Many people are afraid that the Internet is full of hackers who will corrupt their computer or steal their credit card number. But playing bingo on the Web shouldn't be a security risk, as long as you observe some simple rules.
If the numbers are coming in fits and starts, you may find it hard to keep up. At Bingo.com and other sites, you can do a quick spot-check by clicking with your mouse on open squares. If a square has been called, it will register as a daub. This is helpful if you want to grab a snack from the fridge or take a phone call during a coverall game.
Some pay sites, including CyberBingo.com, have an "auto daub" option to bring called numbers to your attention.
A false bingo (clicking the bingo button at the wrong time) slows down the game on everybody else's computer. Players who have too many false bingos in a day might be penalized.
Visit bingo message boards online to see if anyone has reported getting ripped off; the Bingo Bugle Web site offers a feedback column where people can report problems with online bingo games. One site, Bingo!@WinnerOnline, reviews several popular pay-bingo sites.
Don't give out your password. Pick a unique password to protect your account -- preferably one that would be difficult for others to guess. If you forget it, don't worry -- most sites will give you a hint or the option of receiving the password at a private e-mail address.
Beware of Web sites that promise big money. And certainly don't give out your credit card number! Veteran Internet bingo players can tell horror stories about prizes that never arrived and online accounts that weren't credited on time, if ever.
Look for free games. Try sticking to well-trafficked Web sites that promise fun first and prizes for little or no investment on your part. That way, if they aren't up to snuff, you can simply move on, a little wiser and no poorer.
Online Bingo Lingo
When you find a game of bingo to play on the Internet, you may be confused by the alphabet soup that spills out of the chat area while the game is taking place. In order to keep up with the breakneck pace of the virtual bingo caller and, more important, in order to socialize, computer bingo players use shorthand for a variety of common expressions. Below is a sampling of the most common abbreviations you'll see online:
- 73 (or any other number). If a player just needs O-73 to win, he or she may simply type "73" in the chat area, either to let everybody know or hoping for luck.
- pls. "Please!" If somebody is close to getting a bingo on a big jackpot, they may type this. If the number they need is I-17, they may write "17 pls."
- gl. "Good luck!"
- wtg. "Way to go!" When somebody wins an online bingo, you may see an outpouring of wtg's from the other players.
- gj. "Good job!" An alternative to "wtg."
- tyvm. "Thank you very much." This is shorthand to show gratitude for the well-wishes of other players.
- gg. "Good game." This usually comes from a player who's being a good sport.
- brb. "Be right back." Players use "brb" when they get up for a cup of coffee, need to answer the phone, etc.
- lol. "Laughing out loud." Since nobody can see you laugh online, players will type this to show they appreciated a joke.
- rotfl. "Rolling on the floor, laughing." The joke must have been really funny.
becoming familiar with the online vocabulary and safety tips, you are ready
for a game of online bingo. So where can you find a bingo game? Check the last
page for a directory of bingo Web sites.