The Real Money Bingo Boom
If we go back to the early naughties (2000’s) online bingo sites were around but to play bingo online for money was not necessarily very popular and was definitely considered high risk or a good way to be swindled, even if the company you were dealing with was straight as a die. Come to think of it though online shopping was looked at under the same light, which is what triggered the dot com boom-bust. Fast forward to 2012 and online bingo is now one of the fastest growing forms of online gaming and big bricks and mortar retail brands are going bankrupt while their online counterparts are surging with business. Oh how things have changed!
If we look a bit closer at the causes and effects of this short but major economic shift we can see that like the stock market it is largely due to confidence and value. Back in 2002 there were online bingo operators and there were online shops (other than eBay and Amazon) that were investing to keep on going with the promise of success, which was a great concept and ultimately correct but the timing was all wrong. I remember back then I definitely didn’t trust to play bingo online for money and putting my credit card details into any website on the promise that goods would turn up at my house a few days later seemed to be asking for trouble, after all I was using a dial up modem and my Windows 98 machine couldn’t even handle all the pop-up spam.
It seems that the turning point when I and many others first delved into the online world with a credit card came when broadband made the Internet massively usable and our browsers had developed to block pop-ups and malicious web code. Let’s not also forget that this was about the time when Google did their Florida update, which meant decent content and credible sites started ranking above keyword stuffed spam. Most people dabbled with online shopping and time and time again it proved to be safe and also cheaper than traditional shopping; word got round and ecommerce started booming.
After that, for any bingo operator or ecommerce business that had weathered the storm they were on to a winner and were likely to grow massive and have money coming out of their ears overnight right? Well, in many cases especially in ecommerce this did happen but in the online bingo space a lot of trust still needed to be built and software needed massive development to be attractive and useable to its desired audience. Let’s face it almost all online bingo software back in 2004 was completely sub-standard and lacked the social features that make the traditional game engaging and exciting.
It was Gala Bingo of the UK that really changed the game when they took the plunge into the online world and developed their own software in-house from the ground up. They embedded the chat facility, did a lot of usability testing and focused on how to make the game as socially engaging as if you were in the bingo hall. With their reputable household brand and a great platform Gala Bingo hit it big online, but they invested millions and it was hard to see how others could follow suit. Soon after proprietary software developed by companies like Virtue Fusion and Bridgend made it easy for any company with a decent brand and the start-up cash to rapidly roll out a cutting edge bingo site that players would love under license. As regulation developed and big brands like Virgin, Ladbrokes and William Hill rolled out bingo offerings trust became an issue that was quickly forgotten. As the bingo market boomed new quality operators popped up like mushrooms and players everywhere seemed to get online armed with a bank card ready to play bingo for money, have some fun and chat to some people. The rest is history.