Online bingo is proving a popular form of entertainment in the UK. Read how online bingo and bingo hall figures compares.

We have all read many articles and news features about bingo, its history, where the word ‘bingo’ comes from and other facts and details. We have all seen how, moving from land-based bingo to a more modern virtual form, online bingo has become part of many people’s lives, and forms a major part of their social activities.

Particularly for players who are housebound, perhaps old or with a disability, online bingo like many other forms of social networking via the internet, has become important in helping those people meet and chat with others from all over the country and even the globe.

Bingo’s addictive game play and social elements have increased the numbers of people playing bingo online in the UK to around 100,000 per year. Global figures estimate around 5 million people globally, helping fuel the internet gaming market and generating millions in internet revenues overall. Along with poker, bingo has become one of the biggest online gaming phenomena of 2005/2006, helping many companies become some of the biggest earners on the stock markets, and has provided a great revenue stream for online companies.

We have also seen many debates on whether bingo is a serious form of gambling and, programmes like Panorama’s recent documentary on online gambling, has added further fuel to both arguments for and against online bingo gambling.

Whether governments like it or not, bingo (like poker) is here to stay. Not even the recent Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act issued in America, or the soon to be issued gambling regulations in the UK will do much to stop people’s incessant need to play online games and have a little flutter here and there.

As a source of entertainment, how did bingo compare alongside the other leisure and entertainment sectors of 2006?

A recent study commissioned by the International Bingo Network operated by St Minver Ltd, shows that admissions to bingo halls in 2006 were around 82 million. Compare that to visits to the cinema of around 200 million and you can see that bingo is not far behind. Globally visits to bingo halls were 4 times as many than visits to casinos. Visits to online bingo sites also doubled compared to last year.

Figures issued by the Gaming Commission show that in the UK alone, the average household spend on bingo is around £7.20. This is at least twice the amount spent on the national lottery or other forms of lotteries. On average, people spend around £16 per night on visiting a bingo hall, almost twice as much than when visiting a cinema.

So bingo really is up there in the entertainment stakes. This is what fuels the argument regarding bingo, and whether it is a serious form of gambling.

Many families visit local bingo halls as a place to meet or catch up with friends away from the madness of visiting a more youthful local pub or nightclub. Bingo is also the only form of ‘gambling’ where women exceed the numbers of men playing, some 85% compared to 15% male. “Try telling them they are serious gamblers!”

By Morgan Collins
Written by Morgan Collins for the Bingo Network. Part of the St Minver white label managed solutions. Article may be produced in full with links retained.