BBC Says Internet Bingo Thriving in the UK

A recent BBC report told Britons what everyone already knew; that internet bingo is thriving in the UK. In 2007 the UK imposed a national smoking ban that was probably the best thing that has ever happened to the internet bingo industry. Player numbers immediately soared as smokers registered en masse at British bingo sites. Land based operators launched their own internet bingo sites to remain profitable and survive in a stagnant global economy.

Anita HeffernBBC Says Internet Bingo Thriving in the UKan, 50, is a typical internet bingo player. She spends two or three hours playing internet bingo on a typical evening. Heffernan told reporters “”It is a hobby. I would much rather do that than spend a night out in town.” Heffernan says she does not play for the money and told reporters that her biggest bingo win was about £400. There has been a rapid rise in bingo site numbers in the UK. In 2004 there were only about 20 internet bingo sites and today there are about 350 according to gaming experts. Since bingo is closely associated with the camaraderie of an evening spent playing bingo at a hall internet bingo could easily be seen as being at odds with the reason most people play bingo.

Many bingo halls in the UK are showing their age but millions still patronize the halls. Many of the largest bingo halls are converted cinemas and are capable of holding thousands of players. Bingo is a game of pure chance and ne special skills are necessary to play. 90 ball bingo is the most popular bingo variant in the UK. In most halls the caller uses colorful ‘bingo lingo’ when calling the numbers. There is hardly a commercial television break in the UK without at least one advertisement for an internet bingo site.

Most marketing efforts are aimed at women since they dominate the game with their numbers. It has been estimated that almost 90% of all bingo players are female. Many men play internet bingo to avoid trips to bingo halls where they may feel uncomfortable. University of Glasgow’s Prof Gerda Reith, an expert in gambling and addiction, told the BBC “They’re trying to appeal to people they know like bingo and get them to play online. That’s women.”

Anni Nevison, 21, is an avid internet bingo player and is typical of those targeted by bingo marketers. Nevison explained why she liked playing internet bingo and told reporters “I get excitement and friendship. You go into a bingo site and it’s like a little family, it’s so chatty.” Experts say that chat rooms are key to the appeal of internet bingo. Many online bingo sites allow players to mark their cards automatically so they can focus on chatting with other players. In addition bingo is one of the most affordable games on the internet and bingo cards can cost as little as a penny.

Bingo is also free of the social stigma carried by most forms of gambling. Griffiths stated “People conceptualise it as a bit of harmless fun, a harmless flutter and even though they know it’s a form of gambling, they never use the word.” Bingo remains popular in the UK and the Gambling Commission’s 2010 British Gambling Prevalence Survey suggested that 12% of all women in the UK play bingo.