Online Bingo Still Going Strong in the UK

Online Bingo Still Going Strong in the UKAccording to a recent report by the BBC the online bingo industry is flourishing in the UK. One typical player in the report was Anita Heffernan, 50, who spends two to three hours playing online bingo on a typical evening. Heffernan says it’s not for the money and her biggest win was about £400. Since bingo is a random game of chance most players spend more than they win which is probably why there are no professional bingo players. Heffernan told the BBC “It is a hobby. I would much rather do that than spend a night out in town.”

The number of bingo sites in the UK has grown. In 2002 there were only about 20 online bingo sites but today there are between 350 to 400. Major operators in the UK include newspapers like the Sun and Daily Mail and bingo hall operators Gala and Mecca. For a game long associated with socializing and a night out online bingo would seem to be at odds with most players reasons for participating in live bingo games. Many of the converted cinemas that were converted to bingo halls in the 60’s are now showing their age but that doesn’t stop millions from visiting.

Since bingo is a game of chance no special skills are required except the ability to keep up with the game caller. In the UK 90 ball bingo is the dominant game at bingo halls but online bingo sites offer several game variants including traditional 75 ball bingo, 80 ball bingo and 30 ball bingo also known as ‘speed bingo.’ Unlike 75 ball bingo 90 ball bingo cannot use special card patterns. In British bingo halls players listen for 25 random numbers between 1 and 90. Once the card is filled players shout ‘bingo’ or ‘house.’ The caller announces each number using colorful phrases such as “Two fat ladies – 88”, “clickety click – 66”.

Online bingo has attracted many young players and Anni Nevison, 21, is typical. She plays two or three times a week and five hours on Sundays. Nevison told BBC reporters “I get excitement and friendship. You go into a bingo site and it’s like a little family, it’s so chatty.” Nevison said she would like to meet some of the people she talks to in the chat rooms at bingo sites. Bingo is inexpensive and cards can be had for as little as 1p. Most are around 10P and cards for high stakes games can cost more. Mark Griffiths, professor of gambling studies at Nottingham Trent University, says that bingo is part of the “feminization” of gambling. The industry is still growing and the future of online bingo in the UK seems assured.

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