Industry Experts Talk About Mobile and Social Bingo

Mobile and social bingo games have rapidly grown and expanded and are now set to overtake traditional land based and internet bingo games. Just a few short years ago mobile bingo was a novelty and bingo operators struggled to make the games compatible with the small screens on most mobile devices. Early mobile applications did not give players access to chat rooms and side games that required larger screens. Thanks to technological advances mobile and social bingo are now hot industry topics. A new brochure by Bullet Business, the sponsors of the annual online bingo summit in London, polled three industry experts ahead of this year’s event.

Experts polled were Phil Fraser, the summit’s chairman, Clair Osborne, head of digital operations at Mecca Bingo and Aiden Shortt, an interactive gambling consultant. Osborne said it has taken the internet bingo industry quite a while to adapt to mobile bingo. Osborn says that now that mobile bingo products are out there operators are “doing a good job of offering a good alternative to online.” Using Mecca as an example she said that half of the players using Mecca’s mobile app play exclusively through their smartphones and mobile devices.

Shortt agreed that the bingo industry had taken its own sweet time developing mobile bingo apps but said there was a reason for the delay. Shortt said that internet bingo is chiefly driven by chat and a sense of community and said that smartphones don not lend themselves to chat and community. He did say that tablets may be better for the game and said “not necessarily the iPad, which maybe isn’t right for the average bingo players” but less expensive devices would provide the full mobile bingo experience with chat.

Fraser agreed with his colleagues that mobile bingo has some technical issues that need to be resolved. Fraser said that most bingo sites are seeing more mobile traffic and that they will have to deliver a product acceptable to players to keep them coming back for more. Fraser also agreed that tablets are better than smartphones for providing the social experience of bingo.

Online bingo and social gaming are more compatible than poker and social gaming says Shortt. He said that this is because for most players bingo is all about the social experience and winning cash is secondary for most players. Fraser said monetizing social bingo will be a challenge for the industry. Frasier said the industry needs to work together with networking sites like Facebook. Interestingly enough Facebook will make its first appearance at this year’s Online Bingo Summit in May.