Firstly, we will point out that every site listed on Great British Bingo is a safe bingo site so you can feel happy in the knowledge that unless you see the word 'Blacklisted' next to the site then it will be safe.
Playing at a land-based bingo hall is a relatively stress-free and safe activity. You are in the same room as the caller, and you can see the balls being pulled. Your winnings are paid out in the club on the same night...the only thing you need to worry about is the colour of your dauber.
However, now the majority of bingo is played online, and I am often asked 'is it safe to play bingo online?' After all, there are many hundreds of sites to choose from, and they all want your address, financial details, birth date and other such intimate information. And if you win, how do you know you're going to receive your winnings?
It's easy to see why players are nervous, especially with the increasing amount of cyber-fraud in the news nowadays. You are being asked to rely on a company which could be overseas, and to which you have no connections with, so how do you know your chosen site is safe? If you are a European player, good news: with a little research, you can find a high number of safe bingo sites, regulated and vetted to the highest of standards.
There are four main licensing agencies that regulate the European market:
The Isle Of Man Gambling Supervision Commission
The Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Malta
The Gibraltar Licensing Authority
The Alderney Gambling Control Commission
It doesn't matter where these agencies are based, as they are all regulated by the UK Gambling Commission, and the 2005 Gambling Act. This ensures a number of key points are enforced. For instance, players must be over 18 years old, sites must be financially secure, games are fair, and information is thoroughly protected.
Back in the old days, a ping-pong-style bingo machine was used. Balls popped out completely at random, but how can we be so sure their digital counterparts are as haphazard? Regulated sites will use an independently-audited Random Number Generator. This is an exceptionally complicated mathematic algorithm, meaning it's impossible to predict which balls will be called.
This is perhaps the most important issue for any player – will your financial details be safe? Will you receive your massive jackpot windfall? If you use a regulated site, your financial details will be encrypted using 128 bit Secure Socket Layer technology. This means your details are scrambled and cannot be decoded – even the military and banks use this system, and if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for us.
The minimum age for players in the UK is 18, and this minimum age requirement is stated in the terms and conditions. If you worry about your kids getting on the computer and playing, you can lock selected sites. Consider using a method like Net Nanny to do this.
Firstly, check your chosen site is regulated by the Isle Of Man Gambling Supervision Commission, the Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Malta, the Gibraltar Licensing Authority or the Alderney Gambling Control Commission.
Legitimate sites will display licensing information at the bottom of their homepage, so you can see at a glance their credentials. In the Terms and Conditions, the site should detail the Complaints and and Dispute process too.
If your site is lacking even one of these key features, then it is highly advised not to play. Be safe, be certain, be sure – or else you could end up getting scammed, and that's a gamble nobody wants to take.