Where To Play Free Bingo
There are many variations of free bingo out there but they fall into two main types, the ones where you can potentially win real money and the ones where you can’t.
Free bingo games not involving real money
Bingo for entertainment only, never any real prizes
This includes the vast array of free bingo games playable on Facebook and mobile bingo games via iPhone and Android apps. These are NOT real money gaming (although you can spend real money on buying in game currency and power ups) and are strictly for fun.
Bingo with free cards and a few real prizes (but NOT cash)
Freebingo.co.uk is the best known of these and with a free bingo site like this, what you win in most games is in-game currency that cannot be cashed out, but may give you entries into a prize draw. From time to time, however, there is a game with a tangible prize (but no cash alternative). Because this type of free bingo site derives its revenue from advertising real money gaming sites, the tangible prizes are usually sponsored by one of the advertisers so expect them to be mostly promotional items such as keyrings, mugs and teddy bears from real money bingo sites.
Free bingo games involving real money
Sounds great, doesn’t it – free online bingo games where you pay nothing for your bingo cards and have the chance of winning actual cash (or bingo bonus which can be used to buy cards to other bingo games where you can win real cash) – but actually, it is hardly ever that simple as we will go on to discuss. Free bingo games that have real cash prizes and are open to all registered players are pretty unusual and you are more likely to come across one of these variations on the theme:
No deposit real money bingo
The cards in these bingo games are not free but the bingo site offers a welcome bonus which does not require a deposit to be made so there is the opportunity, at least in theory, to win real cash without any financial outlay. Bingo bonus cannot always be used in the same way as cash though; there are almost always restrictions and these can be on which rooms it can be used in, on how many cards per game you are allowed to buy with it, or – increasingly these days- on how much you are allowed to win with it. If you do win cash with your no deposit bonus and manage to play through any wagering requirements, you are unlikely be able to withdraw it unless you make a deposit (and this usually means accepting another bonus and incurring further wagering requirements which will then have to be met before actually making the withdrawal).
Free bingo for funded or depositing players only
This is a very common arrangement and it depends very much on what that particular bingo site has as its definition of a funded player. You might think it would refer either to someone who has made a real money deposit at some point or maybe to someone who has cash in their account rather than just bonus. In fact, many bingo sites including most Dragonfish bingo sites restrict access to free bingo to depositing players and that means players who have made a deposit very recently – usually in the last 7 days but in some cases as recently as in the last 24 hours. Basically these bingo sites are using the free bingo rooms instead of a redeposit bonus as an incentive for players to make a deposit.
Free bingo as part of a promotion
In this type of free bingo promotion you need to complete tasks in order to gain entry to the free room and these typically involve playing a specified amount of cash on bingo or slots and/or making deposits. Virtue Fusion bingo sites often have free bingo rooms with a minimum spend required the previous day, or over the preceding few days, to gain entry.
Free bingo for new players only
This type of free bingo promotion is most commonly found at Virtue Fusion bingo sites where there is often a newbie free bingo room just for players in their first few days. At Gala Bingo, for instance, new players get 4 hours of free bingo a day for their first 7 days and each game has a prize fund of £25 bingo bonus. The Dragonfish network also has free bingo for new players but this is only for 72 hours, the prize fund per game is just £1 and the room is shared with everyone across multiple networks who has made a deposit in the last 7 days. Cozy bingo sites have a newbie room that is open 24/7 with bingo bonus prizes (replacing their long standing no deposit bonus offer), but the maximum that can be carried forward as a bonus is £20. Do be aware that when a bingo site advertises the newbie free bingo as, say, £5000 of free bingo, they are talking about the total prize fund across all the games that the player could possibly join if they were in the bingo room for the maximum hours, and not the card value!
Free bingo but with extra cards or extra prizes for paying players
This arrangement allows all registered players into the free bingo room but gives an advantage to paying players, so in theory it should keep everyone happy. Examples are the free 50 ball bingo which used to run at Live Bingo Network where each player got ten free cards and extra cards could be bought for 1p each, and the Free or Superbooks games at Virtue Fusion sites where free cards can be upgraded to pay cards: both types play alongside each other in the game, but if a pay card wins at Virtue Fusion the prize is bigger, often VERY much bigger than if a free card wins (for example, a measly £3 bingo bonus for a free card and a whopping £300 cash for a pay card). With Superbooks there are typically very large numbers of free cards in play so the chance of a pay card winning is unlikely to be very high; if a free card wins none of the cash stakes have to be paid back out to the players which is great news for the bingo sites but not so much for the players with pay cards.
Free bingo but for bingo bonus prizes not cash
This is such a common arrangement that it is actually the norm – very few free rooms pay cash. Free rooms that pay bingo bonus are popular with players as it enables them to keep playing after they run out of funds. It is in the bingo site’s interest to offer this type of free bingo as it encourages people to play in both the free bingo games, and in pay games with the bonus funds that they win from the free games. This creates more activity on the site which is great for keeping players interested as there’s more people around to liven up the chat. The wagering requirements ensure that the site gets good value in terms of player activity from any bonus funds they give out.
Free bingo that can’t be accessed by a person with any sort of normal life
Free bingo almost never has a pre-buy facility, so you need to be in the room shortly before the game starts to claim tickets. This is difficult to manage if the free bingo games run at an antisocial time such as the middle of the night or if the window for claiming the tickets is just a couple of minutes.
Free bingo – but pay attention!
In this type of arrangement – often seen at Sky Bingo where even the newbie room runs in this way – the bingo site runs free bingo games with substantial bingo bonus prizes at a popular time of day, but there is no pre-buy and the games alternate with pay games. A player who is not paying close attention to what is going on in the bingo room could accidentally buy max tickets to a pay game instead of a free game – and we know this does happen as we’ve seen people complaining about it in the chat.
Free bingo cards
Some bingo sites give away free bingo cards to a specific game as part of their welcome offer or loyalty scheme or as part of another promotion. One very common proviso is that the player must be in the bingo room at the time the game is run in order for the cards to play and this is definitely something to check on before deciding to take up an offer of this type.
Cozy bingo sites also give away free bingo cards but these are essentially a bingo bonus (with a short expiry) that can’t be used unless your account is empty of everything else.
Usually a free bingo card offer is vastly inferior to a bingo bonus offer as all the cards are for the same game and if you don’t win anything that’s the end of the entertainment – but this type of offer can be worthwhile if the game includes a community pot. For instance, the Dragonfish Big 10K (aka Big Bang) monthly games set aside a substantial portion of the prize fund to be shared between the tickets held by non winning players, so if free tickets to one of these games are included in a welcome offer the player is guaranteed to get some kind of return from them.
Nasty surprises lurking in the small print
Furthermore, bingo sites generally (and understandably) don’t want to pay out large sums of money to players who have never even made a deposit, so they impose caps and/or withdrawal restrictions on winnings from free bingo and/or no deposit bingo and these may not be immediately obvious without a thorough reading of the site terms and conditions. Some sites have policies such as not letting non funded players enter certain bingo rooms or buy tickets to big jackpot games, or placing restrictions on who can win progressive jackpots (at Bingocams, for instance, you need to have made a deposit in the last 3 months to be eligible for the sitewide progressive which seems reasonable enough), but others cap the amount that anyone who has not yet made a deposit can win, or even cap the amount that can be won with free bonus money at any time. The Live Bingo Network , for instance, reset any winnings when a first deposit is made, converting them into a bingo bonus equal to the value of the deposit up to a maximum of £20.
In our opinion there is a big, big problem with this sort of arrangement, because capping or resetting non funded and/or bonus bingo winnings impacts ALL bingo players, not just the ones whose winnings are subject to the rule. The more players that buy tickets for a bingo game with cash, the bigger the cash prize gets and if no-deposit players are allowed to play and win, the prize that the real money players have funded may not ever actually be paid out at all but may end up being confiscated by the bingo site.
Withdrawal restrictions also used to be widespread and these were on top of any wagering requirements. At sites with withdrawal restrictions, NO withdrawals of winnings were allowed until a deposit requirement has been met. The total of deposits required varied; if it is a single deposit of the minimum the bingo site allows it was not much of a problem (especially if it is possible to reject a bonus) but at some sites it was £20 or £30 and what this meant is that not only could you not withdraw winnings from a no deposit bonus, you couldn’t withdraw them from your welcome bonus either (assuming you just deposited the £5 or £10 required to claim it) without making a further deposit. The new CMA requirements that were introduced in Spring 2018 finally put a stop to this appalling practice.
Big prizes for VIPs only
It’s also important to remember that while there may be cash to be won in open access free bingo games, it may not be very much cash; large cash jackpots for free bingo tend to be in VIP free bingo rooms only, where the player needs to have deposited thousands to be allowed entry. The bingo sites use these free bingo games to reward high rollers.
The perils of overdoing free bingo
Finally, a word of warning; most if not all of the online bingo sites that offer free bingo games will eventually get annoyed if you play (in their view) too much free bingo and not enough pay bingo. Check the terms and conditions to see if there are guidelines as to how much is too much (some Dragonfish powered sites, for instance, say 120 free games a week is the upper limit). In particular, we have heard of players who apparently overdid the free bingo at one of the sites managed by Cassava and ended up being banned from all Cassava/Dragonfish/888 bingo and slot sites – that’s a lot of sites to be banned from!
Free Bingo – Network Overview
The network runs many penny games (with very worthwhile prizes due to the extremely large number of players participating) but it is down to the individual sites to decide whether or not to run free games and most do; Gala for instance runs free games interspersed with pay games for several hours a day in the exclusive Allsorts room . The prizes in Virtue Fusion powered free rooms are usually bingo bonus, often with larger cash prizes available via Superbooks. Dedicated free bingo rooms for new players are a feature of some, but not all Virtue Fusion sites and again, the prizes in these are almost always bingo bonus.
Free bingo at Gamesys sites occasionally runs as part of special promotions. To participate you usually need to have played £2 or more real cash in the preceding 7 days.
The Microgaming network used to run a few free 90 ball games for recent depositors, with bingo bonus prizes, but this now seems to have stopped completely.
The Dragonfish main network made changes back in 2015 that involved getting rid of most of the free bingo and restricting it to players who had made a deposit in the previous 7 days. At the start of 2018 free bingo for all funded players returned in the form of one room with small bonus prizes and a weekly jackpot room (as well as various premium rooms requiring a recent deposit), but both of these are shared with Joy of Bingo. The other Dragonfish network, the no-bonus Real Bingo Network, also has a free room with small prizes but pays them in cash.
United Bingo/Netboost (Gossip Bingo, Loony Bingo and sister sites) are firmly in the free bingo for depositors only camp. They have 4 free rooms all of which are unlocked for just 2 days following a deposit (£10 for the entry level room, £50 for the top level room).
The Ignite bingo sites used to have loads of free bingo – some open to all (this includes both 75 and 90 ball), some for newbies, some for recent depositors and some for special prize games. This all stopped in May 2018 and free bingo is now for recent depositors only (and newbies, for 24 hours following registration only). Having said that, there are some excellent free games if you HAVE made the requisite deposit – including 5 free £1000 games on Fridays.
Joy Of Bingo Network
The Joy of Bingo sites including Wink Bingo have a number of shared free bingo rooms. There is a (widely networked) free room that is open for 2 hours in the morning, 2 hours at lunchtime and 4 hours in the evening for anyone who has ever made a deposit at any of their sites, with prizes of £1 or £2 bingo bonus. There’s also hourly games with £20 bonus to be won for those who have deposited in the last 3 days, a weekly £1000 game for those who have deposited in the last 7 days, and a (widely networked) weekly £250 game for mobile and tablet players. The new player free room is 75 ball and accessible for 3 days from registration, with £20 bingo bonus to be won every hour. All these rooms are now shared with the regular Dragonfish network.
Cozy Bingo Sites
Cozy used to have a free 50 ball room where any player who had ever made a deposit could claim 10 tickets per game, but this was removed in August 2017. They now have a 90 ball free room which can be played for a week following registration to win bingo bonus (but the maximum that can be carried forward is £20). They also give away “free bingo tickets” which are worth 5p each against the cost of bingo cards; these have a 7 day expiry and can only be used if the player has no bonus left.
Stride Gaming‘s Daub Alderney bingo sites including Kitty Bingo have several free bingo rooms but all require a recent deposit. Only one of them runs games all the time and entry to that, and to the daily £50 jackpot, is restricted to those who have made a deposit that day. There are also three rooms with weekly or monthly games with substantial prizes and these are for the upper tiers of the VIP scheme and still require a deposit to have been made during the preceding 7 days.
Jumpman bingo sites have free bingo for those who have deposited in the last 7 days. There’s a regular room with £1 prizes and a VIP room with £5 prizes, both of which are open for two hours a day. The exception to this is Rocket Bingo which has some free bingo for all (albeit with very small prizes).
Bingocams have free games with substantial prizes for each of the higher levels of their VIP scheme, but to be allowed into the room you need to have made a deposit of at least £10 in the last 14 days. Another free room runs one game an hour for anyone who has deposited in the last 24 hours.
Tombola does not have any free bingo as such but the Worlds game (which pays out around £35K a week) costs just 1p a day to play.
Relax Gaming have a few free bingo games every day in between the pay games.
But Is it Really Free?
In the wake of the UK licensing regime and the POC Tax, free bingo is not as easy to find as it once was, but there is still quite a bit of it out there. Play for free and win for real – sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? We’ve talked above about some of the ways in which it might turn out to be too good to be true. But even in the case of a free to play bingo game with genuine prizes – who pays for the prizes? When it comes down to it, the cost of the prizes comes out of the bingo site’s profits – and therefore, ultimately, is paid for by you, the players.