across many networks. Some games give you three chances of winning: one line, two lines and a full house. Others will give you a share of a prize pot if you only have one ball left to go when another player wins a full house.
As there are games that run 24 hours a day and with the option of pre buying, you can even pre buy tickets for games taking place during the night, whilst you are asleep. These times are always quieter therefore your chances of winning increase because there are fewer tickets purchased at these quiet times. Although, the bingo operator is always going to ensure they will not lose out overall. They adjust the house edge at these times; the prize pot will inevitable be smaller and for it to increase drastically, there would need to be a lot more ticket sales.
Another reason for it being so quiet in the middle of the night is because bingo players mostly love to watch the game play out instead of logging in when they wake up in the morning to see what you have won. You do not get quite the same thrill that way.
How Many Bingo Tickets Should I Buy?
This really is a conundrum lots of players face. Always check the cost of each ticket. They range from a penny a pop to £1-£3 per ticket. Also, there are different maximum quantities you can purchase per game.
Ultimately you only buy the number of tickets that equals the total money that you are happy to lose.
If you are playing in a 1p game and there are 360 maximum tickets you can purchase, the odds of winning if you only purchase one, 1p ticket are inevitably going to be different (worse) than if you spend £3.60 on the maximum number of tickets.
You have no way of knowing how many tickets other players have purchased for each game, only the number of physical participants.
Ultimately, you want to purchase more tickets than anyone else to increases your chances.
If this proves to be a bit of a headache for you, then consider playing games where everyone has the same number of tickets, or you wager different amounts just on one ticket.
Best Odds Bob which can be found at Mecca Bingo is the crème de la crème when it comes to ensuring all players have an even chance of winning. There are only ever 25 players at a time, every player must buy the same number of tickets for the same ticket price, for example 10 tickets that cost 5p each. This means everyone has paid 50p to play that game. If there are more than 25 people wanting to play, another room is opened.
Other sites offer similar equal standing games, such as Evens Stevens at Bucky Bingo. These games are always popular for the main reason that you know everyone has the same chance. Somehow its easier to celebrate the winners here than in the regular games.
Mecca also offer Burst Bingo and Emoji Bingo. As mentioned before, players only have one ticket (or set of numbers or icons (in the case of the Emoji Bingo). You decide how much you want to stake on that ticket. You can stake from 25p to £3 and the prize pot increases depending on the amount you stake. It is totally different to typical bingo, some players suggesting it is more like a lottery. But it will fit the bill if you like to know you have an even chance. The more you stake, the bigger the prize if all of your numbers or icons are called first.
Playing Bingo With Bonus Money
When you sign up with a bingo website, you are inevitably going to be offered some form of bonus funds. Also, as you play more and more with a bingo website, there will be bonus games and spins offered to you, when you deposit more money.
It is important to always check your account balance as there will be two balances; one which is your cash balance (real money) and the other being the bonus balance (not real money).
Bonus balances always have to be wagered a number of times before the funds become real money.
Wagering requirements apply the same principle across all sites. Lots of sites expect four times or more wagering requirements. Often those sites that seem to be very generous with free tickets, bonus spins and bonus money have much higher wagering requirements than those without the frequent promotions. Some sites have been known to offer bonus money which requires 100 times wagering.
Always check if you are playing with bonus balance money. Another important tip is that if you get some bonus funds, the bingo website is more than likely going to eat into your cash balance before they start on your bonus balance. So, watch out and beware.
Do All Bingo Sites Have Their Own Games?
No, they don’t. As we know, there are tons and tons of amazing bingo sites, however a lot of these sites can share the same bingo games. For instance, you could be playing a bingo game called Top Pots on the ‘Happy Bingo’ website and Top Pots could also be on the ‘Bingolicious’ website. You might only see 100 players on the site you are on playing Top Pots, but there are actually many more players playing that very same game elsewhere.
The actual bingo games in many cases are owned by a different company to the site that you are playing the game on, who are the ones that hold the gambling license. There are companies that create the games, and they lease the games to the bingo website, or the bingo website runs its games off a network.
There are a few bingo operators that are totally independent, they create and run their own games, rather than buying in games from bingo software providers.
Is Bingo Gambling?
Put simply, yes bingo is gambling. In the UK bingo operators and games providers are licensed and regulated by the UKGC and must adhere to the same rules and laws.
You should take responsible gambling as seriously with bingo as with any other real-money online game. People can lose money and can become addicted to bingo.
Bingo generally is a low stakes game and is often seen as more innocent form of gambling, indeed the church are known to run bingo nights, for example. This does not mean it is without risk, though, and players who do not know when to stop can suffer harm.
If your main motivation is to play bingo then try to avoid playing casino games, slots and side games. Operators push players towards these as they are frankly more profitable for them. Most bingo players that lose more than they want to often do so playing slots and side-games.
Set your limits. Only play with what you are prepared to lose and can afford to lose. Remember these operators would not run online bingo if they did not make a profit.
What Is a Random Number Generator?
This is the software that licensed online bingo operators must use to call the balls for each bingo game. Often referred to as the RNG.
The software generates random numbers that cannot be predicted. It uses a complicated computer algorithm, known as the ‘MD5’ to generate results that can have many different outcomes.
Online bingo operators use a Pseudorandom Number Generator. Without having to refresh A level maths knowledge, basically the RNG has number seeds that are calculated in different ways either by adding, subtracting multiplying etc. It is a calculator essentially that you cannot cheat or predict.
This means RNGs are robust. You cannot cheat them and under the gambling commission, each bingo operator has to appoint a third party to regulate and check the accuracy of the RNG software they choose to use.
Making The Most Of Bingo Chat Rooms
Most online bingo sites have chat rooms attached to each bingo room. You set up a ‘chat name’ and you have a chat with fellow players. Or if that is not your bag, you simply stay quiet and minimise the chat box.
A lot of the bigger operators employ chat room hosts who are people that monitor what happens in the rooms, including what is being said and ensuring that the chat room rules are being followed. They work to ensure the chat room is a fun, safe and kind environment.
Some of the small brands often combine all of the bingo rooms into one chat room. This can sometimes be a but off putting, especially when people type into the chat box a number that they need to win a full house on their game, but that number was already called on your game. That can be a bit annoying.
Some players like to have the odd moan in the chat room when luck does not go their way, but these are often few and far between. Or they are promptly shushed by the host and reminded that its not fixed and to remember to put their lucky socks on next time they play.
If you are the type of player that plays the same bingo room at the same time you will most certainly get to know fellow players on the same bingo schedule. That’s when you start to feel there really is such a thing as an online bingo community.
Chat hosts are of course employed to be nice and chatty, so don’t be afraid to engage with them. You can have all sorts of conversations whilst the bingo game plays out. From recommendations of cars and suggested recipes for a nice dinner through to discussing current television shows or which cheese is the vilest; you are sure to enjoy a bit of banter and pick up some life tips as well.
Would Playing Online Bingo Affect My Benefits?
It all depends on the type of benefits you are in receipt of.
Most benefits are means tested. This means that the amount of capital, or money in your bank, is taken into consideration when benefits are provided.
Housing Benefit: As long as you do not exceed £16000 capital, you can still receive housing benefits. However, once you have capital above £6000, then the benefit amount will be reduced.
Income Support: If you are playing online bingo regularly and you are regularly withdrawing to a bank account, this would present as a regular income pattern. This would affect Income Support and as with Housing benefit, once you get to the £6000 threshold, the amount of income support would decrease. If you had one big win, which did not put you over £6000 then income support would not be affected.
Other means tested benefits that could be affected by big or regular wins on bingo (gambling) are Pension Credit, Job Seekers Allowance, Child Tax credits and Working Tax Credits, to name but a few.
There are non-means tested benefits that would never be affected as a result of regular winnings or one big bingo win. These are disability benefits, maternity leave, and paternity leave.
To summarise, means tested benefits would be affected by bingo winnings and non-means tested benefits would not be affected by bingo winnings.
Live Presenter Bingo: Is It Like Going To a Bingo Hall?
Online bingo, at the time of writing, is still focussed on delivering game entertainment through computer generated graphics.
Rarely do you see online bingo games with a live presenter. Some operators do have a video feed of the chat room host, but they still use the computerised random number generator in place of the traditional balls being blown about in a dome and read by an actual person.
There are some online bingo style games, which do have live presenters, but they are still far away from that experience that you get from visiting the bingo hall.