Tech and Trends:- Some games have legs. Like a marathon runner, they just keep on going. It doesn’t matter what new technology platform is developed, or how people might come together in different ways to play them online, there are some games that just keep on going, retaining a seemingly timeless popularity.
Top of the pile – and a game that has a unique ability to appeal across the board – is bingo. There is something so innately innocent, so simple and so transparent that makes it incredibly difficult not to feel good when you hear the word.
Sites like Bingowinner.com, mirrorbingo.com and sunbingo.com offer up exactly that sort of free and easy, uncomplicated gaming experience. It is a consistent characteristic of such sites that the game of bingo itself is the star of the show, and there is very little that gets in the way of that. bingo.winner.com as a site specialising purely in bingo, and as one that is not branded by a national newspaper title is wholly representative of this key commitment to the game itself.
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It might be easy to sniff at something that is so straightforward, but the online bingo industry is bigger than you might think. According to the portal site whichbingo.co.uk there are 416 such sites operating in the UK alone, and the UK’s Gambling Commission report reveals that between them they account for more than £34 million of revenue. Internationally, that figure is estimated as more than a billion!
Bearing in mind that the average wager is in likely to be in the small change bracket, that points to an awful lot of players! Comparisons with other forms of gambling like online casinos tend to be misleading since the industries are measured in terms of their economic activity. With casino players sometimes wagering thousands of pounds the comparison with bingo – where the average spend is measured in pennies – makes little sense.
A more realistic measure is the growth of the online bingo market relative to the recent decline in the number of people playing the game in traditional bingo halls. Mecca, who are the most identifiable high street bingo brand, report that as much as a fifth of their revenue is generated online. And that proportion is growing steadily.
Chancellor George Osborne attracted some publicity earlier this year when, in a bid to prop up the ailing bingo halls, he halved the duty on bingo from 20% to 10%. The move was widely welcomed by the industry, but it seems as though the game itself is steadily migrating from bricks and mortar physical premises to the web.
Figures suggest that twice as many women as men play bingo, and there is no doubt that it is typically seen as more of a female pastime – in the same way that sports betting is seen as a typically laddish pursuit. It will be interesting to see whether that changes as the game develops online. There is no innate reason why bingo should appeal to one demographic more than any other. The whole point of it is that it is immediately accessible to anyone.
That universal appeal represents a formula that has already stood the test of time, and there is no reason to suppose that is about to change any time soon. Bingo still has legs.