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 something of a rarity these days 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, a great many sites including the whole of 15 Network and the Dragonfish Network 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 as an incentive for players to make a deposit. In order to be listed in our free bingo section, a bingo site must have a minimum of 1 hour a day or 10 hours a week of free bingo that is open to any player who has ever made a deposit there.
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. The Ignite network regularly runs this type of promotion; the prizes they offer tend to be holiday or shopping vouchers that are worth around £500. Bingocams also sometimes have promotions of this type going on over a month or even longer. 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 the network who has made a deposit in the last 7 days. Do be aware that when a bingo site advertises the newbie free bingo as, say, £5000 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
Again, this is a very common arrangement and 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 really paying attention to what is going on in the bingo room could absent-mindedly buy max tickets to a pay game instead of a free game.
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 Sure Win and Big 10K 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, has several such restrictions. They reset any winnings when a first deposit is made, converting them into a casino bonus equal to the value of the deposit up to a maximum of £50 and they cap winnings from all bonuses at 5x the bonus up to a maximum of £500.
There is a big, big problem with this sort of arrangement, because capping or resetting non funded bingo winnings impacts ALL bingo players, not just the ones whose winnings are subject to the rule. The more real money players buy tickets for a bingo game, 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 are also widespread and these are on top of any wagering requirements. At sites with withdrawal restrictions, NO withdrawals of winnings are allowed until a deposit requirement has been met. The total of deposits required varies; if it is a single deposit of the minimum the bingo site allows it is not much of a problem (especially if it is possible to reject a bonus) but at some sites it is £20 or £30 and what this means is that not only can you not withdraw winnings from a no deposit bonus, you can’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.
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 slots sites – that’s a lot of sites to be banned from!
Free Bingo – Network Overview
- Virtue Fusion
- Dragonfish Network/Real Bingo Network
- United Bingo
- Joy Of Bingo
- Other 888 sites
- Live Bingo Network
- Other Cozy sites
- Daub Alderney
- 15 Network/Wheel of Slots
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 runs as part of special promotions. To participate you 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. 4 free bingo rooms are advertised but all require a deposit to have been made in the last 7 days. Furthermore, one only has one game a week, one only has one game a day and the other two are not both open at the same time (one 9am – 6pm and one 6pm – 8pm). So basically, there’s one room at a time running free bingo games and only recent depositors can play. The Real Bingo Network (Dragonfish’s no bonus/no wagering network which has some jackpot games in common with the main network) has one free bingo room with very small cash prizes that is open to everyone and others for recent depositors and VIPs.
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 all have several flavours 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. The jewel in the crown is the £10K sliding jackpot Friday night game that runs across their network; any player who has deposited in the last 7 days can claim 6 free tickets to this up to a week in advance and they do not need to be in the room when the game runs. These bingo sites do have a stipulation in the terms and conditions about not playing too much free bingo and as well as having a wagering requirement they all require a minimum deposit to be made (usually £20) before winnings can be cashed out.
The Joy of Bingo sites including Wink Bingo have a number of shared free bingo rooms. There is a 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 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.
Bingo Hollywood has a free 90 ball room with a FH prize of 50p which is open to all funded players, and one with slightly bigger prizes and games every half hour for those who have made a deposit in the last 7 days. They have the same clause in the terms and conditions as the Ignite sites about not playing too much free bingo.
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. The closest thing they now have to free bingo is the “bonus” rooms which are only for bonus play. 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 in “bonus” bingo rooms and then only if the player has no bonus left.
Game Village‘s Lucky Duck Network has the Chip Van free bingo room, but these 50 ball games run on just a few days a month and are for “homeowners” only (this requires 3 initial deposits then a regular deposit every 30 days).
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.
The Jumpman powered networks both have free bingo rooms which are only open to those who have deposited in the last 7 days. 15 Network’s free room – which is a 90 ball room with £1 bonus money to be won in each game – is open for 4 hours a day and there’s also a VIP free room which is open 10pm – midnight. The Wheel of Slots free room is open at lunchtime only. The exception to this is Rocket Bingo which has quite a bit of free bingo for all (albeit with very small prizes) and Volcano Bingo which has a free bingo game where it is possible to win spins on the Wheel of Slots.
Bingocams has 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 for 2 hours a day and is open to anyone who has deposited at least £10 in the last 30 days.
Health Bingo and other Bede Gaming sites have a free 90 ball bingo room which is open for 5 hours with £200 in prizes every day, but to play these free bingo games players need to have deposited in the last 14 days.
Tombola does not have any free bingo as such but the Stars game (which pays out a whopping £30K a week) is free to play for anyone with an account at Tombola who has signed up to receive text messages.
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.