What makes the best bingo sites?

There seems to be a real plethora of sites out there offering online bingo and competing hard for the market.

In the UK in particular, bingo is big business. There are around 350 online operators to choose from. And the UK Gambling Commission's survey of British Gambling Prevalence in 2010 suggested that 12% of women and 6% of men play some form of bingo. So the market is huge and the number of people playing online rather than in a bingo hall continues to increase. In fact, the UK's biggest traditional bingo hall brands now report that over 20% of their revenues come from online sites rather than their traditional bingo halls (caused, in part at least, by the smoking ban).

So how do people choose the best ones? Well you may think that this is all about money - and that, therefore, people will choose the sites offering the most generous free introductory offers and bonuses etc. But it aint necessarily so. Yes, it's true that the bonuses help. But what recent research has revealed is that the socialisation aspects are more important - and that they're more important to women than they are to their male counterparts on the whole.

Many bingo games can be played for free, or in demo mode, whilst the cost of other bingo cards with online sites is as little as 1p a time. Most, it has to be said, are around the 10p mark - and they can be more. But this is hardly a game for high stakes gamblers.

The prizes and particularly the progressive jackpots can run into many thousands of pounds, though the winnings often depend upon how many people are playing at any given time - and they can be significantly lower.

But what makes online bingo particularly appealing for many players is the socialisation and camaraderie. This is why some sites put so much effort into this aspect of their site. Often you can find some fun chat rooms with dedicated hosting staff - and many players simply come on to the site just for the socialisation possibilities.

Therefore you can really be part of a community while you play - something the sites obviously wish to foster for commercial reasons of its own - but which also happens to be real.

Often, players will metaphorically shout words of encouragement to one another when another player may have the possibility of a large jackpot win. And bingo site's chat hosts are always there to help enliven the chat room and to help make the atmosphere enjoyable for all the players.

The chat system is often made up of three main areas; the chat rooms and the message display areas that go with them, a control panel with a text input area - and the other chatter's user names area. And the name of the chat room you're in at any given time is always clearly depicted at the top of each message display window.

And it's these kinds of areas and attention to detail which mean some sites are doing better than others. The bingo itself is the backdrop - but essentially, bingo is bingo...

Photo Credits: sarae