Online Bingo: Fixed or Fair?
Article published on March 14, 2017 10:42am
by BingoPort Reviewer
It’s a question every bingo player
wants needs to know the answer to. We spend time and money on bingo sites, entrust them with our personal details and payment information, and expect rewards in return for our loyalty to them.
But how do we know if we can really trust them?
People are quick to pick up on sites that don’t seem fair. You may have heard the age-old complaints: ‘the same people win all the time’; ‘this site never pays out’, ‘they’re just after your money’. Comments like these—which are often found on forums or the comments sections on reviews—imply that bingo sites are fixed.
But is that really the case? And if not, why can sites sometimes appear to be unfair?
We’re here to talk you through the answers.
How do we know if a bingo site is fair?
Thankfully, here in the UK, bingo sites are subjected to some of the strictest rules and regulations in the world. These requirements are designed to reassure us that the sites we play on are fair and trustworthy—and help us spot any fraudulent site easily.
Legality: Licensing and Regulation
The Gambling Act 2005 states that every bingo site offering its services to UK players must be licensed. If the site is based in the UK, this is done by the Gambling Commission; those operating from elsewhere are licensed by a carefully selected other ‘whitelisted’ gambling jurisdictions.
It’s not easy to be granted an online bingo licence that will allow a site to accept UK players. The site is thoroughly checked out—this includes looking at its software to make sure that games are fair, that there are checks in place to make sure players are of age (18+), and that all information you submit to the site is protected.
By law, bingo sites must display their licensing information—on legitimate sites, you’ll be able to find this on their homepage, normally right down at the bottom.
The Gambling Commission also regulates bingo in the UK, meaning they keep a regular check on sites to make sure they are following the rules.
How are bingo balls picked?
Traditionally, bingo halls use real bingo balls, pulled out of a cage, and announced by a bingo caller. But in the digital world of online bingo, things works a little differently.
Bingo sites now use Random Number Generators (RNGs) to pick bingo numbers. These rely on algorithms to assure players that they’re getting fair odds.
For extra peace of mind, the software is checked for credibility time and again. Results have to be proven to be ‘random’—otherwise the site would have their licence revoked.
Not fixed… but still unfair?
Okay, so hopefully it’s now clear that legitimate online bingo sites are not rigged. So why do some people still claim that they’re unfair?
Many such complaints come from players who have encountered difficulties when attempting to withdraw funds. But, rather than indicating that a bingo site is fixed, their grumbles are far more likely to be the result of:
- A failure to meet wagering requirements
- The hassle of proving identity
- A genuine losing streak
Understanding wagering requirements
Bingo sites offer many bonuses and promotions, but in order to withdraw any winnings, you must meet certain criteria. For instance, site rules often dictate that you must have spent a certain amount within a specific period of time.
Failure to meet these conditions is frustrating, but bingo sites will always publish a full list of their terms and conditions on site. It must be remembered that it is the player’s responsibility to read them. If the requirements attached to a promotion are too high for you to meet, you may want to consider opting-out of the deal: few players know that this is an option offered by many sites.
Because understanding the small print can be confusing, we’ve put together this super simple guide to wagering requirements to help you.
So, when people say that a site is unfair, what they may really mean is that that the site has tough withdrawal policies.
Another cause for complaint is when withdrawals get held up because the bingo site asks the player to prove their identity.
This can be frustrating, but these checks are necessary: they’re part of the bingo site’s legal duty to help prevent fraudulent activity on sites. The aim is to protect you as well as themselves.
Think of it like this. Providing your ID is like a red traffic light. When you’re in a hurry, it seems like the most annoying thing in the world. But consider the consequences of the red light not existing. There would be crashes and catastrophes. The roads would be chaos.
In the same way, ID requirements are a minor inconvenience when you look at the bigger picture. They should, at the very least, reassure you that the site has measures in place to safeguard against underage players and identity theft.
You’re not always going to win
Time and again we’ve heard players moaning that they’ve ‘deposited X amount, and have only won a few small games’.
That might well be the case, but think of it this way: you wouldn’t buy a national lottery ticket and expect to win. Sure, you might dream about what you’d do with the money, but no reasonable person would be surprised to find that their numbers don’t match the winning digits. (See more about whether the lottery is worth playing here.)
Online bingo is played on a smaller scale, and so the odds of winning are considerably higher. But the same principle applies: bingo might be a soft form of gambling, but it’s still gambling.
Once you accept this premise, you’ll start enjoying your bingo games a lot more. For every winner, there are, inevitably, several losers. But surely this is part of the appeal of bingo? The unpredictability, the excitement—that’s what makes the game so fun.
What you’ll soon discover is that boosting your bank balance is just one of many reasons to play online; there are social perks, and even health benefits to playing bingo.
And what about those people who always seem to win? It might well be that they have a bigger bingo budget than you, and have been able to buy up more tickets to more games. The likelihood is that they've had to deposit a lot more, just to increase their chances of winning. But there's no need to bust your own spending limits to compete with them. Rather than complaining, why not look for a bingo room that limits the amount of tickets that can be bought by any one player?
Make up your own mind
Because there are such varied reasons as to why someone might complain about a bingo site, it’s always best to decide for yourself if a site is worth your custom.
At BingoPort, we’ve done a lot of the hard work for you. We regularly update our reviews to offer the most up-to-date information about different sites. The majority are licensed to accept players from the UK; any sites that don’t are clearly marked.
These sites have had to prove that they're fair, unbiased and trustworthy. They all have different wagering requirements, different bingo rooms and different withdrawal policies. The trick is finding one with terms that suit you.
Not sure which review to start with? Take our quiz to find out which bingo site you should be playing on.
We’ve put together a checklist of our top tips to getting the maximum benefit and enjoyment out of online bingo, as well as making sure you’re playing on a safe, legitimate site.
- Read the BingoPort review of the site
- Check that the site is licensed (see its homepage)
- Think about the reasons behind any complaints
- Find out wagering requirements before committing your money to the site
- Consider opting out of any promotions with unreasonable terms and conditions
- Don't be tempted to compete with high spenders
- Check out rooms that limit the amount of tickets that can be bought by any one player
- Accept that there are good and bad days in bingo—and that there are multiple benefits to playing the game