Bingo has come a long way. It’s thought that origin of bingo date back as far as 16th century Italy when it was known as a game called Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia (The Italian Lotto). Later, the French created bingo cards and developed the game further. Fast forward as far as the 1920s and the idea of a “house” game took off in the USA and the nation coined the term “bingo” itself. Around the 1960s, the game started to enjoy popularity in the UK and, as time went by, began to feel distinctively British.
That’s a lot of history, but now you don’t have to wander into a bingo hall to enjoy the game. In today’s internet age, you can simply visit a website and play the much-loved game online.
How the internet changed bingo for the better
There was a time when people saw bingo as a game for the older generations, who would play it in smoke-filled bingo halls. In the late 1990s, bingo’s popularity was starting to dwindle. The game was beginning to look and feel stale.
The internet was materializing, however, and things were about to get interesting as nations moved into the 21st century. Businesses were beginning to invest in online gambling, especially in online casinos, and in the mid-noughties only a few entrepreneurs had invested in online bingo sites. They’d spotted the potential and these sites mimicked the success of the online casinos. Soon, there was a wave of investment in online bingo as others realized what they could be missing out on.
The all-important dopamine hit
Many consider bingo a social activity. You go out, meet up with friends, play a few games… maybe win some money, maybe not, but either way, you enjoy yourself. Online operators realized people wanted the good feelings that winning gave them, however. Online bingo gave them this dopamine hit. Playing online is more about the pursuit and enjoyment of a win.
The chat functions
That being said… online bingo operators have realized that even though players are chasing the win and the feeling that comes with it, they still want to communicate and socialize a little. Some make this possible by incorporating a chat function into their platforms so that players can message each other while they play. It’s a good opportunity for players to connect with each other. It’s also a win for the operators, who see their customers engage more with the platform and get more out of it.
Many people played bingo in bingo halls for the social aspect, therefore online operators mirrored the social aspect online by including an online chat room.
Bingo is mobile and appeals to a younger audience
The fact bingo has gone online has allowed it to become mobile; and the fact it’s become mobile has opened the game up to a younger, tech-savvy audience. Young people aren’t just logging into social media on the phones; they’re playing bingo and waiting for that full house to come up!
The availability of bingo on mobile devices has even improved the experience for players in bingo halls. People who want to socialize and enjoy the more traditional bingo experience can play on tablets, which allows them to sit in a lounge, have something to eat, and chat while they follow the game. They don’t disturb the players who prefer the hushed silence of the halls. In the UK, this has seen the bingo halls claw back some of their popularity from the purely online sphere.
As many bingo sites are now available on a mobile phone, the game has attracted a new demographic with younger people signing up to play.
Normally, if you visit a bingo hall, you pay your money and you either win or lose, whether you’ve played before or not. Online bingo offers players an advantage: free trials and no-deposit bonuses. If you are wanting to play bingo online, you can sign-up for a no deposit bonus which allows you to play a game of bingo, get used to the platform itself, and see if the game is to your taste, all for free! You will then have the option to deposit your own money if you get a feel for and like the game.
Free trials and sign-up bonuses aren’t the only advantages that the entry of bingo into the cybersphere has gifted its customers. Online operators also offer loyalty schemes that allow them to earn points when they make a deposit (and also when they win). They can then exchange these points for rewards. The more points the players earn, the higher they move up the different levels of the scheme. Potential rewards and perks include free bingo cards, cashback, slots bonuses, birthday gifts, access to member-only promotions or private bingo rooms, and more.
One of the unbridled joys of online bingo is the variety the internet has brought to it. Players don’t always have to stick with the standard format. Some games have 90 balls. Some have 30. Some have 75 or 80. Not only that, there are also different jackpots: escalator (which is better to win early as it gets easier to win as the game goes on), community (a share of which you win, even if you lose) and, perhaps the most exciting of all, the progressive jackpot (which rolls over to the following game if no one wins it).
Bingo has come a long way since its early days in 16th century Italy. No one could have predicted just how far technology would carry it forward. Whether bingo is “cool” or not is another matter, but now it’s popular with young people, too, rather than just the older generations. You can but wonder what interesting developments will happen next in the industry.