Chapter Seven: Creating a Bingo Account
In this chapter we will cover:
Step by Step Guide into a new Dimension
- Finding a reputable site
- Creating an account
- Security considerations
- Choosing an alias
- Obtaining bonuses
Finding a Reputable Site
There are few real barriers to entry into the online bingo industry which means that a small number of rogue operators could potentially join the market and attempt to steal sensitive information or funds from players.
Fortunately, there are regulations in place to help protect players and this means the number of potentially dangerous sites is small. To ensure online bingo is safe, various organisations (some backed by the government, other independent but overseen by the government) have been set up to license and regulate operators.
By playing at a site regulated by an official gaming authority, a player is assured a safe, secure and fair gaming environment.
Major Gaming Authorities recognised by the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR):
- Curaçao: curaçao gaming control board
- Alderney: alderney gambling control commission
- France: autorite de regulation des jeux en ligne (arjel)
- Gibraltar: government of gibraltar, gaming division
- Isle of Man: isle of man gambling supervision commission
- Italy: agenzia delle dogane e dei monopoli (formerly aams)
- Malta: malta gaming authority
- United Kingdom: gambling commission
Third-party software tester
Creating an Account
Unlike a traditional bingo hall where it is possible to simply turn up, show a valid form of ID if necessary and play, online bingo sites require each new player to register with the site. Joining a site mainly involves registering the following details:
- Date of birth
- Email address
- Phone number
The reason an online bingo site will ask for these details is that it helps to protect the player and the operator as a business. Gambling laws state that anyone who plays online must be 18 or over (21 in the US) and sites have to ensure anyone who plays their games is of legal age.
Additionally, registering with a site is necessary to protect both the player and the operator from fraud. Before the player can withdraw any money they will be required to verify an account and prove identity by sending a valid form of ID to the site. This process helps to prevent money laundering and, moreover, from anyone playing underage.
The final aspect of signing up for an online bingo site is the username and password. To protect any funds which are online, the site will ask the player to create a secure password which should not be shared with anyone.
Like any online activity, security is a concern in the online bingo world. In order to comply with their licensing conditions, operators must include various security provisions in their platform (see below). These features are in addition to internal encryption protocols that ensure all personal and financial data is encrypted at the point of entry and when it is stored.
Password: Every online bingo account must be protected by a secure password. The majority of major operators will insist that the player creates a password using a combination of letter, numbers and symbols. This password is encrypted and cannot be viewed by anyone else, not even those who work at the site in question.
Deposit Limit: This is also a way for players to control their own spending. Deposit limits can be put in place by a player to cap the amount of money they can fund their account with on a daily, weekly and annual basis. It acts as a security measure as it prevents criminals from using an account to launder huge sums of money or steal someone's bank details and make large payments.
Valid Payment Processor: Every reputable online bingo site must offer payment processing via recognised institutions such as Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Skrill. This not only helps a site comply with its licensing conditions, but ensures a player's funds are protected both internally and externally.
Additionally, a regulated online bingo site will be required to hold all player account balances in a separate account from their operating funds. This means that if a site goes out of business, a player’s money is secure.
Choosing an AliasTo maintain a certain degree of anonymity online, bingo sites ask all players to operate under an alias (also known as a username or screen name). This alias can be anything a player chooses but names that cause offence will not be permitted.
When choosing an alias a player is encouraged to pick something that reflects their personality and fits with the overall ethos of bingo and the bingo site. Because online bingo is intended to be a form of light entertainment, usernames should reflect this.
Obtaining Bingo Bonuses
One of the main reasons online bingo has trumped land-based bingo in terms of participation over the last decade is its added value. Because iGaming platforms can offer a greater variety of games, it means they are able to generate more revenue and part of these profits is given back to players in the form of bonuses.
Claiming a bingo bonus is a simple matter of input and output. Like reward schemes in other industries, bingo bonuses are earned based on the amount a player contributes to the communal pot. Although everyone is given access to the same number of bonuses, the amount someone can take out of the system is dependent on the amount they put in.
The main bonuses found in the online bingo world are:
Deposit Bonus: When a new player makes a first deposit the opening amount will be enhanced by a bonus. Enhanced on a match or multiplier basis, this bonus is stored in a bonus account and only released after a player has met certain wagering conditions (i.e. they have to stake a certain amount to claim their bonus).
Reload Bonus: Almost identical to deposit bonuses, this bonus is given to existing customers when they make a fresh deposit. As with deposit bonuses, these deals have to be earned by wagering a certain amount.
Free Bingo: Online bingo operators will often offer free games, sometimes known as freerolls, as a way to give more players a chance to join the action. Although buy-ins can start from as little as £0.01, bingo sites will welcome new players and reward existing ones with free games. The only restriction on these will be the number of free games available to play.
VIP Rewards: While the aforementioned bonuses are fleeting, VIP rewards are constant. To encourage loyalty, bingo operators will give players points or credits based on their activity (the more they play, the more they earn).
Online bingo has become a £400million+ industry because it has figured out a way to offer an efficient, secure and lucrative playing environment. To offer something different to land-based bingo, operators have had to ensure their customers are always protected. Moreover, to help players get more from their time online, bingo sites have had to create a reward system that promotes activity and loyalty, but also gives players more value.