So, you know your garden gate from your Christmas cake, and you’re up to tricks as you clickety-click? Do you also prefer to engage with this impenetrable terminology from the comfort of your own home? Us too. Because although bingo has been reinvented for a new generation, with all the revelry and raucousness that comes with it, sometimes you just want to enjoy this classic game from the peace and comfort of your sofa. If that’s you, then read on; our 5 IDEAL things to look out for when choosing a bingo site.

SECURITY

First, foremost and above all else, when spending time on a website who will want to know your card details, it’s an absolute necessity to consider security. There are a few ways to cross check that your chosen site meets the required levels of safety. Firstly, any reputable online casino or bingo site must be fully licensed by the UK Gambling Commision (this will be clear from their logo appearing at the bottom of the homepage). The bingo website’s association with other accrediting bodies will also be found here; look for BeGambleAware and the International Betting Integrity Association, particularly. 

You should also seek reassurance from customer service (a helpful, functioning one is another positive sign) that all modern encryption technology is applied to their transactions. Finally, as with all website engagement, the padlock icon to the left of the URL bar should be displayed, confirming a safe and secure domain.

PAYMENT METHODS

You should also look out for the variety of payment methods available on a bingo site. Although simple debit and credit card transactions work for most, some prefer an added layer of security, in the form of pre-paid cards or e-Wallet platforms such as PayPal. Check if the bingo site you’re intending to use offers this level of variety. It’s also important to note how long funds take to clear, both in the depositing and withdrawal stages; a cursory check of the website’s FAQs should provide the answer (the norm is for a deposit to be immediate, but a withdrawal could take up to five days).

SPECIAL OFFERS & BONUSES

Bingo sites want to lure you in, that’s for sure, and there’s a high level of competitiveness between each one to secure your loyal custom. To first gain your patronage, special offers and free bets will be offered, usually in the form of an added percentage of your first deposit on the house. Compare these online to find the most generous. Equally importantly, though, are the bonuses each bingo site will offer you along your journey to retain your custom and avert those wandering eyes. Expect regular free deposit offers such as on your birthday, every Friday or the simple option to have a free game from time to time as a surprise. Again, you should compare the many offers provided by each site to arrive at your preferred option.

MAXIMUM TICKETS PER GAME

One for the connoisseurs rather than those with a passing interest this, but if you plan to win more at online bingo, then you should check the rules and regulations regarding the maximum tickets per game permitted by your potential bingo site. Some will cap the tickets at 10 per player while others will offer unlimited plays per game. This can affect your likelihood of winning (or at least, your annoyance at the same old usernames taking the jackpot time and time again) so it’s something to be aware of.

RESPONSIBLE GAMBLING PROMISE

Finally, as with any other casino site, before signing up to an online bingo platform you should ask of them what their commitment is to responsible gambling. Any website providing this service should provide the opportunity to set daily, weekly or monthly limits on the number of deposits you can make.

Many bingo sites also pledge to send regular ‘reality check’ notifications, which will warn you if you’ve been playing for an extended period of time and prompt you to exit. The option for self-exclusion should also be provided, which means users can voluntarily lock themselves out of a bingo website for a chosen period of time. All of these should be available if you, and the company, value responsible gambling.

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Rachel is the beauty and fashion director at IDEAL. She loves trying new products and is an avid fan of London's fashion, from the high end to the high street.