Bingo’s rich and extensive history stretches across almost five hundred years in different forms. Over the past decades, more and more people have moved to the digital sphere of the Internet. With the evolution of the Internet, a question begs to be answered: is the bingo industry keeping up with the developments of online games? Today, bingo is in competition with countless online games, from casino games like poker and blackjack to other online game categories that can be easily accessed with the tap of a finger.
With the increasing integration of the Internet into our daily lives, what does it mean for the Bingo industry? Is there still room for new bingo sites to emerge? Could this lead to the rise or potential downfall of Bingo?
Bingo’s rich history
Bingo’s origins date back to a game that was played in Italy from the 16th century, which was known as “Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia”. It is an Italian name that is loosely translated as “The Italian Lottery Game”. As opposed to other games that involved gambling like baccarat and poker have longer histories than the 1530s Italian lottery, bingo focused more on chance rather than the players’ abilities. It was all about luck when players participated in the game. Resultantly, it was one of the first few games of chance to garner recognition.
The game continued to expand across Europe, followed by the emergence of a new adaption of the game known as “Le Lotto”. It became a well-liked activity within France. In fact, the player card arrangement that is no stranger to the people of today was introduced by the game. In the period of expansionism and the rise of the European empires, the game started to evolve throughout the United Kingdom, Germany, and eventually all around the world.
By the time the 20th century came around, the game of chance known today as 90-ball bingo and its companion playing cards had become mainstream. It went by many different names and fascinatingly was more frequently used in educational institutions as educational devices to teach children mathematics and for them to learn how to deal with numbers than for gambling purposes. Around the 1920s, a standardized game design was implemented by Hugh J. Ward and used in carnivals in Pittsburgh. Later in 1933, he then registered for the copyright of a book containing rules in a game known as “Beano”.
In 1929, Edwin Lower, a merchandiser, chanced upon the game at a carnival around Atlanta. By then, it was already becoming increasingly popular in America. However, his friends were introduced to it when he brought it back to them in New York and adored the game. Resultantly, Edwin knew that he hit the jackpot, and developed and mass-produced two varieties of the game. By 1940, people throughout the country were playing the game known as “Bingo”.
Being acclaimed as one of the top gambling games in terms of popularity towards the end of the 20th century, Bingo, which was previously played using playing cards, beans that were dried, and stamps made out of rubber, had quickly transformed into a powerful industry with their own assigned halls recruiting close to 20 thousand employees in the United Kingdom.
Online gambling’s turbulent rise and fall
As a phenomenon as medieval as the rise of civilization, gambling turned to the Internet as a source of redemption, leading to its renewal. During the prosperous period for online gambling back in the early part of the 2000s, poker surfaced at the top of this thriving industry. Top players clinched huge poker sponsorships and games were being broadcasted on television shows into the late nights to millions of viewers globally. The success was short-lived as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was introduced by then-President George W. Bush, causing an immediate criminalization of almost all forms of online gambling in America. As a result, well-known operators such as PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker were forced to relinquish their assets to the government for processing transactions that were deemed illegal overnight.
Even though a majority of online gambling were still illegal in most states throughout
The United States, gambling activity increased tremendously in other parts of the world. This caused the US to suffer more losses than the growth in places that chose to enact gambling laws over banning gambling activities, such as Asia and Europe. For example, the UK enacted the Gambling Act in 2004, creating safer and secure environments for gamblers and garnering notable amounts of profit for Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs.
Bingo’s place in today’s digital sphere
Online bingo has flourished along with other online gambling games such as sports betting and poker in the United Kingdom. Many online firms for this Italian lotto run costly campaigns across the nation advertising the game and they even sponsor famous teams in sports. Similar to poker, other free online games such as bingo games on platforms like Wink Bingo have become evidently well-known among these online game fanatics.
Smartphone penetration shares in the UK have hit 90 percent, making it simpler than ever for players to access the games that they love at high capacities. Smartphones have switched things up for developers of all gaming categories, from multiplayer games to games that involve role-playing, wagering games such as bingo, and even online card games such as solitaire. While there are plenty of games to choose from, there are even more players all over the world that outnumber the number of games on the Internet.
Despite the Internet’s domination of our daily lives, technology is still experiencing its early stages of development, leaving decades of uncertainty ahead of us when it comes to industries such as the bingo industry. This leads to questions as to whether bingo can still elicit the same anticipation and excitement 20 years down the road. As different games start to become more advanced than ever, increasing their levels of immersion for users, will bingo succeed in adjusting to our ever-changing society in the years to come?