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Feb
13th

Charity Bingo Goes Online

Bingo and charities share a long history together. The earliest form of bingo, 75 ball bingo, was first introduced in 1929 and it wasn’t long before someone had the idea to use the game to raise money for a good cause. Pastor Charles H. Hagus was the head he Annunciation, a small catholic church in Denver, Colorado. Hagus was forced to hold Catholic education classes in a dilapidated abandoned schoolhouse. Hagus leased the building for $50 a month. After years of funding problems Hagus approached Edwin S. Lowe and asked for permission to use the game to raise money for better educational facilities in his parish. Lowe, who manufactured and marketed bingo games, agreed and a tradition was born. Not only did Hagus raise enough money to remodel the old schoolhouse he purchased the Greek Orthodox Church and moved the Annunciation into the new building.

Today bingo has migrated online and the tradition of charity bingo continues on the internet. Charity internet bingo is a win-win situation for the operator and the charity that benefits from the games. Charity bingo games attract new players that are happy that part of their money is going to a good cause. Internet bingo offers charities another way to raise money in addition to traditional land based games. Internet bingo made its appearance in 1996 when a site offered free games for prizes in exchange for demographic information from players. It took quite a while before the idea of charity bingo games on the internet caught on.

In 2008 the first dedicated charity bingo site, Big Heart Bingo, was launched in the United Kingdom. Charities could sign up at the site and receive a monthly share of the profits generated by the site. There are several ways internet bingo sites link up with charities. Affiliated Charity bingo sites are permanent connections between a charity/charities and an internet bingo site. Big Heart Bingo and Bingo Giving are two examples of affiliated charity bingo sites.

Another version is a site dedicated to a single charity. These are known as dedicated charity bingo. One example of this type of site is Pink Ribbon Bingo that is dedicated to a charity that helps those with breast cancer. Since most bingo players are women this is a cause that garners a lot of support. Other commercial bingo sites have longstanding partnerships with a single charity or charities. These sites host regular charity games.

Since the number of land based bingo players has not increased as fast as the number of online players charities are turning more and more to internet bingo to raise funds. In most cases the moves have been successful and several top celebrities have hosted charity bingo games. It looks like the tradition of charity bingo will continue for many years to come.