Online bingo is a brilliant form of entertainment! But how can you make sure that you, and your money, stay safe while playing?
General Internet security
On a home network, ensure you have a firewall and malware/spyware protection enabled. If playing by phone or tablet, always use a secure (https) connection when connecting to a web site over public wi-fi.
Check the site licence
Before depositing any money or handing over any personal details, always check that the site is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission. This is super easy to do these days, as all UK licensed site have to display a clickable link to their licence details on the UKGC site.
Think before depositing a large sum
If the site offers a juicy welcome bonus, it can be tempting to make a large deposit to get the biggest bonus you can. Before doing this, make a careful reading of the withdrawal rules and wagering requirements to find out how easy it will be to get your money out if you change your mind about the site and don’t wish to continue playing there. Other points to consider:
- Could you be earning interest on the money if you kept it elsewhere?
- What would happen in the worst-case scenario of the bingo site closing down?
If a big name betting site with UK offices decided to close their bingo operation there’d be no doubt that you would have your funds either returned or transferred to a different bingo operator (as happened to customers when the Blue Square sports betting business was sold to Betfair). In the case of a small site with offshore offices you might have to take it up via the licensing authority.
Site privacy/security policy
A reputable bingo site will contain details, either in the terms and conditions or as separate documents, of how they store, process and protect the personal data you supply to them. This matters because poor procedures could leave you open to being spammed and worse than that, to identity theft.
Your bingo account involves real money, so pick a password that isn’t easy to guess, not something lame like your pet’s name, “password” or “bingoaccount”. Don’t use a password for a bingo site that is the same as either the password for your bank account or the password for your email account (and they should also be different from each other). Don’t use a password that is the same as the answer to the security question on one of your other accounts. Don’t put a tick in the box that says “remember me” if you are playing on a shared or public computer. If you are phoned, emailed or otherwise contacted by someone claiming to be from the bingo site and asking for your password, don’t give it to them. If you are at all worried that your password may have been compromised, change it.
Guarding personal information
Don’t use your real name as a username and don’t give it out in chat. Definitely don’t give out your address or phone number in chat, or your date of birth (easily done by accident if the bingo site has a birthday bonus). Even if you trust the person to whom you are talking, who knows who else might be lurking in the room and what use they might make of that information?
Know your limits
It’s easy to get carried away playing bingo and spend more than you intended to. We suggest deciding in advance how much you want to spend BEFORE you start to play and sticking to it, and bingo sites can help with this by allowing you to pre-set a daily or weekly deposit or play limit for yourself. If things do get out of hand, many sites will allow you to set a cooling-off period of anything from 1 day to 3 months as a less drastic alternative to self-exclusion. Look for a link on the bingo site called Responsible Gaming or Responsible Gambling, like this one at Gala Bingo, to find out about what that particular site can offer.
It’s meant to be fun
Online bingo is supposed to be fun. If you’re not having fun playing, it’s probably time to take a break, either from that particular site or from the game in general.