The Best Bingo Sites in the UK – Where to Play Online Bingo for Real Money
What is the first thing that pops in your head when you hear bingo? Old ladies with blue rinses floating amid clouds of smoke at the local hall? Or your French teacher trying to make memorising vocabulary “fun” with word bingo? Although those might be endearing (or troubling) memories, the game has made a stunning transition from the dim-lit halls to colourful websites and vibrant communities online, now attracting younger tech-savvy players. This old-timer is now revamped in intuitive designs and different variations optimised to perform flawlessly on any device by the best developers in the iGaming industry. And let us tell you – if you haven’t tried any of those, you’ve been missing out on a lot of fun. Lucky for you, we’re here to brief you on all the essentials. Read More
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Like we said, bingo has been gaining enormous popularity over the past years, especially in the virtual realm. Many cookie-cutter sites have been springing up, so it’s important you know how to tell the ones worth your time and money. This is exactly why we’re putting this article up – to navigate you in the search for the ultimate online bingo experience. First off, you have to make sure that the site you’re going to deposit to is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission or some of the other jurisdictions on its whitelist. Once you’ve made sure the operator is legit, it’s time to look at the bonuses – the amount of the welcome offer and wagering requirements, as well as the re-load treats, ongoing promotions, and loyalty programmes. Having sorted those out, there’ another conundrum – which of the bingo variants to choose. There’s just too many! Not to worry – for any of these topics, just use the handy navigation below or read along as we tackle them one issue in a paragraph.
Game Rules and Different Variations
Let’s start with the different variations of online bingo. There’re a lot of those and admittedly for someone who’s just now starting to dabble, the number could be overwhelming but the seasoned players are surely relishing the wide choice of ball number and theme variations. From the classic UK and American versions to the more recent cross-overs, card, speed, and 5-line games, the choice is really varied. To begin with, here’s a brief overview of the classic versions.
Traditional Bingo Versions
- 90-ball bingo: Also called British bingo, this variant is played with 90 balls, hence 90 numbers and tickets with a 9-column x 3-line pattern. Not all 27 fields contain a number – there are 5 numbers on each line and four empty boxes while the nine columns contain the nine decades of numbers. You can win for Any 1 Line, Any 2 Lines and Full House which entitles you to an excited “Bingo!” whoop.
- 75-ball bingo: The American version of bingo is more-fast paced than the 90-ball game, since it’s played with fewer numbers – 75 and a square ticket with 5 x 5 cells containing 24 numbers and a central cell marked “FREE”. Atop each column the letters B-I-N-G-O are spelled out and as the numbers are called out, so is the letter of its corresponding column. You can win with lines or patterns that can form various shapes, symbols, numbers, or spell out letters. If you cover the entire ticket, you have a Blackout.
- 80-ball bingo: When this interesting mix of the British and American versions appeared about a decade ago, it was considered the most innovative and entertaining variant and players quickly took to it. Now, it’s a very popular bingo game that is offered by almost all developers. Played with a square 4×4 ticket – all fields filled – it was the first prototype of speed bingo due to the fewer cells. Here, you can win by lines like in the 90-ball version or patterns similar to the ones in the 75-ball game.
Innovative Bingo Variants and Specials
In addition to these traditional variants, developers have also released numerous specialised games available exclusively at certain UK bingo sites. Gala offers 40- and 50-ball games in their Rainbow Riches and Coconut Island rooms, as well as a Bingo Lotto played with 49 balls. At 888 Ladies, you can play Flash Fives that marries bingo with card games, as the balls are replaced with cards that have to be matched with your “hand”. Besides the American and British bingo, operators are also offering Swedish or 5-line bingo – a very dynamic game that uses a 5×5 pattern similar to the 75-ball variant, except there’s no empty square in the middle. Another fast-paced bingo game is the 30-ball speed bingo which is played with tickets of just 9 cells, with winning combinations for 1 line, 2 lines, and Full House.
Some games are based on popular slots like Immortal Romance or popular TV shows, so you can enjoy the company of your favourite characters from series like Coronation Street or hosts from prime-time hits like Deal or No Deal, Britain’s Got Talent, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and more. Speaking of company, one of the reasons why online bingo has become so popular is the community spirit, as most bingo rooms offer a chat option where you can natter with fellow bingo players and room hosts. However, if you’re not in for the social aspect of it, you’ll be happy to find out that there’s a bingo variant designed with your asocial needs in mind – instant bingo, also called video bingo, is a single-player variant which you can play anytime, without waiting for room opening hours or more participants. The gameplay is similar to that of slots and the prizes come instantly. Available in Microgaming-powered sites, this is a great option for introverts to unite. Separately. Or simply lock your chat window and enjoy the silence.
Exclusive Promocodes for Hefty Bingo Bonuses
- Welcome Bonus: £55
- Wagering: 2x bonus + deposit
- Min. Deposit: £10
- Promo Code: BEST
- Claim This Bonus!
Every bingo operator offers bonuses to newly-registered customers. To keep players coming back, there are various ongoing promotions, daily prizes, weekly raffles, season- and holiday-themed promos and many more treats. At our recommended site Wink, our readers are welcome with an exclusive bonus of £55. All you have to do is make a deposit of at least £10, enter bonus code BEST and you will have £65 to play with. £30 of the bonus is dedicated to bingo and the other £25 can be used for all slots and games. As a new member to the site, you’re also up for the whopping £900 bonus at the Newbie room. With every deposit you make, you have the chance to get a 200% bonus at the Wink Wheel – use the code SPIN on every deposit and you get a guaranteed win.
Software Developers and Networks
- .Cassava Enterprises is part of the 888 Holdings Group, a company with well-established positions in the iGaming industry which is also behind the Dragonfish software. Being the arm of the 888 empire responsible for financial transactions, Cassava is the name you will see on your payment statements when you deposit or withdraw from many 888 sites, including all Dragonfish bingo sites. Some of the most popular bingo sites are powered by Dragonfish software, including our favourites – Wink Bingo and 888 Ladies. All sites boast responsive and intuitive design, a wide variety of fun games, and fantastic bonuses for both newly-registered and returning players. The user-friendly interface of Cassava bingo sites shared by all domains in the network is perfectly optimised for mobile, giving players the option to play on any device anytime, anywhere, making a seamless transition between sites and points of access.
- .Virtue Fusion is one of the oldest and the largest networks in the UK, with over 100 bingo sites and more than 60,000 active players every day who can join shared rooms and meet bingo buddies from all sites using the software. The company was established in 1999 and acquired by the leader in the online gaming industry Playtech in 2010. Some of the biggest names in the network are Gala Bingo and Mecca Bingo. They take advantage of Playtech’s licence deals to offer exclusive games such as ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, ‘Coconut Island’ or ‘Coronation Street Bingo’ and also feature some of the popular slots by Playtech, with Rainbow Riches available as a 40-ball bingo game. All games perform flawlessly on mobile and when it comes to bonuses – the Virtue Fusion sites offer some of the most generous welcome offers, ongoing promos, and loyalty programme treats.
- .Microgaming – a name that needs no introduction – these industry giants, famous for their slots, are also behind some of the most popular bingo sites like Dream, 32Red Bingo, Glossy, Betway and more. The company was established in 1994 and since then has grown a steady following. The bingo arm of Microgaming is powered by the BingoTek software and offers various bingo variants, as well as some of the most popular slots by the developer. You can try crowd-pleasers from their ample slots catalogue like the TV- and film-based Game of Thrones, Jurassic Park, and many progressive jackpots available as standalone or side games, all optimised for mobile. You know Microgaming casinos offer some of the most generous bonuses and you can expect the same when it comes to the bingo sites – welcome treats, reload bonuses, promos, and VIP schemes are sure to keep you coming back.
How ‘Beano’ Became ‘Bingo’
Bingo’s origins can be traced as far back as the 16th century when a game called “Il Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia” was being played in the streets of Italy with people using corn seeds to mark their numbers. Two centuries later in France the tokens, cards, and calling out numbers were added to the game. The game was introduced in the US by Hugh J. Ward who copyrighted and published a rule book in 1933. Edwin Lowe made it popular in New York after seeing people playing it at carnivals across Pennsylvania. Actually, he called the game ‘Beano’ because he was using beans as markers, but during one very intense session a woman who was close to winning was so excited that she stuttered upon calling the Full House and said ‘B-b-b-bingo’ instead of ‘Beano’. By the 1940s, bingo was popular throughout the United States and in Britain, it became extremely popular during WWII when the armed forces played it under the name of Tombola. After the war, cinemas that were losing money started offering bingo games as an alternative to films.
The first online bingo game was released in 1996. It was called Bingo Zone, followed by “Bingo Blitz” in 1998. In the decades to follow, online bingo became a favourite pastime for Brits and now more than 3 million people log into their accounts to play online each day. Some 700,000 of these are aged between 18 and 24. In 2007, a 62- year old grandmother from Bristol became the first online bingo millionaire, scooping a £1 million reward at Gala Bingo’s online KerChingo game. Last year, another glamorous gran from North Wales joined the online bingo millionaires club after winning £1.3 million jackpot in the Sky Bingo game “Chests of Plenty” on the Sky Bingo website.
One of the Most Popular Online Games
With so many millionaire stories, it’s really no surprise that online bingo has become so popular. It does offer the chance for fantastic rewards at extremely low tickets prices, starting at just 1p. But it’s not just about the money. Players like joining bingo sites because of the vibrant spirit of closely-knit communities that these sites offer. According to reports of the UK Gambling Commission, 47% of the bingo players say bingo has helped them make new friends thanks to the chat functionality of the rooms and almost half of all online players admit that online bingo games have become a part of their daily routine and they play at least one game every day. If you’re interested in joining one of the many colourful sites and meeting new bingo buddies, you have plenty of options with great bonuses and games, so go ahead and try this century-old game in a polished online design now!