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Online Bingo – How An Old Game Survived
Thanks To The Internet

You don’t need to be an expert on gaming, or even a dedicated gamer to know that the internet changed things, it changed how we play games, it gave game developers a lot more options and opportunities when it comes to game development, in a nutshell, it changed everything.

We’re not saying that there were no exciting video games before the age of the internet, there were many, including some all-time classics like Super Mario Bros, Popeye, Duck Hunt and more. Many of these games had sequels that were released years later.

Video games vs Conventional games

A typical distinction between conventional and video games was made in the older days, and typically, video games were played by the younger generations, whereas older folks were more into games like chess, checkers and the game that is the focus of this article – bingo.

Firstly, let’s go through the history of this game and how it became popular, at least briefly. Bingo and lotto have the same ancestor, a game that was popular in 16th century Italy. It wasn’t until the late 18th century that this game made its way to the English-speaking world where it became known as bingo.

90-ball and 75-ball bingo

There are two main most popular variants of bingo – 75-ball bingo and 90-ball bingo. The former is the most played version in the US, whereas 90-ball bingo is major on the other side of the Atlantic, in the UK. Both versions are classics, but generally, 75-ball bingo is considered to be a lot more dynamic variant where there are multiple options regarding winning combinations and prizes. 90-ball bingo, on the other hand has three possible winning combinations – a single line, two lines and full house.

Land-based bingo halls

Players would get at their local bingo hall at the time when a game was scheduled, and they would try their luck while having a friendly conversation with their friends or neighbours. Let’s take the example of the UK, a country where bingo is immensely popular and has been since the end of the WWII, but especially after the 1960 Betting and Gaming Act was passed and the status of bingo was regulated.

At one point, the number of bingo halls in the UK reached 700, but currently, that number is halved, i.e. there are only about 350 bingo halls in Britain. However, that should not be considered an indication of a decline of the game’s popularity, as we hinted in the title, the internet saved bingo.

Popularisation of online bingo

The trend of closure of conventional bingo halls began at the same time as the popularisation of online bingo games. Still, one should not conclude that online bingo killed bingo, the opposite is actually the case, it caused the revival of a once mega-popular game which was slowly becoming old-fashioned. Namely, bingo was primarily popular with older folks and it was quite uncommon to see many people younger than 50 at bingo halls throughout the UK. It looked like bingo was going to die together with the last generation that found it interesting. However, it turns out that bingo is here to stay, as Brits rediscovered their love of bingo.

When the first online bingo sites appeared, people were sceptical for two reasons. Firstly, as we mentioned, bingo was primarily popular with older folks, and they weren’t exactly keen to get hooked on the internet, at least in the early days. So, there was a legitimate worry that older folks won’t be exactly rushing to online bingo sites to play their favourite game. Everybody thought that they would stick to their local bingo halls.

For the young and the old

On the other hand, it was also not expected that younger folks would suddenly become interested in bingo. So, weirdly enough, it seemed that online bingo was a lost cause, as there wasn’t a target audience that’s large enough to justify its existence.

Both of the raised issues that we mentioned above turned out to be non-issues, i.e. the exact opposite was the case. Not only did older folks get used to the internet and everything that comes with it, but also online bingo managed to hook younger folks on bingo as well. If you visit an online bingo site and play bingo at one of the rooms, you will see that the average age is a lot lower compared to the average age range at a conventional bingo hall.
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