Posted on 31 May 2013
It’s no secret that the UK has one of the liveliest bingo markets in the world. Over three million people in the UK play online bingo weekly and millions more play at land based bingo halls throughout the country. Just about every town, village of hamlet has its own High Street bingo hall. Older players prefer live bingo games while the younger generation prefers online bingo games. So how did bingo get to be so popular in the UK?
Bingo became a cultural phenomenon in the UK from the 60’s to the 80’s. Hundreds of abandoned cinemas were turned into massive bingo halls capable of holding thousands of players. Online bingo is extremely easy to play and understand. Playing online bingo is as easy as setting up an account, making a deposit and taking part in one of the many bingo games available. Most online bingo sites offer a variety of bingo games including 75 and 90 ball bingo and some sites offer 80 and 30 ball bingo. In the UK 90 ball bingo is the most popular game. Setting up an account at a bingo site only takes a couple of minutes and is quick and easy.
Most online bingo sites offer low stakes bingo games. Online bingo sites usually offer players a generous welcome bonus and most offer free bingo which gives players a chance to test a site’s game software. Free bingo is also good for beginners and allows them to learn the online version of the game with no risk. Bonuses make bingo the most affordable gambling game on the internet.
Online bingo allows players from around the globe to connect. Most online bingo sites offer players the opportunity to chat with other players creating a sense of community. Research has shown that most players value social interaction and say that it is the main reason they play online bingo. Players can also win huge amounts of cash. In most cases online bingo jackpots are much larger than those at land based bingo halls. In face there are a few bingo millionaires in the UK. Networked sites offer hugs jackpots because of the large shared player pool.
At one time most bingo players were working class women but today things are different. Many bingo hall operators have refurbished old fashioned bingo halls to appeal to younger players. The move has been successful and operators have reported an increase in player numbers. The new generation of players ensures that bingo will survive well into the 21st century.
Posted on 28 May 2013
The creation of the internet is easily one of the most important inventions of the late 20th century. The internet has changed society in ways that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Unfortunately criminals have also adapted to the internet. Identity theft is rampant and the damage done can take years to correct. Malware is becoming increasingly common and viruses, trojans and other malware are no longer confined to porn, gambling and file sharing sites. Today popular sites such as the New York Times site and USA Today have been the targets of cybercriminals.
Online gambling sites are still targeted by scammers and in recent years there have been cases of stolen player accounts being sold on global black markets. Rootkits such as the infamous Zeus Trojan are designed to steal banking and other account information. Keyloggers record every keystroke revealing passwords and account numbers. Zeus is usually installed via drive by downloads. The computer hides in the background and when any accounts are accessed the program goes into action to perform its dirty work.
Virus Analyst Christian Funk of Kaspersky Lab, an internet security firm, compiled a report titled “The Underground Economy of Online Gaming Fraud.” Funk told reporters “Online gaming has evolved into a fully-fledged economy with well-developed demand, specific customer requirements and different sectors, including ‘premium.” Phishing emails are popular with scammers. Many scammers are talented graphic artists and can duplicate the look of just about any website. They will send fake emails pretending to be from a legitimate company and once the victim replies and provides information their accounts are drained in a matter of hours or days.
Ransomware is a major nuisance on the internet. Ransomware will slow or stop a computer until a ransom is paid. The current FBI Moneypak virus has infected about 11 million computers in the United States. The virus locks the computer and the scammers demand victims pay a ‘fine’ to have their computers unlocked. In most cases other malware is installed at the same time and even if the victim pays the ‘fine’ their computer remains compromised. Mobile gamers are not immune to malware. Given the massive growth in mobile gaming cybercriminals have realized there is money to be made exploiting the mobile market.
Those playing at online bingo sites and casinos need to be vigilant and watch for the signs of infection. These can include a slowdown in computer speeds, redirects and an excessive number of popup ads. Players should make sure they have one or two antivirus programs installed and should scan their computers weekly.
Posted on 25 April 2013
In the UK online bingo players have a huge choice of funding methods available. One of the most popular and convenient is Ukash. Ukash is an electronic cash service and users are given a 19 digit code that represents their prepaid money. Ukash can be purchased at 420,000 locations worldwide. Recently Ukash has received some bad press because scammers have exploited the Ukash system to further their criminal activities. Ukash is designed for the sole purpose of making online purchases and at participating businesses. Most online bingo sites doing business in the UK accept Ukash.
When online bingo players use Ukash they do not have to reveal any personal or financial details. Players enter a voucher code and the money is instantly available. Ukash has entered into a deal with payments and services network operator PayPoint that will enable its customers to withdraw funds from 24,000 locations operated by PayPoint. Online bingo players now have a “convenient and easy way to turn gaming winnings or spare Ukash back into cash.”
Before the deal Ukash online gaming winnings were returned to players in the form of a new code that could be used to make more purchases and could also be combined with other Ukash codes. The new deal extends the convenience of Ukash by allowing players to turn their Ukash into real cash instantly. David Hunter, the Chief Executive Officer for Ukash, stated “At the heart of this new service is our mission to give consumers the utmost flexibility with their Ukash. We also believe it creates even greater appeal for e-commerce retailers to add Ukash to their payment options.”
Other potential uses for Ukash include emergency cash, customer loyalty rewards, promotional awards and cash back offers. The ability to access cash without using plastic adds a new dimension to Ukash and the convenience it offers. Andrew Goddard, Retail Director for Welwyn Garden City-based PayPoint, said “Ukash has proved very popular with our customers and as a footfall generator for our retail partners. We are delighted to add cash withdrawals to our range of cash-out schemes, which enable our retailers to further benefit from the growth and scope of e-commerce.”
Posted on 09 March 2013
The UK has a lively thriving bingo scene. Bingo has been a staple in Great Britain since the postwar years. In the UK the 60’s and 70’s are considered the ‘golden age’ of bingo in the country and just about every village and remote hamlet had its own High Street bingo hall. Since Canada was a former British colony one would expect the country to have an active bingo industry. At one time bingo was a big business in Canada but this is no longer the case.
At one time players could visit Planet Bingo in Vancouver and find a game in progress. Planet Bingo is the largest bingo hall in North America and in better years the hall was always packed. A reporter from the Globe and Mail recently visited the hall during the daytime and described the hall as ‘quiet.’ At night and on weekends the games are well attended but most say that the heyday of bingo in British Columbia is now a memory. There are several reasons for the decline. A smoking ban cut attendance at games drastically. The same thing happened in the UK in 2007 when a national smoking ban was imposed. Some halls lost over 60% of their regular players and many online bingo sites reported an 80% increase in the number of registered players.
British bingo halls have managed to make a comeback by remodeling old fashioned bingo halls and adding services designed to appeal to young nonsmoking players. Canadian bingo halls, on the other hand, have not made the same efforts to adapt to current conditions. Bingo halls are also losing customers to casinos with thousands of slot machines. An aging and diminishing player base is also putting the pressure on Canadian bingo halls. Annual bingo revenues in British Columbia have declined from $175.3-million in 2007-08 to less than $100-million just four years later.
Planet Bingo is run by the Community Gaming Management Association, which distributes bingo receipts to 80 local charities that depend on bingo for funding. Rich Coleman, the minister responsible for gambling in British Columbia, stated “It’s not like it was. It’s more appreciated, if we’re honest with each other, as a social game.” The minister was blunt when he said of bingo “[Bingo] has a kind of a future, but it’s certainly not a major product line.” The future of bingo in Canada is uncertain. In Canada bingo halls must partner with charities to hold games. Since attendance and revenues are dropping some charities may have to seek government grants and other funding sources.
Canadian bingo hall operators may want to follow the lead of their British counterparts and add new technologies and modernize their halls to attract a younger group of players.
Posted on 22 January 2013
Although most bingo players attend games or play bingo on the internet to socialize winning occasionally is also important. Since bingo is a random game there is little players can do to influence the outcome of any game. Despite the game’s randomness there are a few things bingo players can do to tip the odds in their favor. Try using the following winning tips.
You should avoid crowded games. The odds in any bingo game depends on the number of cards sold a game with fewer players can offer you a better chance of winning a prize. You should be aware that the jackpot is usually based on the number of cards sold the jackpot in poorly attended games may be much smaller. At bingo halls try to play in bad weather keeps players at home.
Play at off times. At online bingo sites try to play at odd hours or late at night. If you are familiar with a particular bingo hall try to pick sessions with fewer players. Quieter games make take place during the middle of the week, midafternoon or on holidays. Keep in mind that games with lower attendance rates usually have smaller prizes than larger games. Basically the fewer competitors you have the better the chances of winning.
Try to play multiple cards. For online bingo players this is a breeze thanks to the auto daub feature available at online bingo sites. Most live bingo players say that players should buy and play as many cards as possible. If you purchase too many cards you are likely to make mistakes when marking multiple cards. While we’re on the subject of cards seasoned bingo players say that you should purchase nonduplicate cards. Since no bingo card contains the same number more than once every card in play has an equal chance of winning. If you are playing multiple cards you must stay alert and focus. Believe it or not bingo has been shown to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Hold you cards over from game to game. Many bingo halls allow players to use the same cards from game session to session. Many players will try to purchase cards containing their ‘lucky’ numbers or patterns.
A positive attitude is essential for any bingo player. Good things seem to happen to people with a positive. If you lose a game don’t dwell on it. Some players actually believe they can influence games by keeping a positive attitude.
Posted on 13 January 2013
Every game has its own rules. In most cases the rules are designed to make sure the game runs smoothly and players are treated fairly. Bingo is no exception but the game really does not have many rules. Because of the nature of the game and the cards used cheating at bingo is almost impossible. At online bingo sites chat leaders enforce the rules and in online bingo games most of the rules pertain to chat room behavior. There is a code of etiquette among land based and online bingo players that ensures civil behavior. Of course there are always a few bad apples but fortunately encounters are rare.
The chat leaders are there to enforce the rules and are not on an ego or power trip. The chat leaders are there to help players if there is trouble and resolve any disputes. Most rule violations at online bingo sites are caused by a breach of etiquette. Chat room rules are really pretty simple; no swearing, insults, badgering other players, soliciting loans and promoting another bingo site. (That violation is sure to get a player banned!)
In live bingo halls the rules can get complicated, especially for new players. Sitting in someone’s ‘lucky’ seat can lead to a verbal altercation. Mistakenly calling ‘bingo’ is sure to raise the ire of the entire bingo hall. Talking during games if a big no no and at some halls players have been ejected for talking during a game. At the very least the player will receive a stern warning. New players should be aware that most halls have different sets of rules so it is always a good idea to read the posted rules.
During high stakes bingo games hall management may bar people from entering or leaving the hall. In most halls people are not allowed to sit and watch the games and each person seated may be required to purchase bingo halls. This rule is rigidly enforced at crowded bingo halls. One of the most important rules at bingo halls is this one; players must claim bingo before the next number is called and must shout ‘bingo’ loud enough for the caller to hear. Once the next number has been called it is too late to claim a bingo.
Players that must bring children with them to games are responsible for their behavior and keeping them quiet during games. Fortunately some bingo halls have play rooms just for children. The rules are really simple and the games are exciting making bingo one of the best entertainment values anywhere.
Posted on 06 January 2013
2012 was a huge year for the online gambling industry. Mobile gambling grew at a rapid pace and is almost as popular as internet gambling. 2012 saw the proliferation of new products, new operators and technologies adopted by the online gaming industry. Online bingo and gaming operators have been quick to adapt to the latest technologies. Social gaming was a hot topic in 2012 and companies like Buffalo Studios and Zynga were printing money! Many gaming experts predict that 2013 will be even better for players and operators. New technologies have emerged that will provide new avenues for online gambling.
In 2012 Apple TV released the third generation of its popular device. Apple TV enables users to access digital content from the iTunes store and many other platforms. Although online gambling has yet to take place on Apple TV gaming experts say that given the popularity of gambling on smartphones and other devices Apple TV may be the next technology adopted by online bingo and gaming operators. Mobile gaming experienced rapid growth in 2012 and operators have kept developers busy creating new applications and platforms.
In early 2012 Microsoft released windows 8, the latest version of the company’s popular windows operating system. Although it remains to be seen how popular the new system will be online gaming operators will probably be busy creating new applications for windows 8. Windows 8 represents Microsoft’s effort to address the popularity of iPads, tablet computers and smartphones. Windows 8 is designed with touch screens in mind and will also work with a mouse and keyboard. Sales of windows 8 PC’s have been slow and several techies describe the operating system as lackluster.
In 2013 Blackberry is expected to release the new Blackberry 10 smartphone. If the new device becomes popular gaming operators will be forced to develop compatible applications for the Blackberry 10. The new phones will make their debut on January 30th. Currently many online bingo sites and casinos offer compatible Blackberry apps. Rumor has it that online retail giant Amazon has plans to launch its own version of the smartphone. The release of an Amazon smartphone could have a big impact on mobile gambling.
In addition to new technologies there are indications that several states in the US plan to offer legal online and mobile gambling to residents. Federal legislation would only legalize poker and most forms of online gambling will remain illegal. Most states have indicated a preference for intrastate gambling without federal interference. If the states are successful it could provide new opportunities for operators.
Posted on 05 January 2013
Today bitcoin is one of the hottest topics for online bingo and casino operators. The use of the anonymous virtual currency could reopen the American online gaming market. One Canadian poker site has announced plans to use bitcoins for deposits and withdrawals. Industry observers are sure to keep a close eye on the poker site to see how successful the use of bitcoins will be. Bitcoins allow players to avoid traditional financial networks subject to scrutiny by government regulators and law enforcement officials. Most online bingo and gaming experts say that bitcoin based gambling will increase this year. Currently 2,000 online merchants accept bitcoins.
Michael Hajduk has invested significant amounts of money and time developing his poker website. Hajduk’s Calgary based Infiniti Poker plans to accept bitcoins when it is launched this month. Hajduk said that the use of bitcoins will help American players avoid problems with federal officials. Currently US laws prohibit financial institutions and online payment processors from handling any internet gambling transactions. Hajduk told reporters “Because we’re using Bitcoin, we’re not using U.S. banks—it’s all peer-to-peer. I don’t believe we’ll be doing anything wrong.”
Bitcoin was developed in 2009 by a reclusive programmer named Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoins behave like other currencies and exchange rates fluctuate according to demand. Bitcoins are currently worth about $13 USD. Transactions are processed through a peer to peer network avoiding traditional financial networks. Last year Bitcoin received a lot of adverse publicity because of the currency’s association with the illegal drug selling website Silk Road. According to Nicolas Christin, the associate director of Carnegie Mellon’s Information Networking Institute, Silk Road processes about $1.2 million monthly in illegal drug sales.
Bitcoin’s peer to peer network puts it beyond the reach of puritanical prosecutors. Because if its anonymous design there is no way to verify the nationality of any bitcoin user making transactions impossible to trace. In 2012 the price of one bitcoin rose from $4.75 to $13.50 and bitcoins are traded much like any other currencies. Online bingo players can purchase bitcoins using exchanges like Mt. Gox. Surprisingly bitcoins may be purchased at Wal Mart stores and 7 Eleven stores across the US. Since the US internet gambling market is worth about $4 billion to $6 billion the US market remains an attractive target for online gaming operators. According to Martin Williams, the Asia editor of Gambling Compliance, bitcoins pose some legal challenges to governments. Williams stated “Bitcoin poses some new legal challenges for financial authorities. I suspect that much of it will involve playing catch-up, as with so many other things relating to the Internet.”
Posted on 21 October 2012
Several recent news reports revealed that in some areas charity bingo is in real trouble. In the United States bingo has long been associated with churches, charities and fraternal organizations. In some cases the demise of charity bingo games has had a very adverse effect on the communities affected. In Ohio one parochial school had to shut down because of dwindling bingo receipts at games. Today charity bingo games are facing pressures from several sources.
In some states Native American tribes have set up extensive gaming operations including large bingo halls with large jackpots that charity games cannot match. The tribal games have lured many players from their regular community based charity games. In Arkansas charity bingo operators say that bingo halls now face competition from casinos, the state’s lottery and a state tax on bingo cards. In 2008 bingo became legal in Arkansas and since that time state issued bingo permits have declined by 30
Gene McVay, former commander of the American Legion Post 31 in Fort Smith echoed the sentiments of many charity game operators and told reporters “I don’t know anybody who can afford (to run) bingo (operations).” McVay said his post was forced to abandon its long running bingo games because of the tax on bingo cards. In 2007 Arkansas set a $600,000 budget for a new five-person division to monitor bingo operations in the state. The division is funded by the 1 cent tax on bingo cards. Bingo operators told state lawmakers that the tax is excessive and is taking away money for charities. McVay vented his frustrations with the tax and said “That pretty much killed bingo in Arkansas, to my knowledge” and added that several other Legion posts have closed their bingo games because of the tax.
In Nebraska charity bingo is in real trouble. This year the state’s biggest charity bingo game shut down. Holy Name parish in Omaha started hosting bingo games in the 1950s. During the game’s heyday the church made about $250,000 per year from the games. Today there are not enough players to justify the expense of running the games. Operators cite expanded gambling in Nebraska for the decline. If states legalize online gaming bingo halls will face new competition from online bingo sites. Who knows, maybe some enterprising group will start their own charity online bingo games.
Posted on 12 October 2012
Thanks to ill-advised federal laws online bingo players in the United States are forced to patronize offshore bingo sites that may or may not be reputable and licensed. When the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed in 2006 (UIGEA) many British online bingo sites immediately imposed a blanket ban on players from the United States. To make things even more complicated federal regulators shut down a few online payment processors such as Neteller. Because of the law American players were forced to patronize bingo sites that use British Pounds or Euros as their currency of choice.
Exchange rates can have an effect of jackpots. An unfavorable exchange rate can have a significant impact on a large jackpot. Even worse for American players credit card companies charge high fees for exchanging currencies. The same companies treat gambling transactions the same as cash advances and high interest rates are assessed on any gambling transactions. At the present time American players have been shut out of British bingo sites there are still a few accepting American players. Players at UK bingo sites enjoy all of the protections provided by the British Government and online bingo sites are strictly regulated by the UK Gambling Commission.
Calculating exchange rates need not be difficult. There are many currency exchange rate tools available on the internet for free. The most popular is the XE Universal Currency Converter. Exchange rates are updated several times a day and the conversion tool is easy to use. There are well over 100 currencies listed so players should have no trouble finding the currency of choice for most bingo sites. There are a few online bingo sites that offer games in several currencies. The most common online bingo currencies are the Euro, British Pound and the US Dollar. Players should be advised that in most cases a conversion fee will be charged to trade currencies.
Exchange rates are a double edged sword and can help or hurt the size of a large jackpot. For the last three years the Euro has fluctuated between $1.25 and $1.45 against the US Dollar. If a player won a jackpot denominated in Euros at a rate of $1.45 and the Euro rate suddenly fell to $1.30 that player may lose some serious cash. Unlike the Euro the British Pound has not seen any wild fluctuations and is probably a better choice for American players. Until congress takes action on internet gaming players from the US will have to seep up with the latest exchange rates.