|“Online bingo? But the little old ladies who play bingo don’t have internet access”, I hear you say. That may, or may not be the case, but land-based bingo is huge, and it’s not only played by little old ladies. In fact, there are more visits to bingo halls in USA than there are visits to the cinema. In 1999, the US bingo industry alone had a turnover of $5.1b. Add to that the fact that the rules are simple (everyone knows how to play bingo) and that most people don’t even perceive it as gambling and you can see it’s potential. Little wonder that online bingo is growing and set to become big business.|
Multi-player Bingo on the internet (as opposed to single player, ‘Keno-Bingo’) falls into three basic groups; Free Bingo, Game Sites with Bingo and Pay to Play Bingo. Free Bingo is offered by a small number of specialist sites. Game play is free and prizes are usually points or small denomination cash prizes. The operators’ business model is built on banner advertising sales and/or data mining. This is the same model as operated by those sites offering a range of games, one of which happens to be bingo. These sites include places like Pogo, Gamesville and the Flipside Network. The core of the industry, however, is the Pay-to-Play bingo sites.
Compared to the 1800 online casinos, the bingo market is small, but it’s growing quickly. There were only ten credible pay-to-play online bingo offerings in April 2000. A year later this had increased by 50%. One year later, by February 2002, this had double to 30 sites. As I write (February 2003) this figure has risen by around 90% in just one year and the current count is at 57 sites.
By: Phil Fraser at firstname.lastname@example.org