The game of Bingo is over 2000 years old, originating from Italy. Its popularity grew and it spread all across Europe and eventually into the US where the trend for playing the game in church halls and community centres was introduced. It was when the internet was introduced in 1996 that the real overhaul of the industry began as bingo company owners saw the huge opportunity to introduce an online version of the game that could reach a global audience. It soon became one of the biggest online trends. Thanks to the continuing evolution of technology, online bingo is now seen as more of a social activity with technology facilitating the trend for online bingo communities.
Most people who play online bingo do not consider it to be a form of online gambling, they see it as a social activity and a chance to network and chat to fellow gamers via the chat rooms. Thanks to this social aspect, the online bingo industry is now made up of 15% of its players being under the age of 24 as this is the generation that understands social networking and technology. The rest of the demographic is also a surprise as is a huge change from the historical bingo hall market, 16% are aged between 25 and 34 and 25% are aged between 35 and 49. This means that approximately 50% of online bingo players are under the age of 50 which is a complete overhaul of the historical bingo hall market.
70% of the online bingo market are females and this is again attributed to the social networking side of the industry. There are a number of ways players can communicate with each other and build relationships:
- Chat rooms are available on most online bingo sites. These are effectively instant messaging services where players meet and greet each other. There is etiquette behind the interaction which is managed by the ‘chat master’ therefore if anyone breaks the code of conduct, their account will be shut down.
- Some sites like Bingodrome offer Facebook like features where players can create profiles, upload photos, create groups etc.
- Some online bingo companies are replicating the concept of Skype where community members have access to a webcam cam or a ‘bingocam’ as they refer to it, so members can talk to each other face to face.
There is no doubt that technology has completely revolutionised the online bingo industry. With so many ways to communicate digitally these days, the bingo industry will continue to capitalise upon this in order to remain competitive.
- Online bingo – an unusual way to make friends? (bingo.cyberbingo.com)
- What is the History Behind Online Bingo No Deposit Bonus? (bingo.cyberbingo.com)
Gamble Aware (www.gambleaware.co.uk) is managed by the Responsibility in Gambling Trust, an independent charity which funds treatment, research and education about responsible gambling. The website has been developed by a Task Force made up of representatives from the Gambling Commission, DCMS, academia and industry.