Last update: 16th April 2018
Bingo sites are constantly coming up with great sounding promotions, but sometimes they are not as good as they seem. Here is a selection of the WORST bingo promotions that we’ve come across (with some of the names of the offending sites omitted to avoid embarrassment). If you come across any others that belong in our hall of shame, do let us know!
How about a jackpot game where you can win £5000? Sounds great, doesn’t it – until you realise that it is a sliding jackpot game (with a baseline prize of just £500) and in order to win the big prize you must bingo, in a 75 ball coverall game with 24 numbers to daub, in 24-29 calls. This is so fantastically unlikely as to be on a par with a suitcase containing the cash miraculously falling from the sky and landing on your head; to get it in perspective, consider that similar sliding jackpot games run across the Dragonfish network 3 times a week – but there, you “only” need to bingo in 40 or fewer calls to win a whopping million pounds (no-one has)! Or take a look at the Bingocams progressive jackpot; any of the many, many 75 ball coverall games that play on their site every day could trigger it and 42 balls will do it, but it still typically takes a year or more to drop.
As if the ridiculously low number of calls needed to bag the headline jackpot wasn’t enough, one of the many sites that offered a promotion similar to this required players to deposit a whopping £100 to be allowed to participate in just one of these games. The culprit in this case is Ignite with their Sunday sliding jackpot game – but they do have another such game, on Fridays, where the chances of someone winning one of the larger prizes are much more significant.
A slots promotion with a prize of up to £5000! Sounds wonderful – until you discover that just to get the prize up to £5000 and stay in the race, you needed to play slots every single day for 4 weeks and play through a minimum of £11,200 in all! To win you then needed to play through £1000 every day until everyone else had dropped out, or if others kept going until the bitter end for a minimum spend of £18,200 per player in all, the player who had spent the most would win and everyone else would get nothing. To top it all, the prize wasn’t even cash but casino bonus money. Yes, Foxy Bingo, we’re looking at you!
Your cashback, your choice – each week you can claim fully automated cashback of 5% – 20%! Well, most of the time you can’t actually:
So basically, the only way this bonus can be claimed is if you make a deposit and lose almost all of it plus anything else that was in your account previously, within a week. Not only have Cozy Games not got rid of this truly dire promotion (although it has been renamed to “cash bonus rewards”), they have made it even more unappealing by upping the deposit required for the 5% to £50 (and the deposit required for the 20% to £500), doubling the wagering requirement and adding the proviso that bonus play on slots does not count towards the wagering requirement (so the hapless player would almost certainly have to make another deposit to satisfy it).
How about weekly prizes for the top spenders? The 5 bingo players on one network who played the most games during the week got a whole £10 bonus each! Or on a different site, the top 8 spenders on progressive slots each weekend got to share the massive sum of £88! No prizes for guessing how much you would have to spend to win that!
You can’t lose if you play in this game! A substantial part of the prize fund is split between all the losers! Er, yes you can actually; let’s suppose that the ticket price is £1 and there’s £1000 to be split between the tickets held by non winning players. The amount that is given out per ticket depends on the total number of tickets sold for the game (not the total number of players). Games of this type typically get thousands of players each of whom could have bought up to 96 tickets, so the chances are you’ll only get a small fraction of the ticket price back – a few pence – and in some cases it has been less than 1p.
This happens most often with prize draws but we’ve seen it done with guaranteed jackpot games as well. With some types of promotion such as extra deposit bonuses, free spins or cashback on losses it really doesn’t make any difference whether they are also available to a lot of other players as well, but it most certainly DOES make a difference for prize draws and jackpots! That big prize doesn’t sound so tempting once you realise that there’s only one big cash prize or one dream holiday to be won across a huge bingo or slots network with thousands or tens of thousands of players.
The absolute worst cases of this we have seen have been in connection with the series of £200,000 jackpot games that ran across almost all 888/Cassava licensed sites during 2015 and early 2016. These games each attracted over 10,000 players from scores or possibly hundreds of sites, but most of them conveniently forgot to mention even in the small print that the games are networked and one big name even ran TV advertising implying one of these games was exclusive to them. Virtue Fusion sites are serial offenders as well, every time the network £1 million slots prize draw promotion runs, but they do at least make it clear in the small print that it is networked.
We’ve also noticed prize games that run at the exact same time, with the exact same ticket price, as prize games on a different site in the same group offering a completely different set of prizes. When we queried this with one of the groups in question asking whether the games were actually networked and if so whether only one out of the two (or more) sets of prizes would be given out, answer came there none.
There’s a whole catalogue of sins here, perhaps the most annoying being the promotions that require a deposit but only say so in the small print so that you don’t realise until it’s too late, closely followed by ones that require multiple deposits. In one promotion of this type which was run at Butterfly Bingo, 3 deposits on 3 specified days were required to enter a prize draw and the prizes were 20 x 10,000 loyalty points (each prize worth £10). Admittedly a 100% deposit bonus was on offer for the 3 deposits so the benefit you would get from that would be a minimum of 3 times the benefit of actually winning, but you’d also be handing yourself a big fat wagering requirement (usually also only in the small print).
Fair enough you might think, but at many sites, “funded” means “has made a deposit in the last 7 days” rather than “has cash (as opposed to bonus) in account” or “has made a deposit at some stage”. So you can deposit, get a bonus, win, work down the full wagering requirement and have cash left over….and still not be allowed to buy tickets for jackpot games, play free bingo or chat games, or enter prize draws etc. unless you take the money out and pay it back in again (probably handing yourself another wagering requirement in the process).
Step forward the sites that only run slots promotions rather than bingo promotions – or worse still, run promotions that LOOK like bingo promotions but require you to play slots with substantial amounts of real cash to qualify. For instance, a leaderboard race where you get points for money played on slots as well as for winning bingo on patterns may just as well not be a bingo promotion at all as it is bound to be dominated by slots big spenders – serial offenders there were Dream Bingo and the now defunct Film Bingo.
Another offence of this type regards free bingo tickets that can only be obtained via cash play on slots – e.g. get one free ticket for each £20 played on slots. This type of promotion used to be common at certain 888 sites but seems to have disappeared so perhaps the Gambling Commission disapproved of it too!
The only two ways to get tickets for this sliding jackpot game (which also happened to be one where you had to bingo in a stupendously unlikely 24-28 calls in 75 ball to win the headline prize) were to pay £10 cash each for them, or earn one for every £50 played on the featured slot and scratchcard. As if this wasn’t bad enough, on the very last day of the promo a third way was announced! All you had to do was deposit £10 and you’d get 5 free cards as well as a deposit bonus….a bit easier than paying £50 cash or playing £250 on slots to say the least, so anyone who had already done the latter might understandably be very annoyed! Not impressed, Costa Bingo!
…such as the Galaxy Fame smartphone that looked great in the photo but turned out to be widely available free with a £10 a month contract.
So there they are, our hall of shame of the worst bingo promotions ever. Have YOU spotted any terrible bingo promotions that deserve to be in here? We’d love to hear!