In recent years, we’ve all become more and more aware of the risks to our online security. Unfortunately, as consumers have gotten wise to fraudsters’ tricks, the scams have gotten more sophisticated, making it difficult to tell what’s real and what’s fake.
In the world of online bingo, knowing that you’re playing on a legitimate site is absolutely crucial—after all, you’re handing over your own money to play. But how can you tell if a site is the real deal? Luckily, we’ve created this list with a few key ways you can make sure you’re playing with a bona fide bingo provider rather than a scam site. Read on for the tips you need to know to stay safe online…
Popularity is usually a good indicator of a trustworthy site. There are hundreds of bingo sites out there, all fighting for your attention. These sites know that if they trip up in some way, they won’t have your attention for long. A bingo site with longstanding popularity amongst players (like Foxy Bingo or Gala Bingo) must be doing something right—after all, with so much choice out there, a bad site won’t stay popular for long.
Of course, popularity can be deceiving—sometimes, players are lured in by huge jackpots that don’t exist or enticing bonuses that they’ll never receive. So, while it’s a good start to check the popularity of a site, it shouldn’t be the only step you take.
All bingo sites have to be overseen by a gambling committee in order to ensure their business is legal, and follows current gambling laws. If a bingo site is not licensed by a committee, then any business they do is illegal. It’s easy to check whether a bingo site is licensed or not. You can go to a site’s homepage, and scroll to the bottom for a block of text. This text will usually state which gambling committee the site is regulated and licensed by. If you can’t find this section of text, then either contact the site directly to verify that they’re operating legally, or just avoid using it altogether.
Most of us will have an account on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (or all three!) Bingo sites are no exception. A strong presence on social media is a good sign for a number of reasons.
Firstly, social media will bring attention to the site. Whilst this is obviously a good thing for most bingo sites, more attention is often something to be avoided for a scam site. This is because more attention means a bigger chance that regulators may take notice of the site, and take action if they think that it is engaged in unsafe or illegal practices.
Secondly, if a bingo site is constantly updating its social media with news and promotions, then you can tell that it’s not cutting corners. The effort they put into their social media is a reflection of the effort they put into their site.
Social media also offers users a platform to voice their opinion on the site. Scam sites try to keep a veneer of respectability, so they’re unlikely to offer users a chance to let the cat out of the bag.
If a bingo site has a wide range of payment methods, it's usually a very good sign. By giving you many options, they're trying to make the process quick and simple for you. All of the 'big' bingo sites usually have at least four different payment methods. If a site only has one or two, then they're probably not a good site to use. In fact, most payment services have strict criteria when deciding to accept business from a site. If a site can't convince a payment service that it is legitimate and legal, you know it should be avoided. A narrow range of payment services could be a sign of how small their business is, which means they can't offer you the same safety and security as bigger sites. You'll usually find their payment methods at the bottom of their homepage.
It might be useful to also check out comments regarding withdrawals - if a member is complaining about the site not letting them cash out, it could be a serious warning sign. After all, one of the reasons to play bingo is for the chance of winning. If you can't actually withdraw any money you win, then you can't do anything with your winnings!
You’re probably familiar with the bonuses that bingo sites offer. Usually they offer new users a free bonus, or a bonus after you make a deposit e.g. £10 for £5. Bingo sites have ‘wagering requirements’, otherwise you’d be able to withdraw the £10 bonus without playing (which isn’t what they want). For example, a site might require you to wager twice your bonus (which would be £20) before you can make any withdrawals.
A 2x requirement is rather standard, so if a site asks you to wager 5x or 6x more, you should avoid it. The requirements are often listed under ‘Terms and Conditions’ which should be easy to find.
Most bingo sites offer players a wide variety of games inside and outside of bingo. For example, most have the usual 75-ball and 90-ball bingo games, but they also include various slot games. This variety is usually needed to keep players interested - the last thing a site wants is for your attention to wander to a site that offers more. If a site is offering the bare minimum, it could be a sign that they’re cutting corners in some way. Trustworthy sites take the time to make sure they’re fulfilling their customer's’ needs.
You should bear in mind that some sites will have a wider variety than others. For example, a large business like William Hill, has the infrastructure to offer customers a huge variety of games. In comparison, a smaller (but legitimate) business like Pet Shop Bingo, doesn’t offer the same wide variety. We therefore recommend that follow this tip together with the other steps on this list, rather than on its own. You might find that a legitimate bingo site decides to specialise in a particular type of game, or just has a smaller variety compared to the big-league bingo sites like Foxy Bingo.
Trustworthy sites are able to offer players a constant stream of promotions and bonuses. This is the main way they attract new members. Only big and trusted sites have the ability to fund constant promotions. However, some scam sites will often try to lure people in with promises of huge bonuses that don’t actually exist. By looking at their social media accounts, you should be able to tell whether a site’s bonuses really are too good to be true. If the majority of comments mention how unfair it is that the same people keep winning, or that no-one ever wins, then you know it can’t be trusted.
Most sites have a page or a section of their homepage dedicated to recent winners, as proof that people do win. So give them a check, or take a look at their social media pages.
Trustworthy sites will have a wide range of customer support options, making it easy for members to get in contact and resolve any issues. Many sites will offer live chat and email support in addition to web forms and traditional phone support. Sites will also normally include a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and should make their Terms and Conditions easily accessible.
You can always check comments and reviews for a look at how useful the customer support is. If you see several comments complaining that they never get their queries answered, then the site clearly has a substandard customer support. You should always use a site that values you.
Of course, all of that is quite a lot of information to check through—and nobody needs the hassle of spending hours figuring out whether a site is safe. If only somebody had already taken care of it for you…
We’ve saved our quickest, easiest, and best tip for last. Why spend precious time checking out every site yourself? Take the fast lane and come to BingoPort.
Here at BingoPort, we’ve put together detailed, honest reviews of a huge number of bingo sites. We value our community of members, who come to us to help find the best sites and get the most out of playing bingo.
We provide our members with lists of recommended sites, award-winning sites and even sites with VIP loyalty schemes. Our site reviews pages provide a factfile of every site we review. These factfiles have a treasure trove of information, with everything you need to know about a site; from its variety of games through to its available payment methods and social media presence. (As an example, take a look at our review of bingo big beast Mecca Bingo!) It’s also a bonus knowing that your fellow members will always give useful reviews and comments.
With our detailed site reviews, plus testimonials and reviews from BingoPort members, you can be sure that you’re in safe hands. That means you can spend less time worrying, and more time playing! Bingo!
With these tips and tricks under your belt, you should easily be able to weed out the scammers and stay safe while playing bingo. So, the next time you come across a brand new site with fantastic prizes, and it all sounds just that bit too good to be true… it probably is.
With so many fantastic real bingo sites out there, why take the risk? With BingoPort, you’re bound to find the one for you. Our list of recommended sites and detailed reviews provide all the info you need to know about every site out there—but don’t just take our word for it. Our community have tested out pretty much every bingo site under the sun, and help give extra hints and tips about where to play and where to avoid.
Interested in more bingo tips and advice? Check out our 6 tips to help you play online bingo!