How to Play Bingo Online for Money
Online bingo has risen in popularity in recent years, with a wide variety of websites and game providers appearing where you can play Bingo online and win real money. This is a very attractive proposition for many people but what is often asked is a simple question: how do you go about playing?
Although there are many different game providers, and choosing the right one is a conversation all of its own (see below), in general all bingo games work in roughly the same way.
They all try to emulate the real Bingo Hall experience and – minus the noise and the smells – mostly succeed. The online games are the same as any offline game of bingo would be.
First Step - Sign up
With most bingo providers your first step is to sign up for an account. The enables you to play the games, and gives you a place for your winnings to be collected.
Such is the competition for your business in the bingo world, many providers offer you in-game credits for joining, meaning you don’t have to use your own money to get started.
If you do need to fund your account to play, it is usually a simple matter of transferring money by your credit or debit card as with any other online shopping activity. Some may accept other payment services such as PayPal, and finding the one with the right payment system for you is part of the process of picking your provider. For many people, a bingo site that accepts Paypal will be a perfect solution.
It is worth bearing in mind that in most cases, how you pay money in is the way you will receive winnings back. In other words, if you pay in via your debit card, then that is where the winnings get paid to when you request a withdrawal from your account.
Start Playing for Money
Once set up and ready to play, whether with bonus credits or some of your own money you have deposited, you can start a game.
Bingo is, at its core, a game of elimination. When you launch a game you get your card, which in online games usually appears in the form of a pop-up window (so make sure if you have a pop-up blocker you disable it for your chosen bingo site), which usually has 3 or 4 cards on it for you to play. A lot of the more established game providers also include a chat interface in this pop-up to allow you to talk to other players and the staff.
The basic premise is that each card has random numbers on it, whilst the computer calls out numbers at random from a pool of 90 "balls". The physical game of bingo has the caller taking balls at random with each ball having one of the numbers on it. If a number on one of your cards is called, you click on it to cross it out. You win a game of bingo if you are first to cross out a full horizontal line on a single card (a straight line game). If the game is a full-house game, then the winner is the first person to mark off all the numbers on their card.
You do get variations of this, with some games requiring the completion of two horizontal lines to win. In more recent times in a bid to keep things fresh, some providers have added in games with less balls that include vertical and diagonal lines as winners, or a specific pattern on the card. These more esoteric rules however are well marked and you will always be aware of the type of game you are entering before you start. For beginners, a single line or full-house game of standard 90 ball bingo is the best way to get to grips with it all.
Games are also usually divided by cost, so a 5c game is a game that costs 5c to play, and so on. The higher the cost of entry, the bigger the prizes tend to be, however it is important to not get carried away and keep track of what you are spending.
And that is the basics of actually playing bingo. If you have played Bingo in a real Bingo Hall before, there is nothing new to it really. Once you have your account set up you are away. For those new to bingo, it is very easy to pick up and the online aspect is actually well suited to the game and doesn’t detract from the experience.
Is it possible to make money from online bingo?
This is a question I see quite often, and the answer is not really straightforward. Yes, the companies do pay out of you win, in real money that you can withdraw.
However, bingo is at its core game of chance and as such whether you actually win money or not isn’t something that you can readily assess.
There is something to discuss about payouts though, and that is the signing on offers to tempt you to join a given Bingo site.
Reading the small print here can be very helpful, as the vast majority do come with some specific restrictions that you need to be aware of. These restrictions vary, but most of them require that you play a multiple of the bonus in game value before you can make a withdrawal, such as playing 300% of your bonus (that is 3 times the amount you have been given. A $50 bonus, for example, would require you to play $150 of games before you can make a withdrawal. Other games simply do not let you ever withdraw that amount. In these variations, if you get a $50 bonus, you can never withdraw that last $50 from the account no matter how long you wait nor how many games you play.
How to choose a bingo site for online play
So now you know how to play, you see that the bingo sites do pay out, and you understand the pros and cons of the introductory bonuses. Which site do you register with to play on? Your first port of call should be a few bingo review sites to narrow down your list to the very best reputable sites.
1. Our website keeps up to date lists of the best reviewed sites and this narrows down your alternatives from the 500 or so sites out there to around 20, all of which will have a good record of payments, customer service and so on.
2. With your list of 20, your next step is to evaluate the joining offers and decide which ones offer the best bonus for the value you are intending to deposit. Never fall into the trap of depositing more than you want just to get a bigger bonus. The restrictions on withdrawals always outweigh the benefits so stick to your budget and find the ones that offers a good deal for that.
3. Next up, or if you lack a debit card and are reliant on other payment forms maybe this would come first, is checking out the payment and withdrawal methods. The ones that accept and allow easy and free withdrawals for your preferred payment system are the ones to keep on your shortlist.
4. Next up is to look at the games. This may seem far down the list for some but if the other financial aspects are not right, you will never enjoy the games no matter how good they are. All will offer the 90 ball single line and full-house games and that may be enough for you. Plenty of sites will offer alternative types of bingo, prize draws, other games of chance and competitions for members to keep you coming back. Make sure the one you pick has the facilities you are looking for.
5. After all this you should have a very short list left, possibly just the one site. Great! Mission accomplished. The trick is to be methodical and stick to the things you actually want from your bingo site, and you will not go far wrong.
6. One last thing that may be worth considering is the online software used for powering the website. For the more experienced bingo aficionado, recognizing the software powering each site becomes easier the more you visit as many sites share the same underlying software to provide the games. If you have a favorite one it is certainly worthwhile checking which software powers each site but for the newcomer this is something that will not usually be a factor.
At the time of writing this article, most US players still cannot play bingo online. The law regarding online bingo is the same law as the general online gambling law. There are currently 3 states which allow online gambling in US.
Strategies to employ for profitable play
Although bingo is essentially a game based on random numbers, and as such you can never really guarantee a win, you can employ a few strategies to help tip things a little in your favor.
The only thing you have control of in a game of bingo is your card. Luckily most games allow you to either choose the card or be randomly allocated one. Always opt to choose your own. What you are looking for here is a wide spread of numbers. Look at the final digit of the numbers, you want a spread of numbers ending in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on, as many different final digits as possible. This is because mathematical probabilities dictate that over the course of a random draw, the numbers drawn ending in each digit will be even, meaning as many 1’s , 2’s 3’s and so on will be drawn eventually, and so for the best chance of getting a line or full-house quickly, you want a spread of those numbers.
The 10 best tips for newcomers to online bingo
While the premise is simple, and the online games are very easy to play, being a newcomer to the bingo world can be a little daunting. Here are some tips to help ease you into your first games.
1. Know the game you are playing – this is the top tip. Make sure you know which type of game you are playing and what you need to do to win.
2. Avoid the crowded games – More people means less chance of winning. The trick is finding a game that has enough players to make the jackpot worthwhile but not so many that winning is all but impossible.
3. Change your cards - See our tactics suggestion above and do not be afraid to swap your cards if you don’t like the numbers.
4. Keep an eye out for bonus games, prize draws and so on offered by your website. They are easy and fun to participate in and can bring in a little extra cash.
5. If you can, it is always best to aim for the middle of the price range for games. The very cheapest do not generate much of a jackpot at all and the higher cost games can seem too risky, even though the jackpots are much larger. There is a balance in the middle that give you the best return if you win.
6. Don’t go overboard with cards. Yes , you just have to click on some numbers, but don’t go for more than 3 cards to begin with as you get into the rhythm of the game.
7. Pay attention to the cards and make sure you are marking off each number correctly.
8. The chat and so on offer major distractions to your gameplay. As with point 7, try not to get involved with them too much as you play.
9. Don’t get carried away with it and spend more money than you can afford.
10. Have Fun!
Avoiding addiction to online bingo.
The final aspect of online bingo we must address is the addiction aspect. As with all online gambling and gaming for profit there are some who get too involved and become addicted, usually at great cost.
There are no hard and fast rules here. An online guide to gambling addiction shows how varied this issue can be. Having said that, if you start playing online bingo and it stops being fun and becomes something you must do above all else, that is a warning sign that you may have a problem. In that case the first step is to admit it, to yourself and your family and ask for help.