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Bingo has been one of the most popular pastimes in the western world for the better part of a century after spreading to the UK and the USA via Italy and France. Fifteen years ago, though, the future looked very bleak indeed for bingo.

Purpose-built bingo halls in the UK were closing on an almost daily basis and the one time high of 16 million registered players seemed like a distant memory. Fortunately, the internet rode into the rescue and breathed new life into bingo, introducing it to new younger generations.

Now bingo lovers are spoilt for choice with lots of bingo providers offering their games online. So how do you tell the difference between a reliable provider and an unscrupulous one? What should you prioritize when choosing a company to play with? Read on for our ultimate guide of what to look for when you’re picking your next bingo site.

Why online?

Firstly, you need to ask yourself why you’re looking to play online and not in a land-based bingo hall. Both have their merits and drawbacks so it’s important to understand which one will suit your tastes and playing style.

Play online if… You enjoy the freedom of playing any time and any place, be it from your mobile phone on the bus, your tablet in the garden or from your desktop PC. Online bingo has been specifically designed for ease and comfort. It also suits players who prefer a quick, no thrills barred sort of playing experience.

Play in person if… You’re a casual type of player who enjoys bingo more for the community vibe and sense of occasion rather than the thrills and spills. If you’re looking for a way to reconnect with your friends and enjoy a night out, then a land-based bingo hall is the place for you.

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Online bingo is popular amongst those players who want to play at their own convenience.

What to look for in an online bingo site

Personal preference will play a part in what you’re looking for from your online bingo site. There are many great bingo sites across the internet for players to chose from. However, there are five key areas that you should always consider before signing up with a new supplier:

Bonuses… There are literally thousands of online bingo suppliers on the internet, all of them desperate for your business. So, don’t give away your business without any form of reward, make them work for it.

It can be tempting to sign up for the first bonus offer you find, but make sure to do your homework. Find a comparison site and search around for a site that offers a great cash bonus or a stack of free games.

Security… When you pay for anything online you have to be vigilant about how your cash is being processed and handled. Any bingo site that you sign up to should be fully licensed and registered in the country or province that you are playing in.

You can use a comparison site to check out the security credentials of any online supplier. Take heed of customer reviews that repeat the same misgivings about pay-outs, deposits, or security.

If you’re in the UK, make sure you check out the Gambling Commission’s Public Register to find out if a bingo site is fully licensed and regulated.

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You should always take good care of your personal details online but be extra vigilant when choosing an online bingo site as you’ll be making multiple cash transactions.

Variety… There is more than one variety of bingo so be sure to check out what every site you look at has to offer. Sometimes you’ll be happy to play the good old fashioned 90-ball version of bingo, but at other times you might want something a bit quicker and action-packed. A site like 888 Ladies Bingo caters for everyone and has various different games of bingo ranging from the classic 90-ball to the 75-ball game both that offer progressive jackpots. A site like this is perfect for those who are wanting to try out different bingo games.

Community Feel… Bingo halls are more than gambling venues, they are meeting places, spots for people to gather and socialize and to an extent, you can get that from online bingo too.

The best bingo sites have invested heavily in developing their own industry-leading chat rooms where you can chat with friends or make new connections. Check out customer reviews to see how highly sites value the community before signing up.

Software… To the untrained eye, it may seem that not an awful lot of technical work has gone into the design of a bingo site, however, that is not the case. Online bingo sites spend staggering amounts of money on developing the best gaming software or leasing it from development companies.

Others do not. Some sites choose the most bog-standard gaming software and expect their customers to just put up with it. Don’t do that, pick a site that either invests heavily into its own software program or one that leases its technology from one of the big development companies.

Is bingo’s future solely online?

Trends over the past fifteen years or so would suggest that online bingo will eventually swallow up the last remnants of old bingo halls, but is that really the case? Could old fashioned bingo halls see a revival?

Probably not if they carry on the way they are currently. Many bingo halls in the UK and farther afield have not mixed up their customer offering in decades and as such are a relic to the past.

If bingo halls continue to take this approach, they will go to the wall just like their predecessors. Innovation will be key to any potential bingo hall revival, and if you look hard enough there are small signs of innovation of the game such as Drag Bingo.

The fun-filled variant which started in the 90s in Seattle mixes comedy with bingo as glamorous drag queen takes the role of the caller and leaves the crowd in stitches with their smutty jokes.

Innovative changes to bingo that attract new demographics like this are the only way land-based bingo can reverse the slump. If as suspected, the industry is reluctant to more improvisation then its future will lie solely online.