Chapter Nine: Real Money Bingo vs. Free Bingo
Crossing the Virtual Divide
In this chapter we will cover:
- Outline of free online bingo games
- How it is possible to win money without spending
- Bingo’s links with social networks such as Facebook
- The differences between real money and free play bingo
Naturally, as the game has found its way into the online arena, bingo has evolved once again. As already highlighted in this guide, online bingo has transformed the way in which people play the game. Instead of playing a single variant common to a geographical region, online players have been given much more variety than before. From standard variants such as 75-ball and 90-ball bingo, to products of the iGaming industry such as speed bingo, it is now possible to enjoy the game in a plethora of formats.
Free Online Bingo Games
In line with the online world’s ability to innovate, modern players can now engage in free bingo sessions. Drawing inspiration from the online poker world where freerolls (tournaments with cash prizes but no entry fee) are common, online bingo sites are able to offer no deposit bingo games. Following the same premise that proved popular with online poker players – the ability to enter a game for free and win a small cash prize – these games have not only added to online bingo’s overall menu of options, but tapped into the social element of the game.
As outlined in Chapter 8, bingo has always been much more of a leisurely pursuit than other options in the gaming world. Where blackjack and poker attract the serious grinder, bingo attracts the novice or social butterfly looking as much for a good time as a moneymaking opportunity. This culture has resulted in online bingo sites offering free bingo games to all players.
Although the most common time a player can enjoy free bingo games is in their first few weeks of the online experience, there are ways for everyone to win money without having to spend any.
Winning Money for Free
To understand how to play for free and win real money playing bingo online, it is important to understand why it is possible. Online bingo is an industry that is based on the foundations of two industries: land-based bingo and online gaming. As stated, land-based bingo has always been seen as a social endeavour and that has helped make free games a natural fit for the industry.
It is the founding principles of the iGaming industry that have made free bingo games a reality. Since online gaming platforms came into being in the late 1990s, operators have understood that to encourage sign-ups and retention they need to give something back. Much like a major supermarket offers reward points and buy-one-get-one-free deals, online bingo sites have created a model where loyalty is valued.
Free Bingo for New CustomersThe main way online bingo sites offer free bingo is through sign-up deals. To encourage sign-ups and deposits, operators will give away free cash and tickets to daily freerolls as part of a welcome package. To access these deals, players simply have to create an account, collect a bonus and wait for one of the daily games to get under way. Most bingo sites will run between five and 10 free games throughout the day and some will be exclusively for players who have made a deposit, while a select few will be reserved for newbies who are looking to sample the site.
Free Bingo for Existing CustomersTo reward loyalty and ensure players get better value, bingo operators will give them a chance to earn free game tickets in a number of ways, such as exchanging VIP points, winning them or by purchasing one game card and getting another free.
Free Bingo via Social Networks
As highlighted in Chapter 8, online bingo is available through various social networks, such as Facebook, as well as free-play apps. These games tie in with bingo’s evolutionary roots and also offer players a chance to play for free.
In general, bingo games on Facebook and other platforms do not offer cash prizes but they do offer an element of competition and interaction. The most popular Facebook bingo apps attract more than 2 million monthly users and this flow of players has translated into an upturn in the number of real-money bingo players joining sites.
Real Money Bingo vs. Free Bingo
The premise of online bingo is the same regardless of the variant being played but it is important to conclude an overview of free bingo by running through some of the differences compared to real money play.
No CostIt is obvious but worth repeating; free bingo games do not cost anything. It is possible to play real money bingo games for very small amounts of money, but only games without an entry fee can be classed as free bingo.
Lower PrizesBecause the prizes in a bingo freeroll are backed by the operator, they are often smaller than they would be if playing a real money game. In real money games the players’ buy-ins cover the prize pool and the number of participants, plus the entry fee, often determine the size of the prize pool. In free games this dynamic does not exist and operators will simply guarantee a prize pool and honour it.
Limited AccessBingo freerolls are extremely popular so to ensure everyone has a fair chance to play these games, sites will limit the number of games a player can take part in. This may be a set number or a daily/weekly/monthly quota.
Some Prizes May Have to be EarnedIt may be the case that any prize money won during a bingo freeroll will be paid in bonus cash that has to be earned. This is another major difference between free and real money games. In the latter, each prize can be withdrawn instantly. In the former, a player may have to wager a certain amount before it is possible to collect any winnings.