Virgin 'free' bingo? or not?

RayUK

Dormant account
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Location
England
I am in a slight quandary here. I am thinking of promoting Virgin Bingo on my website. So before I sign up as an affiliate, I sign up as a player to check it out. On their page (
You do not have permission to view link Log in or register now.
) if I don't login (i.e. before I would sign up):

Virgin home page said:
Bingo - Play Bingo Games Online

Virgin Bingo is a great place to play Bingo games for free or for real
money online! We have a range of great Bingo games so get ready to
call house! We also have a range of excellent Casino and Poker Games
for you to try too.


Note the bit that says " ... play Bingo games for free ... ". Also there is a FAQ entry (this is the same both before and after signing up/logging in - and as I found later is in fact a common FAQ across all the Virgin games sites, not just bingo):

Virgin FAQ said:
Can I play for free?
You can play some of our games for free. Simply select the game you want to play, click on the 'play for free' button and enjoy!

so I signed up, and the 'play for free' button was no where to be found. Whatever I clicked it said I would have to deposit money and verify my account (i.e. send in ID etc.) before I could play. So I contacted their player support and asked how to play bingo for free to try out the software and games before I deposited (I am sure a fair few players would like to do this, especially if free bingo is mentioned on the home page of the site ) and I got this response:

Virgin support said:
There are no free bingo games. There are penny Bingo games on Mondays though.
(*link redacted*)

We have free Casino games (*link redacted*)

Now - I think this is a bit sneaky. Judging by a TV campaign they ran last Autumn (see their forum on here for details of that) I think they get away with offering free bingo by the rationalization that the deposit bonus is effectively 'free money' so you are (sort of) playing for free when you use that, and also that once you have a funded account there are free play bingo rooms for an hour or two during the day (sometimes - and as far as I know not at the moment as if you peer at the screencap from this thread https://www.casinomeister.com/forums/threads/33872/ it looks like that free bingo offer stopped on the 2nd Nov last year).

I still think it is sneaky, and am really torn about whether to have them as an option on my website. Virgin are an accredited casino here, and have a good reputation so from that perspective I would like to offer them. But I don't like this free bingo that isn't thing :(

What do others here think? As players? Would you be annoyed at the 'free bingo' thing? Have I misread it? Obviously if I do put them on my site I can put a better description of what they mean by free bingo in my review/overview (e.g. there isn't any free bingo even if the Virgin site says there is). Is it no big deal? Am I fussing over nothing? They even have the title of the web page (i.e. as it appears at the top of the browser) as 'Play Online Bingo at Virgin Games Bingo for money or for free!'
 
Last edited:

bingoboy

Dormant account
Joined
Jan 19, 2010
Location
London
Hi Ray,

Thanks for the query. As a bingo manager at Virgin, I do occasionally get a few customer queries about this, so its great to be able to explain it to players up-front before they register.

Our Free Bingo games (which we advertise on TV) are genuinely Free, in the sense that any player can purchase tickets for these games for zero cost. The prize money for these games is regularly anywhere between 5-25 per game.

However, where the free bingo or not query arises, is that our bingo client will only open up to a player if they have cash in their account (which can be as little as 1p). This does mean that a player will have had to given us their account details and deposited at some point in their lifetime, which we can then put the prize money into if they win. But a player definitely does not need to spend their deposit or any money on the bingo tickets.

So hopefully, as a succint answer, the bingo is definitely free, however you do need to be a depositing player to get access to it, which hopefully we try and make clear, and are completey transparent about. (Its worth noting that a Virgin Casino or Virgin Poker player will obviously be able to get into our client and enjoy the free games as they will have cash in their account).

This is a pretty common mechanic amongst bingo sites across the net (especially other Virtue Fusion sites).

I accept your point, that the FAQ answer is a bit misleading, with no actual play for free button, and is simply a pass-over from our St.Minver days. Well go and update this, and make this clearer today.

We do have the odd Free Bingo game every day as a treat (3pm, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm) which we dont advertise, yet when we run our TV campaign, we run three whole hours of Free Bingo games (1pm-2pm, 5pm-7pm) which we do advertise. It just so happens that were running our TV advert again next week (between 25th January 7th February), so well have the 3 hours of bingo then too.

The Free Bingo campaign is the best converting mechanic we have had for our bingo site, especially because it does encourage players to deposit. Its also a great reactivation tool, so we have noticed affiliates with existing Virgin Bingo members do get new activity from some of their lapsed players.

I hope that helps answer your question. Ill be keen to know your thoughts.
 

RayUK

Dormant account
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Location
England
OK that makes a lot more sense, I was under the impression that you didn't have *any* free games when the advertising campaign(s) weren't on. The information in your post is something I, on my site, could include in the overview of Virgin Bingo so that would hopefully get the information to the potential customer before they signed up.

Thank you for addressing the FAQ issue too.

I don't have a problem with free bingo only available to funded players, as you say that is common (so is some free play money up front too) as long as it is clear that is what is meant by free bingo.

Anyway, thank you for your answers, it has cleared up things a lot, appreciated.

Regards,

Ray
 

shirlsplay

Dormant account
Joined
Oct 16, 2005
Location
Reno,nevada
I would not play there.to me it's a scam to get you to deposit.I prefer the site that give you a couple of bucks to try out there software.maybe am picky but i do not like all bingo software.some times i like to mark my own cards when playing a few and to kill time,lol.and not all software gives you that option.the best place that i've played is bingogala they have good software and do offer free games and a free trail.plus no hassels when you decide to cashout.that's a big deal to me.other places ask for all kinds of documents to cashout than just to get denied. bingogala has never asked for any info or ever denied me a cashout even when i won on free money from my birthday.one more thing they also do not have any waging requirments,so if you win right after depositing you can cashout your winnings right away.
 

RayUK

Dormant account
Joined
Feb 25, 2009
Location
England
Thank you for that reply shirlsplay (I don't have a 'thanks' button yet!). I can totally understand why you like to try out software first, and I basically agree with you. I will check out bingogala too.

I think that if I make it clear that you need a funded account to even try the software, that is giving information to the players who visit my site up front, and they can make the choice as to whether to try the bingo room on those terms, or try another that *does* offer unfunded free play to try out the software. Do you think that is reasonable? If I did offer Virgin as an option on my site I would drop some s on there and play, take screenshots and review from a 'player's eye' point of view the software, so that would help I hope. In fact that sort of thing is one of the main points of being an affiliate (IMO).

Thank you again for your comments, it is appreciated.
 

Jasminebed

Game old gal
Joined
Mar 13, 2008
Location
Ontario
Ray, it is a pleasure to see an affiliate taking the time to do their homework before recommending a site.

I think that Virgin has given a reasonable explanation of their "free" bingo, and as long as you explain how it works on your site, I think it sounds like you are behaving with integrity.

Good luck as an affiliate.
 
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