Nov 23 2010
The rise in popularity of Internet-based bingo games in recent years is just the latest trend in the story of gambling on the Internet. From the very first moment that the idea of a World Wide Web was mooted, developed, caught the imagination of the public and took off in the 90s, the suitability of the Internet as a format forgambling was quickly noted.
In truth, the idea that the sphere was the perfect place for gamblers to wager stakes on a variety of events is labouring under a misapprehension. Even the most cursory glances through history show that mankind has, from the earliest vestiges of human civilisation,enjoyed gambling in many varied forms. From the earliest Stone Age civilisations through to Roman times and beyond, gaming has alwaysplayed a role in human society in some guise or another. As such, it was not the Internet that allowed gambling to proliferate online, but more humankinds love of a wager that encouraged us to seek to use this relatively new platform and to allow us to gamble in virtual space.
In the early days of the Internet, gambling sites were few in number.This was not down to a lack of popularity but rather more due to a lack of security. In the mid to late 90s, as the Internet quickly began to develop across the World, increasing numbers of businesses were beginning to see the opportunities the Internet could afford them.Gambling sites were among this group but all had the same problem. Financial transactions online were still in their infancy, Internet security was basic at best and all transactions brought with them an element of risk. Clearly, that had to change.
With so many businesses keen to exploit the online market, it was this market force-led pressure that eventually saw online security become a key issue as developers across the globe came up with safe and secure ways to process cash transactions. From the moment it became safe to pay for something online, the Internet as a form of commerce boomed and with that, so did the popularity of gaming sites.
Finding bingo online in those days was not particularly difficult. Indeed, it is reported that within six months of the Internet being launched the first bingo game was being played using it, although it was played purely for entertainment and no cash transactions were involved. The first companies to really begin to exploit the online gambling market were the big bookmaking companies. The advent of secure payment services allowed every major bookmaker to open up their markets online. In addition to that, the birth of the Internet and its immediate nature meant that bookmakers could now offer brand new markets to punters, with forms of gambling in real-time, such as betting in play, starting to gain popularity.
However, not just established high-street bookmakers began to make their presence felt online. Several brand new online-betting companies sprang into existence around this time. This was followed by the development of first betting exchanges. This effectively cut out the third-party and allowed punters to wager directly against themselves rather than an independent bookmaker.
At this time, most of those looking to play bingo online had little by the way of choice. Most of the games on offer were free bingo online games, where the player logged in and played the game with no stake and no reward, but simply for enjoyment. However, as the Internet developed and gambling sites grew bigger and more secure, it was inevitable that new forms of gambling would be developed by companies eager to expandtheir customer base.
Two of the biggest of these have been online poker and bingo games. Both have developed over the same time, roughly at the same pace and both have now achieved great popularity among Internet gamers.
While poker has always been seen as something cool and edgy, bingo has, in contrast, suffered in that many gamblers have formed stereotypes of the average bingo player, generally that this is an older persons game. In fact, research has found that the vast majority of bingo players are aged between 23 and 50 years of age, and that online bingo is now among the most popular leisure activities for women aged between20 and 25 years-old.
Currently, there are 50,000 regular customers in the UK who play bingo via the Internet, and it is understood that half of these play on a daily basis. With this number expected to grow all the time, it is believed that bingo is broadening its appeal to a greater number of demographics.
Clearly, there is room for massive growth in this area and this has resulted in a proliferation of new bingo companies springing up online in recent years. The Internet platform allows these companies to offer brand new versions of the game, such as 75-ball as well as the traditional 90-ball bingo more commonly played in the UK. In addition, games run 24-hours a day, 7 days a week meaning that they are always available for play.
Arguably, the biggest improvements in Internet bingo, which have increased their appeal, have been the chance for players to play no deposit bingo, or free bingo online, meaning they can at least experience the game without spending a penny of their money. Secondly,the improved social aspect of bingo sites, which is now rated as the most important reason that customers play the game in the UK, has ensured that customers do not regard themselves wholly as gamblers, but part of a friendly, shared and likeminded community.
With such a vast, untapped market still available for UK bingo sites,it seems likely that the popularity of bingo as a form of gaming via the Internet is only set to increase.