Wayne's tombola Review
I absolutely love tombola, and if you haven't tried it yet I recommend you click on the link above and check them out. They're my #1 pick on my Best Bingo Sites page and I can't speak highly enough of them.
They are 'Britain's Biggest Bingo Site' for a reason, and for me their popularity comes down to four things:
- Unique Games
- Great Community
- Safe Play
- Low Cost
Right from the start, tombola decided to differentiate themselves from the crowd by building all their own bingo games in-house. This means that every single game in tombola is 100% unique.
Unlike other bingo software providers, tombola's games are designed in a minimalist fashion, with the focus on bingo and chat. You don't get loads of annoying side-games thrown in your face, and particularly since mobile bingo took off they've managed the move to mobile-first better than anyone. There are loads of truly imaginative bingo variants, most of which simply you can't play anywhere else. Plus, they're adding new games all the time.
I'm not one for getting too involved in the chat, but at tombola you can see that the players and chat hosts here do have a great bond going on. The chat hosts are all UK based (Sunderland area) and the ethos is all about getting more people engaged in the community, rather than getting more money out to them. The hosts are allowed to give away £1 bonuses regularly on chat games. I even won £2 the other day in a quick quiz the host did, after which I discovered that's the limit you can win in one week!
It helps that the chat window in tombola's rooms gets a lot of real estate. It usually takes up half the window if you're playing on desktop, and if you're on mobile it's probably the best experience of chatting and playing bingo at the same time. Something many other bingo softwares struggle with getting right.
When there is no game in play, the chat on mobile expands to full screen, but once a game begins, it shrinks but just enough so you can see your best ticket at the top. It still leaves you with a large enough chat area so that when you're typing (and your keyboard pops up) you can still follow the game and the chat. It sounds a simple thing, but too many other sites have got this horribly wrong and it puts you off chatting completely at some brands.
The on-site community is backed up by an active social media presence on Facebook & Instagram. They are all definitely worth a follow as they'll keep you informed of the latest promotions as well as running all sorts of fun competitions to win merch and other tombola prizes.
Tombola were a pioneer when it comes to all things responsible gambling, having developed loads of safe play tools years before they became the norm (and enforced on sites by the UK Gambling Commission).
I'm not sure if they still do this, but I remember they once gave me a £1 bonus just for setting a weekly deposit limit. That kind of thing was absolutely unheard of in this industry. I've been to tombola's HQ in Sunderland and spoken to the people there, and I was impressed by how the staff were not incentivised to increase player's spend.
When you first sign-up, your weekly deposit limit is set to a default of £250 per week, which is locked for 24 hours. After this period you can go in and change it to whatever works best for you. The maximum the site will allow to be spent in one week is £500. Plus, if your balance is ever over £250 they will not allow further deposits to be made.
Other safeplay tools at your disposal are:
- Stake limits - set limits for individual games.
- Timekeeper - alerts you to how much time you've spent on the site.
- Game Freeze - stops you from playing a specific game for 24 hours.
- Cooling Off - self exclude for up to 5 months.
- Self Exclusion - self exclude 6+ months or permanently.
Perhaps the biggest reason for tombola's success has been their strategy of keeping ticket prices low while maintaining the ability to win decent sized prizes. Across the board there is a limit of £2 on every single game, and they have games that play for as little as 1p.
What this means is whatever your budget you can find a place to play, and play there for hours. It also means that every room has the potential to be a fair-and-square room, so you know you're not at a disadvantage compared to some sites where a player with deeper pockets than you might be maxing out on every game to increase their chances to win