Thanks to Bill Gates and the rise of the internet, Bingo has become more and more popular across the UK. It seems the noughties aren’t just about twerking and Justin Bieber after all!
We’ve certainly come a long way from when the game first began in 1500s Italy where it was known as Il Gioco del Lotto. It later moved across to France (Le Lotto), Germany (Tombola) and at last hit the UK sometime in the 1700s (Bingo!)
However, since 2005, Bingo halls have seen a definite loss of profit and many have even closed down completely. The number of clubs in Britain has in fact gone down by a third, from 600 in 2005 to 400 in 2014! Of course, we could blame this on any number of factors, from the recession to bans on public smoking. However, we prefer to blame it on a much happier prospect, one dear to our own hearts – THE INTERNET!
Did you know that at least 76% of British adults access the internet every day? Or that most of us have a smart phone within hands reach at all times? This is frightening stuff, but one thing is clear; everything is going digital, it was just a matter of time before bingo caught up!
As far as we can see, there are many reasons why online bingo is sweeping the nation. First and foremost, it’s convenient. There’s nothing easier than whipping out your phone or smashing some buttons on the PC. It probably takes at most one minute out of your day, and it saves all us lazy lugs the journey out to a proper bingo hall.
Not to mention, online bingo sites are able to use something called a random number generator, ensuring a fair game is carried out with no possible cheating. The sites themselves are regulated by respective national gambling commissions (E.g. Gibraltar or the Isle of Man), where strict policies are enforced to promote safety, security and emotional well-being. Even bingo halls acknowledge the power of the internet, with many big name brands like Gala operating both a website and physical club locations.
Another factor that makes online bingo ‘all the rage’, is its online chat feature. In land-based bingo halls, chatting is out right forbidden and the atmosphere is tense. However, online chats are encouraged at bingo websites, with most companies employing a ‘chat host’ to moderate and excite conversations. This has led to lots of exclusive bingo lingo and slang, such as WDW – “Well Done Winners”. Also, a certain etiquette, or ‘chatiquette’, has developed to ensure there is no online abuse. After all, a sense of community and fun is a big lure for consumers, especially in a female target market. Let’s face it, all girlies like a good natter now and then, we know us WDW girls do!
Of course, when talking about anything on the internet, there is one site you must always mention. You know what we’re talking about – Facebook. As was the way with Farmville and Candy Crush, Facebook have managed to turn a simple thing like Bingo into one of the most fantastically addictive games online. Enjoy ‘power-ups’ which give individual players a winning advantage, or try your best to collect, buy and share virtual items with friends. The game inevitably becomes an on-screen adventure. Some great examples of Facebook bingo games are BamBam Bingo, Bingo Blitz and Bingo Island.
Bingo sites also include a lot of nifty features, such as auto-daub, as seen on Booty Bingo. This marks off the ticket numbers as they are called, leaving the player more time for chatting, browsing slots and other addictive web activities. Some sites even offer an option to automatically sort/highlight player tickets depending on how likely they are to bingo. Although, we do miss all the novelty dauber pens you get in proper bingo clubs – we used to have a great Elvis shaped one!
Plus, there’s also gambling on your mobile to take into account. Lots of people nowadays are accessing the internet on the go, from bus commutes to sleepovers. There are even bingo apps to download, making your experience that much quicker and more streamlined.
However, there are some downsides to this modern bingo madness. For example, it’s illegal to play proper bingo if you’re under 18, because after all, bingo is technically gambling. Heck, just entering a bingo hall or club is illegal for minors of the UK! You may laugh, but bingo IS an area where people can suffer from problem gambling and addiction. Unfortunately, the internet gives players a lot more anonymity. This makes it easier for vulnerable youngsters to fool their way into an online bingo site, potentially spending away all their savings, and then some. Most bingo sites even offer links to online poker and casino games, trying to turn bingo players into even bigger high rollers for their own profits.