Ten years ago bingo, such a popular pastime worldwide, was at risk of fading away. Traditional brick-and-mortar bingo halls were rapidly in decline, and between the years 2000 and 2010 revenue had decreased from $250,000 to $50,000 in Ontario alone. In the US, Ohio recorded a 50% drop in revenue between 2005 and 2012. The UK was also affected, and 200 halls closed down between 2005 and 2014. This decline was brought about through things such as raised taxes and smoking bans, and led people to fear that in another ten years bingo could become obsolete.


But that hasn’t been the case. Instead, the game has been transplanted to an online setting where it is becoming even more renowned than it was before. In fact, the success of the online bingo sites is helping real-world bingo halls undergo a renaissance as well. Here we take a look at the rise of the online bingo site and what it could mean for the future of the game.


How Online Bingo Sites Changed the Game


10357675_1430427123886875_4014952570706429658_o.jpg

Source: The Sun Bingo via Facebook


Online bingo sites initially faced an uphill struggle. They had to somehow attract diehard players while bringing in people who were new to the game. The biggest obstacles were replicating the classic bingo callers drawing the balls and the social aspect that goes hand in hand with the game. These two things are synonymous with bingo, and without them it would be no different from any other single-player game.


Live chat on the internet is becoming more prevalent, with 50% of people having used it in 2009 compared to 64% in 2012. The time has been ripe for websites to take advantage of chat features and online bingo is one of the leading sectors. Sites like Sun Bingo have a community in which players can make friends with other users while playing the games. This is mainly done through the chat feature, where multiple users can meet and discuss hilarious topics put forward by the chat hosts. These are things that may have been discussed down at the bingo hall, such as players deliberating which celebrity they would most like to marry.


Perhaps the main reason that bingo sites are hitting new heights of popularity is the fact that they also offer other games. In 2010 it was found that 12% of women played bingo but only 6% of men. But men play more slot games, so sites have begun to offer the spinning reels to coax more men to their sites. From there, they may then be tempted to partake in a few games of bingo.


Bingo Kicking it with the Big Boys at ICE


16649351_613322005525608_9178509383187052812_n.jpg


Source: ICE Totally Gaming via Facebook


The ICE Totally Gaming convention is an annual event that showcases the best up-and-coming things in the world of gaming. It has featured some big-gun developers showing off their latest inventions, such as the VR Roulette game by Microgaming introduced last year. This year the convention featured a whole expanded area dedicated to the land-based casino sector.


Miles Baron, the Chief Executive of the Bingo Association said: “Securing a focal point for land-based operators has given new impetus for our members and others involved in the land based sector to attend the show, and marks a resurgence for land based bingo.” This event has shown the strength of the bingo community, and in the future it wouldn’t be surprising to see more collaboration between land-based and online bingo operators.


There is certainly a lot of scope for market expansion. As noted before, a lot of online bingo sites have begun to offer casino games as well. Could the land-based bingo halls go down the same route and team up with brick-and-mortar casinos? A site like Sun Bingo has a lot of potential to grow exponentially as it is an offshoot of one of the most famous newspapers in England. Due to factors like these, in the years to come bingo popularity could rise to even greater levels.


Bingo never really left, but it had certainly taken a step back from the forefront of the gaming sector. Now, with the help of community support, expansion, and the online sector, it’s muscling its way back.