If there’s one thing that online bingo players tend to ignore, it’s the location of the company that provides their games. When you’re immersed in chat, side games and bingo the whereabouts of the company that lies behind it all often seems as irrelevant as it does when you’re watching a film at the cinema.
However, watching the latest 3d blockbuster isn’t quite the same as playing bingo: Dreamworks, 20th Century Fox, Universal et al don’t have your bank details and won’t ever owe you any money no matter how bad any of the films they make turn out to be.
In fact, online bingo is about as safe as you’ll get on the web. Thanks to the P-128 Bit Secure Socket Layer technology that’s used on virtually all sites (avoid sites that don’t have this like the plague), your bank and personal details are as safe as can be.
It's your money so be careful ......
However, there is one area that remains a risk to naive UK online gamers, and means that you should still choose a bingo operator from the right country. The risk factor with bingo is, in fact, far more mundane yet very lucrative for less-than-reputable operators: When you win, some sites simply don’t pay you. It may sound ridiculous, but some dodgy bingo operators will simply not bother paying you your winnings:
If you want to contact them all they need to do is tell you your money is on the way. They can blame admin problems, computer downtime, recent volcanic eruptions on nearby tropical islands: You name it, they’ll come up with it – assuming you even manage to get through to them in the first place on their premium rate phone line.
If they never pay out, what are you going to do? Take them to court? It’s not worth your time and effort and they know it.
Visit sites registered in the UK or on the white list
If there were plenty of decent bingo operators in the UK then obviously UK players would just use them, knowing that appropriate regulatory constraints were in place to stop any of this nonsense - but with UK betting taxes as high as they are, even the good bingo sites have to base themselves offshore. Fortunately, though, the UK authorities have compiled what’s known as the Whitelist – a list of jurisdictions that are considered to enforce regulations that are at least as good as those in the UK, so if your bingo site is registered in one of them you can play safe in the knowledge that you’ll get paid, and paid on time.
The tax havens that the UK authorities recommend are Alderney, Antigua and Barbuda, Gibraltar, the Isle of Man and Tasmania, so make sure your bingo site is situated in one of them. It won’t usually be too obvious where even the most reputable bingo operator is located, as they would all prefer you to think that their customer service division is in a nice safe office block in the Home Counties somewhere – but the Whitelisted countries don’t seem to generate significant complaints, and the UK teams that check them out are extremely thorough.
Once you’re chosen your Whitelisted bingo site then it’s down to common sense: As always with internet gaming of any sort, check the forums to find out the real deal and you can’t go far wrong…