Online Bingo Players’ Charter Introduction
Click here to visit The Online Bingo Players’ Charter or continue on down for an introduction to the charter and what you can do to help.
As online bingo players, we’re often given short shrift by many online operators out there. Be it overpriced or subscribed games that encourage over spending, restrictive withdrawal terms that make it hard for you to ever get money out of sites or other ways of keeping players from getting at their winnings. As a player I’m often shocked by the attitude of many online bingo companies when it comes to treating players fairly.
Both myself and the team here at Bingo VG believe that wherever possible, online bingo should operate with the same rules and restrictions as retail bingo halls. We understand that due to the different technologies this isn’t always possible, but where it is, parity between the two should be the key goal of the online operator.
So, I decided that it’s time something should be done. I know lots of people working in the industry, and I know many of them don’t know much about the game and the people who play it. That’s why I came up with the idea of the The Online Bingo Players’ Charter. My plan is to give the finished charter to the people in the industry, to show them what we as players expect when we sign up at a site.
And you can help. We need your help to build this charter – we have our own opinions about what should be in it, but we’d love to hear from you if you agree, disagree or think we’ve missed something. The charter will grow and evolve with time, and should be seen as providing the sort of framework that online bingo operators should work towards to ensure their players get the best deal they can whilst playing the game.
These are only suggestions, unfortunately we know that many will choose not to abide by many of the suggested standards we desire. As time goes on, we will compile a list of those that aspire to our charter, then our readers will know the best places to play.
Why Should Online Bingo Be More Like Retail Bingo?
The simple reason is that UK retail bingo is licensed and regulated to protect the player. There are price limits on the games available to club members that shouldn’t lead one to spending silly amounts of cash. It’s also set up in a way that makes it fairer for players who all have similar amounts of books (until the advent of handheld bingo terminals at least.)
Online bingo doesn’t have these safe guards, and also flaunts many of the conventions you’ll find in your local bingo hall. Imagine this if you will – it’s a set of events common at online bingo sites, but just think what would happen if these events unfolded in a normal bingo hall.
You walk into the club for the first time. The manager gives you £20 to play for free. “Great,” you think, “I can have a good game before I decide to spend my money!” The other players in the club look at you a bit gone off, but they all got theirs when they signed up. You look at the table, some players have one set of books, other players have 10 or 20 sets of books. You wonder what your chances are for getting a good win.
The night draws on, and amazingly you win a big house prize, putting the cash in your pocket. The session’s over now, and you know you’ll be coming back into this club, you’ve had a great time. You put your coat on and leave, but as you head towards the exit with your winnings, the manager stops you from leaving and tells you that because you won that money with free money you can’t leave the club with it.
He tells you that if you want to leave with it, you have to spend the money in the club 10 times over before he’ll let you go with it. But not to worry – he points you to the slot machines and casino over by the bingo tables, you’ll soon wager 10 times your winnings on those games, where you can spend £50 in one spin of the slots.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. In some places things are even worse. If this happened in a retail club, players would be in uproar, and they would vote with their feet. No, you walk out of the club with the money you win, whether it’s from a free game or a paid one. The most you can spend on one spin of the slots is a pound. On top of that, there’s no minimum withdrawal and no need to show your passport, driving license and bank card when you do leave. I could give more examples of the sort of disparities, but I’ll leave it their and let the charter do the talking.
How Can I As A Player Shape The Players’ Charter?
How can you help? The answer is simple – by contributing to the charter. To start with, you can email the site via our contact page with any suggestions you have for about the charter. There’s also a comment section on the actual charter page that you can use to add your thoughts and feelings about it.
As to what we’d like you to contribute, there’s a whole range of things to do with the charter that we’d like you to suggest. Have we missed stuff out? Are we being to strict? Do you agree with what we’re saying or think we’re on the right track? Should we rephrase or change what the charter asks for? Any of these interactions are wanted, and you’re welcome to submit them via the methods outlined above.
How Can I As An Operator Use The Players’ Charter?
The answer is simple – you can read what your existing members and potential members want in an online bingo club, and try to adhere to it. Many of you won’t like what’s being suggested and won’t be willing to make the changes, but those who do will no doubt be seen as sites worth visiting. We’ll also big-up those sites that do follow as many of the points in our charter as possible, and those that don’t well – we’ll make sure us bingo players are aware of that too. This charter should not be seen as a problem or attack, it should be seen as an opportunity to reality check what you offer to your customers to improve your service for their benefits as well as your own.
Please take the time to read it and see what you can do.