Staying safe online can sometimes feel like (and in many cases is because) you are battling invisible forces, you don’t know who they are, but they are there, ready to take over your computer, Bingo account or playing enjoyment. Often, you won’t know the enemy has forged a way through the gates of your very own, personal world, until something goes wrong, and then it becomes very clear. The precautionary steps you wished you’d taken or the things you should’ve looked out for, suddenly so obvious.
How to Play Safe Bingo Online
For most players, safety, when playing Online Bingo should be a priority, but often it is a forgotten factor, an afterthought or something left to the last check- which is a mistake not made twice. In this article, the OBG team have taken an in-depth look at the ways you, the player, can stay safe online. They are all precautionary steps, not reactive measures, so make sure you’ve read through to the end before you start playing.
Playing Online Bingo should be a fun experience, and largely worry-free once you’ve understood what to look for in a good Bingo site and how to stay safe whilst playing online. There are several areas of security that need to be considered when playing Online Bingo:
The site security
The site security– is my data, account and financial information secure, and safely stored and used?
Licensing– is the bingo site fully licensed, holding player funds properly, testing game RTPs, paying out wins when they should and generally operating in a safe and fair way?
Your gambling behaviour– are you gambling in a way that is responsible and enjoyable, rather than an addictive habit?
Site Security: What to Look For
When you join an Online Bingo site, you are entrusting them not only with your Bingo experience, but also your payment data, I.D and account details. You give them the keys to your bank and identity; this is why it is so important that you never play at an unprotected site.
Standard site protections:
Site encryption: All safe Bingo sites use Secure Socket Layer Encryption of at least 128-bit, if not 258-bit, which is military grade and employed by the most security savvy sites. Site encryption means that when you load up your favourite Bingo site, it confirms the site’s authenticity. It also encrypts the data that you send the site, such as your personal information and detects any interference.
All servers used to store playing data and information should also be secure and all staff should be trained in data protection policies, only sharing it with third-parties if the player has consented. This information can usually be found in the site’s T&Cs. If you want to save yourself time from trawling through all the security terminology, choose to play at an OBG recommended Bingo site, as we’ve already done all the hard work for you!
The padlock symbol
This is shown at the top-left of the URL bar in your browser, it means you are using a secure and encrypted site, you can use it as a quick reference point.
All Bingo sites that operate either in the UK, or targeting UK players must be licenced by the UK Gambling Commission or a Whitelisted jurisdiction. Online Bingo is defined as gambling if it involves monetary exchange- buying of cards, giving of prizes.
This means operators must be licensed and adhere to a strict code of licensing practices as well as pay taxes on profits, undergo inspections, and uphold the UK law. UK licensing has 3 core values; that gambling is conducted in a fair way; it is safe, protecting the vulnerable; and free from crime.
Essentially, as one of the best licensing jurisdictions in the world, when you play at a UK licensed Bingo site, you are playing at one of the safest. The UKCG has the power to investigate complaints against sites and can strip them of their licensing, force them to payout prizes and level whopping fines against them if they are found to be outside of the licensing agreements.
How to Recognize Legalised Bingo Room in UK
Basically, it’s all in the logos. Any licensed operator must display their licence number and the UKGC logo. Skip down to the bottom of the site’s homepage and there you will normally find this information.
The UKGC allows players to click on the logo and it will take you straight through to the details of the licence holder and any past sanctions or investigations where the site was found to be in the wrong and the actions taken. This kind of transparency cannot be found with any other gambling jurisdiction and ensure that you can find out exactly the type of site you are playing with.
Responsible gambling is part of the licensing package in the UK. Gambling sites must agree to use responsible gambling measures and support/ refer players when they need it. Responsible gambling hinges on the recognition that gambling is an addictive behaviour and some players are more vulnerable to others.
Therefore, there must be systems in place to catch these players, offer them support and even allow them to restrict how they play. Such measures include time-outs, player exclusions, deposit limits, account closures and referrals to gambling support services.
Sometimes staying safe online means being aware of your own behaviour and habits. Online Bingo should always be a fun affair, not one you feel you must partake in, especially if you cannot afford to gamble. Track your deposits and how much you play in your account details and contact your sites customer support if you wish to discuss your gambling or account limitations- they are there and trained to help you.
Safety and Privacy: some Tips
- Do not save your password or banking information on shared computers.
- Create unique passwords.
- Check for licensing logos and past sanctions.
- Always check that the site is using a safe connection.
- Monitor your gambling and remember it should always be a fun and safe activity!
Keeping your Password Safe
The last thing you want to do if you are using a family computer is give access to your bingo account to anyone under the age of 18. This means do not save your password on your computer and ensure you always log-out. This is good practice on all shared computers, obviously, but one that is often forgotten by players on a household computer!
Safe Bingo FAQ
What level of site protections should I look for from a good bingo site?
- Licensing, encryption, responsible gambling measures, data handling protocol and training for staff and safe payment processing.
Should I save my banking details to my user account?
- If you are using a password protected, personal, computer that only you use, then saving your banking details is usually deemed as safe. Each time you use a card or payment system connected to or saved on your Bingo account, you will still have to complete the CVC or login information each time.
How are my deposits and withdrawal secured?
- Payment gateways are used to ensure that your deposits and withdrawals are processed securely when you gamble online. They form a safe connection between the Bingo or Casino site of your choice and your payment system such as your bank and ensure that the data exchanged during the transaction is totally secure.
How can I activate responsible gambling measures on my account?
- If you want to activate any responsible gambling measures such as time-outs, deposit limits or site exclusions you should talk with the customer services team at your chosen Bingo site. They will explain the measures to you and set them up on your account if you choose.
Who can I contact if I am worried about my gambling?
- The following are UK Gambling support services that are not linked to your Bingo site. They are independent and with the sole purpose of tackling addictive gambling and offering support:
- BeGambleAware. National helpline: 0808 8020 133 and live chat.
- Gamblers Anonymous. National helpline number: 02073 843040.
- GamCare. National helpline number: 0808 8020133, live chat, forum and group chat.
Staying Safe Online: The Round-up
Make sure you enact our preventive online bingo safety strategies today. Whether you are a new or old player, it’s never too late to protect your online safety. Remember, only ever play at fully licensed Bingo sites as this ensures they follow safe gambling protocol, protect their players and are certified as fair. Over and above everything, gambling and playing Bingo online should be a fun activity that you are in control of, never an addiction or unsafe behaviour.