Bingo is a brilliant pastime, a fun and light-hearted activity shared by hundreds of thousands of players every day!
However, bingo is not free (well, apart from free bingo) and it is a form of gambling, so like any hobby or activity, players should always keep an eye on what they spend.
Bingo lovers would be very wise to make a bingo budget. It’s so easy to spend too much when you’re having fun, just like those nights out when you groan at your empty wallet in the morning!
Having a set budget helps you to ensure the fun stays fun, avoid problem gambling and of course make sure you have money left over for the other important parts of life, like a big Saturday night pizza!
A budget isn’t strictly a necessity for playing bingo online, but it is a smart and helpful thing to have. Most responsible gaming guides will advocate having a budget, for a few very simple reasons.
The first and foremost is that it can prevent overspending! Like any budget, the benefit of keeping track of your budget is that you know exactly how much you’re spending and are much less likely to accidentally do something you’ll regret. It’s so easy to overspend, especially if you play on more than one site.
Following on from that, a budget can protect you from gambling addiction. Problem gambling happens for many reasons, from the chemical stimulus of gambling to psychological need to gamble, but the dangers all revolve around spending too much.
If you have a solid handle on how much money is being spent each week on bingo or slots, then you know when you’ve spent too much or been good. Just seeing that in black and white can prevent you from going down a slippery slope.
Last but not least, a budget is a great way to help you keep track of your wins. When you deposit £20 here, then win £10 there, or lose £20 on another site but get a £30 bonus and win £3.89 from it… yes, sooner or later it’s easy to lose track of whether you’re making a profit or actually spending more than you realise.
Start by considering how you make your budget. There are several ways to go about it; some people like to keep a notepad and pen handy, others will make a little spreadsheet on the computer.
Choose somewhere to track your money which is convenient for you, because if you start forgetting to look at it, then you won’t stick to it! It should be accessible, clear and simple.
A simple method is to have a notepad with a figure for the week. When you deposit on a site, make a note under that of the amount. If you make a profit and withdraw something, make a note of that too- it’s your choice whether to put that win aside or roll it over to next week’s budget. If you make a loss, that’s that.
The vast majority of online bingo sites and casinos will let you set a deposit limit too. This is a vital responsible gaming feature. You can usually set this in your account area or on the cashier menu.
For example, if you set a £20 a month limit, then the site simply will not take any more deposits past that point. That’s a great way to force yourself to stick to a budget. However, do note that making a withdrawal may reset the limit.
Players who use more than one site will benefit from using both systems, as one site may prevent you from spending more than £10 a week for example, but if you’re depositing at 5 different casinos, then you can lose track week by week.
Don’t panic! Yes, it’s easy to go over budget, even if you watch your income and outgo like a hawk. Mistakes happen, so don’t beat yourself up.
You just need to take steps to prevent it happening again, for the sake of your bank balance but also for responsible gaming purposes- going over budget once is a mistake, but again and again should be a warning sign.
The first thing to do is take money out of your next budget to make it up- if you went £30 over, then take £30 from next week, or £10 from the next three weeks. Sooner or later you’ll be back on track, if you’re careful.
Also, look at any money control options you haven’t explored yet. These could be deposit limits as mentioned above, or if you really messed up and want to be sure that you save some money and don’t overspend again for a while, consider a cool down or self-exclusion period.
You should also look at how many sites you use and how you keep track of spending, as often this could just be a bit of a bookkeeping error!
It’s easy to just forget to note down an extra £10 you spent on a new site because you were curious about the welcome bonus. Consider why you went over budget and adjust for the future.
Whatever methods you use to enjoy bingo responsibly, always use sites with good reputations and options to help players.
Bret Allen is an experienced journalist and freelance copywriter who specialises in the gambling sector and has written for various publications as well as one of the largest online gaming companies in the UK – Gamesys. Bret has a particular interest in slot games and knows his RTPs from his RNGs.
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