For those new to online gaming, the idea of playing for free is one most appealing. Throw into the mix the notion that such games can merit huge rewards, and final inhibitions are relinquished with care-free abandon and replaced instead with eagerness. In poker, cheap tournament buy-ins have witnessed some of the most striking success stories of our time (witness the 2003 efforts of World Series of Poker main event winner, Chris Moneymaker), while massive jackpots have been recorded from progressive bingo games in the UK. In the case of both, free games are an ideal way in which to get started.

As far as gaming phenomena go, free bingo is a relatively new sensation. As the Internet expanded along with broadband access throughout the 21st century, competition amongst gaming sites became fierce, breeding innovation. Suddenly gaming providers were given access to a myriad of new customers, forcing them to offer greater and greater deals to attract potential customers. Thus, free bingo was born, and it has been an advent that has revolutionised the way in which both players and providers approach the game.

The confidence garnered from playing the game for free – testing the proverbial water before taking the plunge – has meant that players are far more likely to go on to buy bingo cards for real.

Conceptually it is nothing new, borrowing from market traders offering samples of their wares for would-be customers to try, enticing them into a full purchase. Once sold, the customer would be satisfied with the quality of the product and return for a further purchase the following week. Free bingo houses have taken this concept a step further, for they are market traders who are constantly innovating and diversifying. Hence, a free bingo provider today will offer more than games of free bingo. Several free bingo sites boast a variety of side games, with enticing titles such as Bejeweled and Paradise Island.

Furthermore, the free bingo pioneers recognised the social potential of the game. Historically, bingo was a game enjoyed by communities, not only as a game of fun but also as an opportunity for social interaction. The interactive possibilities of online communication are such that this social vibrancy could be replicated and expanded, bringing together diverse communities from across the globe. As new research intimates that online gaming is increasingly beneficial to health, communication technology develops, the potential for constant gaming and sociability is very real. As we progress through the exciting new millennium, one fact is becoming increasingly clear: free bingo is here to stay.