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What Does the Future of Online Bingo Hold?

March 30, 2018 No Comments

By Harry Dunn, Independent Technology Author

Kids 1 300x141 What Does the Future of Online Bingo Hold?

[Source: Pixabay]

For hundreds of millions of people across the world, bingo is more than just a game – it’s a way of life. Enjoying immense popularity, bingo has gone from local halls to a thriving global business creating countless emotional highs and giving away billions of dollars in prizes every single year along the way.

Today, we tend to imagine bingo as a fixed idea, with a format and rules each of us instinctively understands, but bingo has changed dramatically over the years, advancing with technology and learning valuable lessons from other games of chance to grow larger and larger with each passing year.

It’s been a wild ride for the game of bingo, and in this article, we’ll be looking through bingo’s history, bingo’s present and the future of bingo.

Bingo’s Early Years

Bingo’s exact origins are something of a mystery, but common knowledge has it that bingo actually sprung from Italy, appearing first as Italian lottery ‘Lo Guioco del Lotto D’Italia’ in 1530 before being transported to France under the name ‘Le Lotto’ to entertain wealthy French aristocrats in the late 1770s. From there the game moved around Europe, even being utilised as a teaching aid for mathematics and spelling in Germany!

It wasn’t until the game hit North America in 1929 though that bingo’s evolution truly began to accelerate. Originally brought aboard American shores by New York Toy salesman Edwin S. Lowe under the name ‘Beano’, it was at a carnival near Atlanta, Georgia where Lowe renamed the game ‘Bingo’ following a player accidentally shouting the word rather than the traditional ‘Beano’.

Seeing the enthusiasm from early players, Lowe moved quickly to enlist the services of Carl Leffler, a pioneering Columbia University mathematics professor, to create bingo cards which would increase the number of possible combinations, allowing for greatly expanded numbers of players while reducing the number of conflicts in a single game.

Lowe and Leffler’s cards spread throughout the world with the bingo name in tow, appearing in casinos and dedicated halls, with nations like England moving to legalize bingo in 1960, driving the launch of countless bingo halls and over 14 million members in the UK by 1963.

By the 1990s though, the falling popularity of bingo across the world meant that the traditional bingo hall was failing, putting a question mark over the future viability of the game in an increasingly technologically advanced era.

The Online Bingo Boost

Although the internet was still in its relative infancy, by 1997 it was ready to host its first online bingo games. Powered by random number generators for absolute fairness and still using variations on Leffler’s bingo cards from 1930, online bingo was born.

Although often free to play at first, advances in secure online payment technology and the launch of branded bingo offerings from preexisting bingo hall operators around the globe meant that not only was online bingo legitimised, it was able to offer prize money too.

The move from physical locations to an online environment meant that the number of simultaneous players was able to increase dramatically and, consequently, bingo providers were able to offer significantly higher prize totals. Bingo hasn’t been immune to the broader movements within online gaming either, with many bingo operators moving to offer no deposit bingo with a range of bonuses to entice players.

Kids 2 300x215 What Does the Future of Online Bingo Hold?[Source: Pixabay]

Official global revenue statistics remain elusive for online bingo as they’re often lumped in with general gambling revenue, however, revenue in the UK (a bingo market similar in penetration to that of the USA) hit over £1bn from April 2016 to March 2017. Taken globally, it is safe to assume those numbers will reach well over double-digit billions, proving that that basic bingo formula is just about as bulletproof as they come.

Perhaps the largest driver for growth in the modern era though has been the rapid expansion of casino gaming onto portable smart devices like smartphones and tablets. Powerful HTML5-based websites and apps have moved bingo from a sit-down experience into one which you can take anywhere and play at any time. It’s meant that more than ever before, everyone has access to bingo.

The Future of Online Bingo

With online bingo enjoying immense global popularity, it’s natural to wonder where bingo will go next. With the web conquered and countless bingo game operators enjoying a presence on smartphones and tablets with dedicated apps, what can bingo do to stay relevant in an era of unparalleled gaming innovation?

Much of online bingo’s future will hinge on its ability to attract more male players, who currently make up around a quarter of all players. However, the bigger trend will be expanding to new technologies and innovating on the core formula of bingo, incorporating exciting new rules and typing bingo in with other gaming properties.

It’s a shift we’ve seen with countless classic casino games like poker, slots and blackjack, which have grown dramatically thanks to the introduction of specialist game modes which optimize the playing experience for time conscious players and those who are simply seeking a more streamlined mode.

Further to the future success of online bingo will be effectively bridging the gap between the in-hall bingo experience and the online bingo experience. Many online bingo websites have introduced social elements with chat rooms and the ability to chat with friends live, but there remains work to do to improve the live communal gaming experience.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned throughout the almost 500-year history of bingo, though, it’s that the game itself is pure, undeniable entertainment – entertainment which is more than happy to move forward with advancing technologies.

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