How to Play Online Bingo
Whether you’re a brand-new player looking to learn, or a dab hand hoping for a refresher, this is BingoPort’s ultimate guide on how to play online bingo! This guide will take you through the basics of online bingo, help you choose a site you’ll love, and make sure you know how to win once you start playing.
BingoPort take responsible gambling seriously, so as well as helping you have a great time, we also want to make sure you’re fully clued up on how to play it safe and get help if you need it.
Before you join…
What is online bingo?
You’ve probably heard of bingo; players have cards with numbers on, and a caller will shout out randomly selected numbers at the front of the room. Players mark off the numbers on their cards as they are called, and the first to match a winning pattern shouts “bingo” to win a prize.
Online bingo is a way of playing bingo from your own home without having to change out of your pyjamas! You can sign up to an online bingo site in just a few minutes (you can pick one from our online bingo directory), make a deposit, and start playing bingo before the TV advert break is even over.
It’s quick, convenient, and social, all from the comfort of your home if you choose, and with just about all bingo sites being mobile adaptable now, you can play on the go too.
How is online bingo different to a bingo hall?
Online bingo sites have a lot in common with regular bingo hall games. For both, you must be 18+ to play. You still purchase cards, and random numbers are still called and marked off your cards to get a win. However, the main difference is that online bingo is much easier. Here are some of the biggest differences between online and hall bingo:
- Your numbers are marked automatically. You don’t have to scramble checking all your cards for the right number; just sit back and relax as the computer daubs your cards and rearranges them to show you which of your cards are closest to a win.
- You won’t be beaten to ‘bingo’. If you’ve got all the right numbers, the system will recognise this and you’ll have ‘bingo’. No need to stand up and shout, and you won’t be beaten to the post by another player.
- Play in your dressing gown, or whatever you like, really. You can log into online bingo wherever you are, so no need to wriggle into jeans when you could just chill in your comfies with a cuppa.
- Chat can continue during the game. Try talking during the game in a bingo hall, and see the dirty looks you’ll get. Online, you can natter away in the online chat without disturbing the game in the slightest. You can even play chat games to win treats while the numbers are being called!
- Meet people from all over. In a local bingo hall, it’s likely to be people from your town playing. Online, you can make friends from all over the UK! Share some bingo fun with new friends from Cornwall to the Shetlands, and from Londonderry to Southend.
Are there slot games on online bingo sites?
One of the best things about online bingo sites is the variety of games you’ll get. Not only will you be able to pick from a number of different bingo rooms, just about every bingo site has a slots catalogue to go with it. That means you often have the choice of hundreds of slot games to enjoy in between rounds of bingo, and many slots can even be played as side games while you’re in the bingo room!
Forget picking from one or two clunky old fruities down the local pub; online slots are slick, sophisticated, and there are thousands out there to pick from. Find slots based on your favourite TV shows, singers, and movies, as well as slots with tonnes of special features and bonus rounds. You might even find yourself converted from a bingo fanatic to a slots lover!
Of course, if slots are your favourite, you might prefer to play on a slots site instead.
How do I choose an online bingo site?
Choosing an online bingo site is a big deal! You want to make sure you pick somewhere safe and fun, with a great selection of games, as well as super customer service. Picking an online bingo site to join should be exciting, and BingoPort helps take the stress and legwork out of your decision.
Using BingoPort to compare bingo sites means that you can easily see all of the information you’ll need to make your decision. When choosing a new bingo site, you should consider:
- The welcome offer. When you sign up, what will the site offer you? Is there a no-deposit bonus? Some sites will even cover two or three deposits with their welcome package.
- The banking options. Some bingo sites will accept lots of different payment options like PayPal and Neteller, but others will only accept the basics. It’s also worth looking at the minimum deposit and withdrawal amounts; if you like to deposit £5 a week, a site with a minimum deposit amount of £20 isn’t going to be much good for you.
- The games selection. Does the site carry your favourite slots? How many bingo variants does it have? Make sure to see when bingo rooms are open, and how much the tickets cost.
- Ongoing promotions. After the initial welcome package, are there offers to keep players interested? Sites may offer bonuses, competitions, and tournaments with prizes to be won. Is there a loyalty scheme? See if it rewards you from your first deposit, or if it’s more for VIP players.
How do I register to join a bingo site?
Once you’ve found a bingo site you love, it’s time to sign up! You’ll need to enter your personal details, like your name, date of birth, and address. It’s important to put the correct details, as they’ll be used to confirm your identity for security checks.
The site will then ask for your email address and phone number. You’ll need to enter these, but don’t worry- you’ll be able to choose if you want to receive emails, SMS messages, post, or phone calls.
Now comes the fun part- choose a username! You probably won’t be able to change this later, so pick something you’re sure you like, and make sure you’ll remember it.
Sites often recommend that you don’t include things like your pets’ names or your birthday, as these are often used in your passwords. And it goes without saying, but… don’t pick something rude! It will be banned from the chat and your account may be blocked.
Once you’re all done, you’ll be signed up and ready to explore your new home!
Now that you’re a member…
What is a bingo bonus?
A bingo bonus is something that you may be offered when you register, or as part of your first deposit welcome bonus. Think of it as like in-site money; you can’t withdraw it, but you can use it to play with. There is a way to make bonus turn into cash- each bonus comes with a wagering requirement.
A wagering requirement tells you how much you must bet in order for your bonus to convert to cash. It will be written like “10x”, and this means that your wagering requirement is 10 times the bonus amount. To learn about wagering requirements in a simple, easy breakdown, take a look at our Ultimate Wagering Requirements Guide.
Not all sites offer bingo bonus. If you don’t like the sound of wagering requirements and would prefer just to play with cash, choose a cash-only bingo site.
How does a bingo game work online?
When you play bingo online, you’ll usually start in a bingo lobby. This shows you all the bingo rooms that are available, and usually you’ll find the slot games here too. Have a browse of the bingo rooms and see if there’s one you like. When picking a game, consider:
- The ticket price
- The jackpot amount
- How long until the game plays
- If you need to meet an entry requirement to access the room
Once you’ve picked a room, go into it and buy your tickets. Unless it’s a free game, you will need to have deposited to do this. Select the number of tickets you’d like, and double check the total price. Once your tickets are bought, you’re ready to play!
You don’t have to be in the room once your tickets are purchased, but it’s fun to join in the game and watch the numbers. When the game starts, the numbers will flash up one at a time, and your tickets will be marked off automatically.
While you watch the numbers, why not chat to your fellow roomies? You could have a laugh, make a new friend, or if there’s a Chat Host on duty, you might be able to join in a game and win a prize.
If a player matches a winning combination, which could be a line, a pattern, or a full house, your screen will flash up telling you that bingo has been called, and you’ll see the winner’s name. Fingers crossed it’s your name you see!
Why are there different numbers next to the bingo games?
You may see the numbers ‘90’, ‘75’, ‘80’, or ‘30’ on bingo rooms. This tells you how many balls are in play, and what kind of bingo game is running. 90-ball bingo is the classic UK version, whereas 75-ball is more popular in America.
In 90-ball bingo, players buy their tickets in strips. Each strip will have six tickets on, and these six tickets have 15 numbers on each, covering all 90 numbers in total. Players can win a prize for being the first to cover one line, two lines, or the full house (every number on a single ticket).
In 75-ball bingo, each ticket is a 5x5 grid, and every number is filled in except the blank middle space. Unlike 90-ball bingo, you may not just be playing for a straightforward line in 75-ball. Depending on the game, you may need to cover a pattern or shape, and there may be a prize for a coverall (every number).
5-Line Bingo, sometimes called Swedish Bingo, is becoming more and more popular too. It plays with 75 balls, but it’s a little different from classic 75-ball bingo. In 5-line bingo, there are 5 prizes available. These go to the first players to cover one, two three, four, and all five lines horizontally. With five prizes, there are even more chances to win in each game.
There are even more bingo variants out there, including 80-ball, 30-ball, and a version played with 52 playing cards.
What is online bingo chat?
When playing in an online bingo room, one of the greatest things about it is the online chat! You’ll get to meet people from all over the UK, and you can even keep chatting while the game runs, unlike in a bingo hall. Here are some key things about online bingo chat:
- Learn the lingo. Bingo chat may seem intimidating at first, with abbreviations like 1TG, TTYL, and WDW thrown around, but you’ll soon pick it up.
- Join in the games. Chat Hosts will often run mini-games in the bingo chat, where you could win free spins or loyalty points. Have a read of the rules, then jump right in!
- Be nice. Everyone is there to have a good time, and it’s much more fun when everyone gets along. Be gracious if you win and congratulate the winner if you don’t- it’s only polite!
- Be safe. Although most roomies are absolutely lovely, you never know who is at the other end of a chat conversation online. Don’t give out your personal details, and be cautious of anyone who might be fishing for your passwords by asking things like your pet’s name, children’s names, or date of birth.
Are there special rules for online bingo?
There are etiquette guidelines when you play in a bingo hall- don’t false call, stay quiet while the numbers are read, and so on- and online bingo has its own manners attached. While you can make as much noise as you like (especially if you win!), here are some things to bear in mind:
- Don’t speak IN CAPS. Most CMs (Chat Moderators) will write in capitals to distinguish their messages from other players’, so you should avoid talking in all caps. Plus, it sounds a bit shouty to read, DON’T YOU THINK?
- Congratulate the winner. It’s easy to be disappointed if it’s not your lucky day, but nothing kills the mood in a bingo room faster than a sourpuss. Try not to moan that you haven’t won, or that the same player has won twice; instead, send a nice little “WDW” (well done winner) to congratulate the lucky player.
- Be gracious in victory. It’s happened at last- your numbers came up and you’ve got bingo! Whoopie! While you’ve got every right to celebrate, make sure to do so graciously; for you to win, others had to lose, and no one wants that rubbing in their face. Be excited, rather than smug, and you’ll find that others celebrate with you!
- Defer to the Chat Host. In the bingo chat, the Chat Host (or Chat Moderator) is king. They’re employees, and their job is to make sure that everyone has a great time. To do that, they sometimes need to moderate the chat or make a final decision, and it’s a tough job! Listen to what the Chat Host has to say; it’ll make for a much better bingo experience.
Eyes on the prize…
How do I win online bingo?
Depending on what bingo variant you are playing, there are a number of ways you could win online bingo. There are often prizes for the first player to reach one line, two lines, or more, as well as the jackpot for being the first to a full house, of course. In some bingo variants, players must cover a particular pattern to win.
For your best chance to win, play in a quieter bingo room, where there are fewer players competing for the prize. Games like 5-line bingo have five winners every game, whereas some bingo games only have one or two, so playing 5-line bingo increases your chance of being a winner. Some sites also offer special promotional games where every player with a ticket will win a share of the jackpot.
Can I win cash playing online bingo?
It’s definitely possible to win cash playing online bingo. If you’re after cash winnings, there are a number of things you can do:
- Play at a cash-only site to avoid wagering. Playing at a no-wagering site means that you’ll never be messing around with bonus. Anything you win will be cash, including winnings from free spins and free bingo.
- Play savvy. If you’re specifically after a win, play in a quieter room, avoid peak times, or play in an everyone-wins game.
Even if you follow these tips, it’s important to remember that bingo is a game of luck, and not a sure way to make money. Don’t forget to have fun in amongst that hungering for jackpots!
Can I get freebies or play online bingo for free?
There are tonnes of bingo freebies out there, if you know where to look. If it’s free play you’re after, there are a few things to keep an eye out for.
- Free Bingo. This is a bingo room where the tickets don’t cost anything to buy. You may still need to make a deposit to unlock access to a free bingo room.
- No Deposit Bingo. This will be a free bingo room that you can access without having to make any deposit at all. Some sites offer this permanently, while others will give limited access to new players.
- Free Bingo Tickets. You could get free bingo tickets as part of a deposit code, for example “Get 10 Free Bingo Tickets when you deposit £10”. These will be tickets for a specific bingo room that you can claim and activate to join the game without having to buy tickets.
- Bingo Bonus. This may be given as a no-deposit bonus when you sign up, or as part of a deposit code, for example “Deposit £10 and get 50% Bingo Bonus”. This bonus can be used to buy bingo tickets without spending your own money on them.
Can I get rewards for playing bingo?
Getting rewarded just for playing your favourite bingo games is one of the best things about online bingo! Many sites offer some sort of loyalty scheme, but the best way to guarantee yourself some seriously good rewards is to sign up to a site through BingoPort!
BingoPort costs nothing to join, and you earn rewards when you sign up and play on any of our participating sites! Here’s your simple steps to rewards:
- Sign up to BingoPort and browse the great offers at hundreds of bingo and slot sites
- Pick a site you like the look of, and see how many Port Points you can get for joining
- Click through from BingoPort’s review page to sign up to your new site
- Make your first deposit and wager it through one time
- Your BingoPort account will be credited with your Port Points as a reward!
Staying safe while playing…
How do I know if an online bingo site is safe?
There are hundreds of online bingo sites out there, and unfortunately, some of them are less than genuine. But how do you tell which sites are safe to play at, and which are scams? BingoPort has some advice:
- Check the licensing. Bingo sites must be licensed by the UK Gambling Commission to operate in the UK or accept UK players. The UKGC logo and licence number should be at the bottom of a site’s homepage.
- Check for the padlock. When playing on a PC, you should be able to see a padlock symbol in the web address bar. This means that the site is using proper encryption technology to protect your data.
- Go through BingoPort. BingoPort don’t partner with any site for our rewards programme unless we trust and recommend them. If there’s a site we don’t recommend, for any reason, we’ll tell you so at the top of their review page.
What is problem gambling?
Gambling should be a fun, enjoyable activity, and for many people, it is simply a nice pastime. However, for some people, the urge to gamble becomes uncontrollable, and they become addicted to gambling. Gambling addiction is finally getting the recognition it deserves as a serious issue, and those affected are getting better and better access to support, treatment, and care.
For BingoPort, maintaining responsible gambling is a serious priority, and we want to make sure all of our players are safe and happy. That means encouraging players to only gamble responsibly, and providing directions to help and support should they need it.
Read more about BingoPort’s commitment to responsible gambling here.
What help is in place to ensure responsible gambling?
Online bingo sites have a lot of responsibility when it comes to keeping their players safe. They will have procedures in place for recognising and preventing problem gambling, as well as tools that players can use to stay safe and get help if needed. Familiarise yourself with the tools available:
- Time Out/Take a Break. This is when you ask a site to block your access to your account for a short period of time, like 24 or 48 hours. This can be useful to cool down after an exciting win or a long play, to make sure you don’t get overenthusiastic and gamble more than you want to.
- Reality Check. You can set a reality check to pop up every so often and just give you a little nudge. This is great for making sure you don’t get lost in a “gambling headspace”, and to make sure you’re aware of the time you’ve spent playing.
- Deposit Limits. You can set limits on your account that only allow you to deposit up to a certain amount each day or week. This is a great way to keep track of your spend and manage your budget better.
- Opt Out of Marketing. If you don’t like being contacted with offers and promotions for your bingo site, opt out of any or all marketing channels like email or SMS in your account settings.
- Self-Exclusion. If you feel that you may be developing a gambling problem, you can request self-exclusion. This will lock you out of your account, and is available on a long-term basis (e.g. six months or a year) or a permanent basis (forever). This is not reversable, and once it is in place, you will not be able to ask for it lifted or changed until the self-exclusion you requested has been completed.
Now that you’ve had your crash course in how to play online bingo, you’re all set and ready to go! Choose a brand-new bingo site to fall in love with by using BingoPort’s helpful recommendations, and start earning rewards!