Online mobile bingo has become an extremely popular form of gambling, with many sites spending hundreds of hours and thousands of points to make sure that their sites are up-to-date and can offer the best mobile bingo experiences possible to their players. However, if you've not played bingo on a mobile device before, or just don't know what to expect from it as a newcomer, it can seem like a difficult form of bingo playing to break into. It's still the same basic game underneath all of the mobile changes and graphical adjustments, but knowing how mobile bingo systems work ahead of time can make it much easier to switch from browser-based games to mobile phones.
A brief history of mobile bingo
Bingo is one of the most popular gambling games in the world, but its history doesn't contain anything too dramatic. There are no major secrets that will blow your mind, like it being called "Bin Go" or having some origin story linked to a famous historical figure: it's been the same game for more or less its entire life.
Mobile bingo has only been around for as long as advanced smartphones have been, just like all forms of mobile gambling. Online gambling has drawn in around 8-10% of all smartphone users at one point in their lives, and the industry it worth billions worldwide, but it wasn't always that way. Online bingo - as well as online gambling games in general - first appeared around 1996, and didn't catch on completely until a few years later. Now, there's over ten-thousand bingo games being played daily, and more and more bingo sites are being created every month. Some sites are relatively new but others, like Barbados Bingo and its competitors, are longer-running and have gone through dozens of changes since they first opened.
Because of how straightforward and easy-to-understand most bingo games are, the rise of online bingo has also caused companies to create hundreds of unique mobile bingo games with their own special features, ranging from bingo bonus options or a system of loyalty points to systems that let you pre-purchase bingo tickets for automatic playing when you're not using your phone. That's not even counting all the different game rules, like 90-ball bingo compared to 75-ball bingo. The sheer amount of options is higher than it's ever been, and you can play online bingo free from all kinds of restrictions almost anywhere on the internet.
Where can I play mobile bingo?
There's nothing wrong with playing bingo in-person if you feel like it, but it has a lot more limitations than the online versions of the game. The most obvious is the fact that you don't need to visit a real casino to play - you can download dozens of different casino apps from your phone's respective app store to play bingo on the go, or join bingo rooms on almost any bingo site through your browser. This lets you play mobile bingo almost anywhere as long as you have an internet connection and you're following the T&Cs of the site. You don't even need the newest phone on the market, since most modern mobile devices can run gambling sites without any issue: if you want to play, it's very likely that your smartphone will be able to load up a bingo room almost straight away.
Both of these have their own good points and bad points depending on what you're looking for. Bingo apps are generally seen as the better way to play popular games hosted by a specific site: you agree to let their app on your device, it installs and then you can use it as normal with no need to even open your browser. A bingo app might also have special features (like bingo chat systems) or promotions (such as £50 bonus money or some free bingo games when you start playing) that aren't available on the site, as a kind of 'thank you' for installing the site's app. Players are generally also guaranteed the best mobile experience though these apps, since they're often designed to be faster and less clunky than using the website itself.
On the other hand, a website can be just as easy to use in the long run: most gambling sites give mobile players a mobile-only version of their site that allows them to access all of the important pages while making sure that everything is at the correct size and scale. Many mobile bingo sites have been designed to replace physical bingo halls and gambling locations, using features like multiple virtual bingo rooms and the ability for new players to try bingo games out without real money being involved. The addition of cookies also means that it's often easier to sign into your account or quickly access your details, helping players log into their account without reducing the amount of security they have.
Should I play bingo on mobile devices?
Mobile bingo has plenty of benefits, but the main one that stands out is the ability to play bingo almost anywhere. Unlike desktop devices or tablets, you can take your phone almost anywhere and easily fit it into your pocket, and all you need to play is an internet connection. This means that you can easily play at home, on a break at work, in a cafe, during a bus ride or even if you're on a 7 days holiday in a completely different country! Even better, your 'bingo mobile' is still a regular mobile phone, meaning that you still have all of the usual phone functionality and don't need to carry a separate device around just to play bingo.
Originally, mobile bingo wasn't that impressive and was only played by people in very specific situations or who didn't have access to any other methods of playing, but these days it's generally said to be the primary way for players to access bingo games, especially when real cash is involved. As phones have gotten more powerful, the mobile bingo sites have also gotten more impressive, and some companies now put more effort into them than their own desktop sites.
Playing Mobile Bingo
At its heart, mobile bingo is still the same as regular bingo in most ways, with many of the games being almost exactly the same in terms of the prizes they offer, the bonuses you can earn and the general theme of each game. However, mobile devices still function differently, and it can take a new player a short while to get used to the new systems that they have to use or the other changes that might alter the overall bingo experience. After all, the game will still be on a smaller screen and you'll generally be using a touchscreen, so even the simplest bingo games might have been altered in a major way to make sure that they still work as expected.
First of all, expect the design of the games to have changed. Whether they're free online bingo games or a game system that only works with real money, bingo sites will have adjusted the games to fit a variety of mobile screen sizes: something known as a "responsive" site. Without this, the game will display incorrectly, which makes the experience much worse for new players and can even make it impossible to play correctly. Any site with a responsive system is automatically mobile-friendly, since this will scale the visual parts of the game to suit the screen size you're using.
How to choose a mobile bingo site
Mobile bingo is still bingo, so picking the best possible mobile bingo site is important if you want the best experience you can get. There's a lot of different elements that can go into creating a good player experience, and bingo mobile sites can be just as varied as desktop versions. Because of this, a lot of the same features might turn up, and you can still look for sites based on a few key extra features or changes if you're looking for a very specific kind of bingo (or just want a site with a certain set of options on it).
The wagering requirement if your winnings is a large part of all bingo games, as well as any other gambling sites that use real money and offer bonus credit to their players. A wagering requirement is simply a certain requirement that you have to hit before you can withdraw your cash: in most cases, this will only apply to free spins and bingo games, but some cites might also include them on promotions for new players or regular benefits that they send to long-time players. The idea behind them is that you can only withdraw your bonus cash when you make a certain amount of money: a 10x wagering requirement means that you have to deposit ten times your original bingo bonuses amount to "free" that money for withdrawal.
This isn't always a bad thing. If you get a games bonus of extra free spins or bonus wagering cash worth £5 and manage to win £100 with it, a 10x wagering requirement would mean that you only have to deposit £50 to earn back £100, making a £50 profit. This won't always be the case, though, and your bonus spins or extra deposit balance can sometimes be lower than the amount you'd have to spend. It's up to you whether or not you want to try and free up this money, since some new players prefer to use free spins and bonus money as a way to try out games without expecting to win.
There are dozens of bingo sites out there that run regular promotions for both new players and long-term users. Using Barbados Bingo as an example due to their large promotion range, we can immediately see that they have two bonuses for new players (a welcome offer and a cashback boost) as well as a second cashback offer, a "Trophy" rewards system for all players, a full-sized loyalty scheme, a set range of "Happy Hours" with special rewards, an extra bonus wheel and a monthly reward that goes to the player that made the single biggest spin on the site that month. These are only the site-based bonuses, too: many bingo mobile games will have their own benefits, whether they're bonus winnings earned in-game or a free ticket for another bingo game.
The best mobile bingo games are the ones that can keep you interested and engaged, and bonus features go a long way towards that. Remember that not all bonuses will be the same across every game and platform, though: some might only be triggered through the bingo app instead of the site, and others might only be usable on certain games or only accessible to players that joined within a certain period of time.
There are so many bonus options that it's hard to list them all: you might have a bonus offer promo code that gives you a deposit bonus, or a deposit match bonus that adds bonus funds depending on how much a player deposits during their first few days on the site. Some might even have free spins or a bonus bingo ticket for a completely different game, emphasising the idea of you trying out more than one game. The free spins are especially common on gaming sites that offer mixed games, since free spins are quite likely to be the most common bonus types in the entire gambling industry.
Regulations and Safety
Bingo is a popular pastime, but that also means that some shady sites have tried to take advantage of it. A site that's licensed and regulated by all the right groups (notably the Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner and the UK Gambling Commission, license giving organisations) and appears on the London Stock Exchange is much easier to trust than one which won't display its certifications or licenses. Even within the European Union there are dozens of sites that try to scam people out of their money, so finding one that's properly licensed and regulated to operate in the United Kingdom and beyond is a very important part of your search.
Your personal details are important, and any bingo mobile site or bingo app that you use needs to be as safe as possible. A site that's licensed and regulated by the proper authorities will almost always be safe, since they have a responsibility to make sure that cookies are used correctly, T&Cs apply in a fair way, and every one of their players is given a fair, safe experience that doesn't put them in danger of being scammed or having their money stolen. Just because a site has all rights reserved on its branding doesn't mean that it's necessarily going to be as safe as possible.
Larger bingo sites like Barbados Bingo are known for being safer options: alongside their higher amount of promotions (even small things like free spins on slot games) they also have more time and money to put towards bingo mobile security. When you're choosing a bingo mobile site to play on, you want one that you know you can trust, and it's a good idea to make sure that any bingo mobile site you're interested in can actually keep you safe in the long run.