One of the success stories of the smartphone era is the online casino and, in turn, the online bingo industry. Both have capitalised on a population, more mobile, more online and more connected than ever before.
The casino market has always had a vested interest in innovation, in an effort to stay one step ahead of the voracious competition, and they were early adopters of the opportunities that arose from the advent of the internet. While casinos have enjoyed continued success since their inception, bingo halls have experienced peaks and troughs in popularity over the past 100 years.
Bingo’s Near Demise
Bingo became a national pastime in post-war Britain, especially at seaside resorts around the country. But over the following decades it struggled to attract new players and its fan base grew older.
By the 1990s, with the closure of many bingo halls across the UK, it would seem that the game’s days were numbered. And it would be the internet that would turn out to be the component to rescue it from the brink of obscurity.
The new online bingo was marketed to a younger audience that were more familiar with emerging technologies and more likely to use the internet as a means of entertainment. It proved to be an instant hit and amassed droves of fans in a very short period of time.
This change of fortune had a knock-on effect on brick and mortar bingo halls in the real world. With a new, younger fan base at their disposal, physical venues began marketing bingo nights to friend groups as an alternative to the pub or the nightclub.
The campaign was successful and bingo hall numbers bounced back. Fast forward to the 2020s and apps reign supreme – bingo has established itself as a mainstay among gamers alongside more traditional casino and card games like poker. Reliable online bingo operators like Jackpotjoy are now trusted by thousands of regular players, some beginners, some seasoned pros to provide a professional and exciting bingo experience 24/7.
The Continued Growth of Online Casinos
The online casino industry on the other hand has enjoyed unprecedented success, year on year with the only real threat coming internally, from the amount of competition within the market. The public has made it clear that they enjoy the opportunity to play their favourite casino games at their own convenience – from any location and at any hour they wish.
Globally, legislation has moved toward a more progressive stance on online gaming, with many large markets making space for the enterprises within their laws – the EU, the USA, Canada and Australia being notable examples. This added freedom for casino operators has opened up new potential customers for developers to provide products for.
Casino Games vs. Bingo
There is, of course, some overlap between the online casino and online bingo markets, with many of the bigger providers offering both services, if not on the same website, through sister companies. Online casinos tend to provide a range of traditional casino games, from roulette to blackjack and baccarat and a selection of slots.
While many online bingo providers also have some slot machine options for its members, the focus is primarily on the game of bingo and many of its variations. Slingo is a popular bingo derivative which combines the best parts of slots and bingo into one solo player game, and a variety of Slingo games are often found among bingo providers.
Casinos have principally and historically been the haunts of men. There are exceptions but if you were to visit the average casino, most of the patrons would likely be male.
Online casinos have begun to redress that balance with more women feeling comfortable playing casino games in private, away from a typically masculine domain but membership numbers are still heavily skewed toward the male gender. Online bingo, however, became the first online gaming pursuit where more women were taking part than men.
This phenomenon is highlighted by the number of providers whose marketing strategy is focussed directly at female gamers – with pink themes and adverts displaying women enjoying the game. There is also a marked difference between the atmosphere of online casinos/poker sites and online bingo.
Much like the jovial ambience of many bingo halls compared to an often serious air of some casinos, online bingo sites tend to have more of a community feel. Operators often include chat features and forums for its members to interact and connect with one another.
Casinos on the other hand are inclined toward solo gaming and many of the games feel competitive as if players are directly competing against one another. It could be argued that other bingo players are also competitors – since the more people with tickets in the lobby, the lower your chances of a win – but the prevailing feeling is one of support and camaraderie.
The social aspect is what, most noticeably, separates the two experiences. The more solitary experience of an online casino, with players focused on their own games and trying to win as much money as possible, is enjoyed by many but for others, there’s something missing. The opportunity to socialise alongside the games is what makes online bingo more fun and engaging for many players.