Bingo fans have enjoyed the game for hundreds of years, but can we look into our crystal ball to find out what lies ahead for the future of this game now that it’s gone digital? We explore the recent history of the game, how it has evolved, and the possible future for online bingo games.
If you look back at the industry in the 1990s and 2000s, you might faint from shock! Many thought that this game was on its last legs, as bingo halls were closing all over the UK. Anti-smoking legislation, an ageing player base and other challenges seemed to indicate there wasn’t much of a future for this classic game. At least, that’s what people thought.
While the industry may have been struggling to keep bingo halls open, the game was becoming incredibly popular online. The first online bingo gaming website, Bingo Zone, launched back in the 1990s. This was a free-to-play website, which meant no prizes for players, but it was technically the first place you could play bingo online.
Since then, many other companies started their own bingo sites or offered the game as part of their online casino games library, which meant players began to have a much greater choice of where they could play. By ensuring that the real-world game experience carried over and that players could still engage with each other using various online chat features, the foundation was laid for the game to grow in cyberspace. And it certainly has not held anything back!
An additional factor that has undoubtedly played a role in helping the online version of the game to grow even more popular is the invention of the smartphone. This update to mobile phones not only made them easier to use with their “sexy new” touch screens but also gave game developers much more video real estate to play with. This meant games that were once very difficult (if not impossible) to display on a tiny screen were now much easier to bring to mobile. These new devices also allowed many more people to enjoy a quick game on the go – as long as your mobile internet was stable enough! And the rest is history (as they say).
There are a number of possibilities that may occur in the future.
A study by YouGov in 2018, “A full house – who is driving online bingo’s growth?”, found that the largest age group playing online bingo is actually 25- to 34-year-olds, followed by those between the ages of 35 and 44. Quite a shift away from the stereotype, don’t you think?
The YouGov study also found that while it’s still mostly women playing the online version of the game (62%), a surprising number of men are also getting their (virtual) daubers out to make up that other 38%. Maybe more men are joining in because they’re less worried about any gender stereotyping around the game when playing in this format? After all, you’re offered a relative degree of anonymity by an online gaming profile. Someone with the name “BingoLover45” could be any gender! With this extra level of privacy, it’s likely the gender differences will shrink even further over time.
In the past, if you wanted to enjoy online bingo, you really only had the choice between a desktop computer or a laptop. While a laptop is “mobile”, it definitely isn’t as convenient as modern mobile phones and tablets, which are increasingly being used for gaming. An article from TechJury, “How many people play mobile games in 2021 – everything you need to know”, highlighted that 90% of millennials are turning to their smartphones, not their computers, for gaming. Not only that, but some 210 million Americans apparently play on a mobile device!
These numbers may not translate exactly across to the UK, but they do highlight the fact that as mobile devices become more affordable and powerful, people will turn to them for their gaming needs. After all, how cool is it that you can play games with a device that’s easy enough to carry in your pocket? You could play from literally anywhere in the world with internet connectivity!
While nothing can replace sitting with your friends in person and enjoying a fun game of bingo, it’s likely that bingo halls will become more niche as players turn to the convenience of online games. This doesn’t mean that halls will disappear (we’ve had streaming video for a while yet people still love going to the cinema), but that trips to bingo halls will probably become a more special event for players when they feel like going out.
If you’re a bingo player, the idea of playing an online game in a virtual bingo hall where you can sit and enjoy the company of other players in real-time is actually far closer to becoming a reality than you might think. Today you can get a completely stand-alone virtual reality system for as little as £299. But would these virtual gaming spaces ever replace the “traditional” online game? If VR technology becomes affordable and powerful enough, it could well offer more benefits than your typical game and help VR bingo take off!
While there are already thriving online bingo communities, it never hurts to have even more people who enjoy the game you love. Bingo has always been a social game, and not only will future online communities become bigger as more players join, but it’s possible that these communities and bingo sites will invent even more ways to connect with your online buddies who also love the game. Many sites have text-based chatting tools, but voice and maybe even video chat might even become the norm in the future!
While the future of online bingo may be a mystery, there’s one thing you can count on: you can enjoy bingo at Lucky Pants Bingo!
We offer players a variety of bingo games, including 75-ball, 90-ball, and even games like 40-ball bingo! And if you’d like to try out other casino games, you can also play games such as Slingo bingo, online slots, table and card games, and even instant-win scratchcards!
To enjoy all the fun and excitement on offer, register with Lucky Pants Bingo./ 31 May 2021