A Short History of Internet Bingo in the UK

When the first internet bingo games appeared in the late 1990’s most bingo players considered the games boring and lifeless compared to live bingo games. Increased broadband access and faster internet speeds made it possible for bingo operators to provide players with more sophisticated bingo games and a selection of side games. In the early days of internet bingo games had to be downloaded taking up a lot of computer space. Thanks to flash and java technology no download games of the same quality as downloadable games became available to bingo players. From 2000 on internet bingo started to grow in the UK, Europe and the US. The online gaming industry paved the way for the bingo sector and online Blackjack, Roulette and Craps were already flourishing when internet bingo was introduced. The success of online gaming prompted the success of software providers such as Cryptologic, Microgaming, Boss Media and others.

In 2006 several events took place that profoundly affected the internet bingo industry. The passage of anti online gambling legislation in the US sent shock waves through the internet gaming industry. In the UK a national smoking ban sent thousands of bingo players online making up for the loss of American players. Between 2006 and 2010 internet bingo sites saw the number of players increase by 80%. During the same years internet bingo expanded into new territories such as Spain and the Scandinavian countries.  Many internet bingo operators abandoned the US market in favor of the UK bingo market.

One of the major factors contributing to the success of internet bingo is the switch in bingo demographics. Once thought of as a game for pensioners bingo suddenly became trendy with younger computer literate players. Most internet bingo players are much younger than their land based counterparts. The rise of internet bingo has also been good for the land based bingo sector and many younger internet bingo players now play both internet and land based bingo. There has also been an increase in male bingo players. Men who would not be caught dead in a live bingo hall are playing internet bingo.  Some current estimates say that the number of regular internet bingo players in the UK is in excess of 250,000.

The future of internet bingo in the UK seems assured. This year many bingo sites are expected to unveil new mobile applications that will increase the number of regular internet bingo players and provide the industry with increased profits. Currently the number of bingo sites serving the UK market is about 400 and new sites are launched weekly. Internet bingo is now the fastest growing sector of the online gambling industry.