Not many entertainment activities can boast a nearly 500-year history, but bingo is undoubtedly an exception to the rule.
The iconic pastime dates back to a 16th-century Italian lottery which subsequently evolved into the game millions of people love to play today.
Bingo’s first wave of popularity in the United States and the United Kingdom was during the early 1900s before it took off massively after the Second World War.
Subsequent changes to gambling legislation sparked a second surge for bingo, helping to establish the game as the main entertainment activity in several major jurisdictions.
However, shifting consumer habits as the new millennium approached threatened to kill off bingo, with people gravitating towards different pursuits.
The arrival of the internet proved to be a lifesaver, providing gambling operators with the opportunity to transform the game’s perception in the eyes of the general public.
Technology drives change in bingo
One of the biggest factors that contributed to traditional bingo’s demise was the perception of it largely being a working-class pursuit.
The move to online sites transformed how bingo is viewed, with the game suddenly opening its doors to an entirely different demographic of people.
The first online bingo sites were basic, with software limitations restricting the games that operators were able to offer to players.
However, advancements in technology have helped to transform bingo, helping the game re-establish itself as a mainstream entertainment activity.
New bingo innovations shake things up
When online bingo first arrived on the scene players were able to play popular variants such as 75-ball and 90-ball bingo.
Things have changed massively over the past few decades, with developers increasingly able to push the boundaries of technology to create exciting new games.
These include combination games, which take other popular casino games and successfully merge them with bingo to form something unique.
A great example of this in action is Slingo, which blends the suspense of bingo with the thrills of slot machines to create an immersive new game.
Chatrooms offer a different dynamic
As we mentioned earlier, the initial online bingo sites were extremely basic and lacked many additional features beyond the games themselves.
This issue has been rectified in recent years, with operators increasingly adding innovative new elements to their bingo sites.
These include bingo chatrooms, which use instant messaging software to allow real-time interactions between players.
This effectively recreates the social element of bingo that was one of the main reasons for its success in land-based venues during the 20th century.
The mobile bingo phenomenon
Improved mobile technology and Wi-Fi connectivity have also contributed massively to bingo’s resurgence, helping operators attract younger players to their sites.
With daily smartphone usage averaging more than four hours per person, it makes sense for bingo firms to invest resources into their mobile offering.
Most modern bingo sites are fully optimized to work via mobile browsers, allowing players to enjoy playing whenever and wherever it suits them.
Standalone bingo apps are also becoming increasingly prevalent across the industry, providing even easier access to this iconic game.
Digital payments power growth
Another element that has had a positive impact on bingo are the significant advancements we have seen in digital payment technology.
The days when credit/debit cards were the go-to method for online payments are becoming a thing of the past, with several new innovations changing the landscape.
Digital wallets such as PayPal and Skrill have been at the forefront of the changes, while Google Pay and Apple Pay have also become increasingly popular.
This has made it much easier for people to fund their online bingo accounts, thus providing them with much easier access than was previously the case.
Blockchain starts to make its mark
Blockchain technology has repeatedly been linked with the online gambling industry in recent years but is yet to fully cross into the mainstream.
However, this could be about to change as some leading operators are increasingly exploring blockchain-based development solutions.
This includes providing more financial security for operators and players, thus creating a landscape where mutual trust becomes the known.
Biometric security, PSP transactions, and increased liquidity are amongst the other elements where blockchain could have a significant impact on bingo in the future.
Online bingo in the future
Technology has transformed the bingo industry in recent years and this trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
Changes in digital payments and increased adoption of blockchain technology are likely to be just the tip of the iceberg in how online bingo moves forward.
Virtual reality (VR) is another emerging technology that has skirted on the fringes of online gambling in recent years, and now looks ready to make the breakthrough.
VR was previously hindered by the limitations of the supporting hardware, but those issues finally appear to have been addressed judging by the quality if the latest headsets.
This represents excellent news for bingo operators, who may now be able to offer players the chance to play this exciting game in different virtual settings.
Advancements in mobile technology are also likely to power further changes in the bingo sector, potentially driving a further shift away from playing on larger devices.
Improved Wi-Fi connectivity will be central to driving more people towards their smartphones, thus making it even easier to play bingo games on the move.