The online bingo industry is growing at a rapid pace. No longer do you need to visit your nearest bingo hall to play, as there are now hundreds of online platforms that allow you to play within the comfort of your own home. This is often as easy as opening an account, depositing funds with your debit card, and you’re good to go. However, with so many new entrants in the market, how do you know if platforms are safe to play at?
The answer is simple – regulation.
In a nutshell, the UK gambling industry is now one of the most regulated gambling arenas in the world. It is the Gambling Commission themselves that are tasked with keeping UK players safe. As such, not only do online bingo sites need to be licensed to operate, but they need to ensure they remain compliant with the Commission at all times.
First and foremost, whether it’s a bingo website, sports betting website, or traditional casino website – if an operator seeks to offer its gambling services to the UK market, it must be licensed by the Gambling Commission.
It is important to note that obtaining a license from the Commission is not an easy process. On the contrary, new bingo site must go through a stringent regulatory process to prove that they are a legitimate entity. As such, the license application will only be approved if the Gambling Commission feel satisfied that the platform has the required framework to comply with all regulatory laws.
Ultimately, each and every bingo site – regardless of how long they have been trading for, will operate under the watchful eye of the Gambling Commission.
If you want to verify the legitimacy of the license advertised on the platform’s homepage, you can independently check this by visiting the Gambling Commision website. As long as the license numbers match-up, you’re good to go.
It is also important to make reference to the specific games that new bingo sites host. For those unaware, in the vast majority of cases the bingo site themselves will not create the games that they offer. Instead, games are designed by specialist software developers. Interestingly, not only are these software developers required to hold a regulatory license from the Gambling Commission, but the games must be independently verified for their legitimacy before reaching the UK market.
In order to achieve this, bingo games will be sent to a Testing House. The overarching purpose of a Testing House is to ensure that the bingo games that you play are true, fair, and most importantly – completely random. This acts a stringent safeguard against third party malpractice. Once again, the Testing Houses themselves must be regulated by the Gambling Commission, subsequently acting as a further safety net.
On top of the initial granting of a license, and a requirement for all games to be sent to a Testing House prior to launch, new bingo operators will have their operations audited by the Gambling Commission. This will either be a scheduled annual audit, or a random audit at the Commission’s choosing. Either way, the Commission will want to ensure that the new bingo site is fully compliant with its licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP)
In its most basic form, the LCCP seeks to protect players from issues such as fraud, crime, underage gambling, and problem gambling. Regarding the last point, the Commission will want to feel satisfied that players have sufficient controls to take a break from gambling if they feel it has become problematic. Even in the case of bingo, players must be able to self exclude if they can no longer control their gambling.
In terms of protecting players from crime, this is one of the main reasons that online bingo sites will ask you to upload identification – especially if you are staking large volumes.
The Bottom Line?
In conclusion, if you’ve read our article upto this point, then you’ll now know that the UK bingo space operates in a heavily regulated arena. As such, irrespective of how long the bingo site has been operating for, it must hold a full gambling license from the Gambling Commission if it wishes to service UK players.
The good news for you as the player is that regulation doesn’t stop at just the bingo site. On the contrary, not only do software developers need to be regulated, but as do the Testing Houses that bingo games are sent to before they are launched in the UK.
Amelia Cassiday is an online bingo writer and player for the past 5 years. Her expertise and knowledge of the online bingo industry are utilised when covering the latest news and trends. Amelia particularly enjoys reviewing new bingo sites as well as writing detailed game guides. When offline, she can be found maintaining her garden and reading a good book at her home in Newcastle, UK.