The UK has had a love affair with bingo for many years, and the game is played in high street bingo halls througout the country every day. In recent years more people are choosing to play online rather than in a traditional bingo hall, resulting in the closure of over 30% of the UK’s 600 bingo venues in the past 10 years.
At the same time online bingo has gone from strength to strength, and there are hundreds of different bingo websites which you can choose to play on. The online bingo revolution, which kicked up a gear after becoming compatible with mobile phones and tablets, has also introduced a new set of players to the game. No longer is bingo solely played by grandmas with blue hair – these days you’re just a likely to find younger players.
So, with all this choice, where do you play? Below you’ll find a guide to what we think are the best bingo sites for UK players*. Here we whittle down the choices to hand select safe, recommended places to play online bingo. If you’re the type of player who likes to move around, then we have a bigger list on our bingo bonuses page.
* For various reasons we’re focussing on the UK in this section. Non-UK players can join some of these sites, but not all. If demand dictates, we’ll expand this to include bingo from other countries, but historically all of the interest we receive is from the UK.
Best Bingo Sites For 2021
How Does Online Bingo Work?
Online bingo has grown in popularity in recent times, with people drawn by the decent prizes that are on offer and the relative cheapness of ticket prices. It’s also become more and more popular because of the ease of play, with very little actual skill involved. The computer does everything for you, up to and including dabbing the numbers so you never miss one. All you need to do is decide how many tickets you’re going to buy and you’re away.
There are different game types, which we’ll look into in more detail shortly, but the principle of each of them is the same. Balls are drawn at random and players are looking to complete a pattern of some sort. In 90-ball bingo, for example, they will need to tick off a line, then two lines and then a full house, with a different prize amount being attached to each outcome. As with many online casino games, the outcome is controlled by an RNG.
The acronym stands for Random Number Generator and is, in simple terms, an algorithm which decides what numbers will be drawn and which ticket will be a winning one. It is basically the computerised equivalent of picking a ball out of a bowl, so is quite similar to real bingo in that regard. As the game goes on, numbers will be ticked off your tickets and you’ll be informed how many you have left to go for a prize. Three to go would be written as ‘3TG’.
Whilst the game itself is controlled by an RNG, it involves real-life players going head-to-head. Many bingo sites are on shared networks, meaning that there will be players from several different sites all in the same room and seeing the same numbers being drawn. That also means that they’re competing for the same prize. You can be on one site, a friend on a different site and you’ll actually both be in the same room.
The Major Bingo Networks
As with everything when it comes to online gaming, there are some networks that are bigger and more trusted than others. This means that more sites will use their services, more players will be in their rooms and their prizes will grow larger over time. Here’s a look at the best-known bingo networks and what each has to offer players:
Established in 1999, Virtue Fusion was one of the earliest bingo sites to launch and operate online. They were amongst the first to realise that online bingo had huge potential, so they developed player friendly software that didn’t involve much in the way of messing around. The company was bought by Playtech, one of the biggest platforms for online gambling, increasing its reach further and seeing its services used by hundreds of sites.
The Dragonfish story is a complex one, largely thanks to the fact that the company is is part of Cassava, which is in turn owned by 888 Holdings plc. The end-to-end gaming solution was launched in 2007, which was around the same time that Cassava launched the 888ladies bingo site. The Dragonfish Bingo Network covers some of the best-known bingo sites in existence, powered by Brigend software for a smooth gaming experience.
Formerly known as Cozy Games, ElectraWorks is the bingo arm of GVC Holdings. The gambling behemoth only kept hold of the most profitable brands, meaning that as the ElectraWorks network grew it did so with only the best sites on board. Some of the best-known bookmakers use the ElectraWorks network for their bingo offering, meaning that only Dragonfish can really compete with the former Cozy Games site.
A relative newcomer to the world of online bingo networks compared to some of the others on this list, Jumpman Gaming have been prolific in their output in order to ensure that it is now one of the biggest around. Dylan Schlosberg was an experienced online bingo player when he formed Jumpman Gaming in 2011, with the businessman realising that there was a market to be exploited. The company also runs 15 Network and Jumpman Slots.
B-Livegaming certainly isn’t as big as the other bingo networks on this list, but what they offer users is a unique bingo experience. Having launched in the Netherlands in 2009, the company entered the United Kingdom in 2011 and offered something that no other company does – face-to-face bingo play thanks to the use of webcams. It adds a social experience to bingo play that chat rooms alone can’t quite manage.
What Games Can I Play?
Knowing all about bingo networks and how only bingo works is all well and good, but the main thing that most people will want to know is what sort of games they can play on online bingo sites. There are, of course, countless different options and the type of game that you can expect to get involved with will depend entirely on which bingo network you decide to use. There are three main things that see games differ from each other. Here’s a look at them:
How Many Balls
The main thing that bingo players will have to decide is what type of game they want to play. There are typically three on offer:
The three different game types offer a variety of playing styles, so it’s worth trying them all to see which one ticks the box for the individual player. Very rarely a site will offer 30-ball bingo, but it doesn’t tend to be any of the big ones so we won’t cover it here. Here’s a closer look at each of those bingo games:
Played on cards that have a 9×3 grid, 90-ball bingo is what most people would consider to be the ‘typical’ game. Your card will have fifteen numbers on it, ranging from 1 to 90 and split into columns that go up numerically. In a 90-ball game of bingo there are typically three prizes on offer. The first will go to the player that marks off all of the numbers on one line quicker than any of the other people taking part in the game.
The next prize, which is typically more valuable than the first, is for two lines. As you’d expect, it’s awarded to the player that marks off all of the numbers on two lines of their card. Finally, the main prize is for the person that is the first to mark off all of the numbers on their card. This is called a Full House and is, arguably, the best known bingo prize. 90-ball bingo is the one that those who have played the game at some point in the past will probably have played.
Sometimes referred to as Coverall Bingo, the 80-ball game has a ticket that will present you with a 4×4 grid of numbers. As you might expect, these will range from 1 to 80 and usually it only has one game on offer. In order to win the game, you’ll need to mark off all of the numbers on your ticket, which is where the name of Coverall Bingo comes from – you need to cover them all in order to be declared the winner.
You will sometimes hear 75-ball bingo being referred to as Pattern Bingo, which is because players will often be asked to mark off a pattern on their bingo card. The cards contain a grid of 5×5 which have numbers on them ranging from 1 to 75. Sometimes it will be Coverall Bingo, but more often than not the prize on offer will go to the player that has marked off a pattern. This could be a single line, a Christmas tree or all four corners of the card, for example.
Everyone will have their own favourite type of game to play when it comes to bingo, but if the type of game isn’t the deciding factor when it comes to figuring out what you want to play then perhaps the jackpot on offer will be. Jackpots are played for in addition to the prize games and usually are only triggered if certain criteria is met. In the vast majority of games, this will be if House arrives within a given number of calls.
Because jackpots are usually progressive, meaning that they increase in size with every passing game, they can reach quite high numbers and are quite tricky to trigger. Imagine you’re playing a 90-ball game where the jackpot amount is £500,000, say. In order to win the jackpot, you’ll have to have House within 30 calls, for argument’s sake. If you get House within 31 calls then there’s no jackpot and you just win the standard prize.
Different bingo games will, of course, have their own rules for triggering the jackpot. They’ll also have their own jackpots, unless the games are networked and therefore the same jackpot is available on several different games that are run by numerous different operators. It’s unsurprising that the biggest jackpots will attract the largest number of players, thereby further limiting your chance of winning the prize.
As the years have progressed and online bingo has become more popular, so too have game-makers wanted to make what they offer more interesting. Oftentimes this will involve some sort of licensed game, with the bingo being linked to it in some way or another. The perfect example is Deal Or No Deal bingo, which is based on the TV show of the same name. It uses the same gameplay as others, but there’s a twist to fit with the name.
Say, for example, that you’re playing a 90-ball game of Deal Or No Deal bingo. You’ll have the same ticket as any other 90-ball game, as well as obeying the same instructions in terms of winning the line, two lines and House prizes. The person who wins the House prize will also get to take part in the Deal Or No Deal feature of the game. This is a separate thing from the House prize, so the money from that is already ‘safe’.
The Deal Or No Deal feature sees the player offered a prize by the Banker. They can choose to either Deal and take the prize on offer or No Deal and open the box that is part of the game. As the game has progressed, numerous boxes will have been removed from the game as a number associated with them was called. At the end of the game there will be several amounts remaining, which form the basis of the Banker’s offer.
If the player chooses to Deal and accept the offer then they’ll receive the amount offered by the Banker. If they choose No Deal then they’ll have to open the box and take whatever prize is inside it. Sometimes that will be higher than the amount offered by the Banker, sometimes it will be lower. That is the risk and what adds entertainment to the feature. As mentioned, the Banker’s offer feature is separate from the prizes in the game.
This is just one example of the sort of feature game that you can expect to find on a bingo site. There are countless others, ranging from ones themed around the likes of Emmerdale to Coronation Street. Feature games are a fun addition to typical bingo sites, promising users the ability to win something in addition to the prizes on offer as part of a standard game.
Bingo Chat Room Games
Online bingo is immensely popular not just for its bonuses, progressive jackpots, and loyalty schemes, but also for its chat facilities. Players can really let themselves go and make as much noise as they please while playing online bingo, unlike offline bingo, which requires perfect silence and concentration.
Bingo gaming software comes with features such as auto daub, which automatically marks off the numbers as they are being called, leaving online bingo players free to socialize, chat with chat moderators and other bingo players in chat room, play side games and win large pots, and participate in exciting chat rooms and win either cash prizes or bingo points that can later be exchanged for cash or bingo tickets.
A chat room is a virtual room for players to meet and exchange text messages. Each chat room is moderated by a chat host or chat moderator who sees that everybody is having a good time and that everybody is following the basic chat room etiquette. Chat hosts also conduct chat games and give away prizes in points or cash. Online bingo sites organize a large number of chat games throughout the day, but if players are impatient for one, they can just request the chat hosts to conduct a chat game.
Chat games are not at all difficult to play. Players do not need to know any rules, employ any strategy, or have any skills to understand, play, and win a chat game. The chat host will explain the game, and if players do not understand something, they only have to ask the chat host. Usually, chat games require players be the first to type something in the chat message box.
Online bingo site offer zillions of chat games based on numbers, letters, trivia, names, birthdays, and so on. The toughest of them might be in the form of a quiz; even then, players hardly need to spend hours in preparation. Chat games are meant to be fun; they are not to be taken seriously. Usually, bingo players play chat games in between two major bingo games or while a major bingo game is going on. Chat games serve the multiple purposes of amusing players and helping them have fun, socialize, make bingo friends, and win some extra points.
The most popular chat games played at popular online bingo sites are Odds and Evens, Birthday Bingo, Bull’s Eye, Roulette, Lucky Gem, At the Races, Horse Races, Cube, Alphabet Soup, Blackjack, Double Trouble, Lucky 7, and Tic Tac Toe, to mention just a few.
Bingo players should note that the chat games offered at different bingo sites and the various terms and conditions associated with them depend on the site. Different bingo sites offer different prizes for chat games; while some may offer only points, others may offer a mixture of cash prizes, bonus bingo money, and points. Bingo sites may also require players to be real money depositing players who have purchased a specified number of bingo tickets to participate in chat games.
Responsible Gambling & Managing Your Bingo Bankroll
Bingo players are under the mistaken impression that fund management is unnecessary because it does not involve high stakes. But people are still gambling when they are playing bingo, and since you spend money purchasing tickets, you need to keep track of how much you’ve spent if you don’t want to end up broke.
A bingo bankroll comprises the amount of real money in a player’s real money account. However, bonus money, loyalty points, chat points, and others also need to be taken into consideration if they can be used to purchase bingo tickets and win real money prizes.
Ideally, you should decide how much money you can afford to spend playing bingo. And once you have lost that much money, then stop playing. It’s also a good idea to have some kind of idea of how much money they would like to win, and once you hit that magic number, collect your winnings and leave. There is no point in going on playing for an eternity just because you are on a winning streak.
The most important of all gambling rules is that players should never use money earmarked for something else for their gambling activities, especially things like bills and rent. Only use funds they can afford to set aside for the simple joys of playing bingo.