One of the biggest business success stories since the turn of the millennium has been the boom in the online gambling industry.
Advancements in technology have proven to be transformative for gambling, providing a platform for established operators to completely revamp their business models.
The growing popularity of online gambling has inevitably attracted new investment into the industry, thereby intensifying competition within the industry.
Bingo is an area of the industry that has benefited massively from the move towards online gambling in recent years.
This iconic game firmly established itself as a mainstream entertainment business during the latter half of the last century, but began to fall out of favor in the 1990s.
Changes in consumer habits and increased taxation have had a devastating impact on the land bingo industry, but technology has finally come to the rescue.
The launch of bingo sites helped attract a new audience to the game and the industry is now in better shape than it has ever been.
Industry experts have predicted that the global online bingo market will reach around $2 billion by the end of the year, highlighting how far things have come.
With this in mind, we take a closer look at how bingo operators have grown their online presence and how they have benefited from embracing the digital revolution.
Laying the Foundation for Success
It’s fair to say that bingo was in serious danger of disappearing from the scene altogether during the 1990s as the industry suffered from a serious image problem.
Widely considered a “working class” activity, bingo began to fall out of favor as people began to turn to more “aspirational” entertainment pursuits.
However, the internet saved the day for the bingo industry and operators quickly recognized the opportunities available to them online.
While the first online bingo sites were very basic, they laid the groundwork for the game to experience a massive resurgence in popularity across the world.
Building a thriving industry
Having spotted the growth potential offered by the Internet, operators could have been forgiven for feeling frustrated during the early years of online bingo.
Limited software capabilities and high-speed connectivity often resulted in a disappointing gaming experience, but things quickly moved on.
In 2008, a new wave of sites run by Wink Bingo began wowing customers with their feature-rich websites.
Different variations of bingo have been added to the mix, further increasing the game’s popularity and helping to bring it back into the mainstream.
Mobile technology takes bingo into another stratosphere
One of the main drivers of the bingo industry’s success in recent years has been the rapid improvement in smartphone capabilities.
Coupled with significant advancements in Wi-Fi technology, this has helped position bingo alongside other mobile gaming activities.
The best bingo operators have taken full advantage of these factors by investing huge resources in creating fully optimized mobile bingo sites.
Many have gone the extra mile by developing standalone apps, which makes it even easier for people to access their favorite bingo games.
Understand the benefits of online bingo
From the perspective of bingo operators, there are several key benefits to focusing heavily on their online offering.
Perhaps the biggest benefit is the difference in overhead between running a physical bingo venue and an online one.
Traditional bingo halls are expensive to operate, with professional fees, building maintenance, utility bills and staff costs among a plethora of necessary expenses.
On the other hand, while setting up a bingo site requires an upfront investment, the ongoing costs are nowhere near as high as land-based sites.
Many operators use software already built for a flat fee or as part of a partnership agreement, then sit back and watch the profits roll in.
Marketing costs are also significantly lower online, with social media and search engine offering two easy routes to a captive audience.
Another key benefit bingo operators derive from online venues is the ability to offer their services 24/7/365.
Land-based bingo halls simply cannot compete with this level of convenience, which further explains why online gambling is so popular.
With online sites also able to replicate the social element of bingo through the clever use of instant messaging software, it’s no wonder people are signing up for accounts in droves.
The online bingo of the future
As with any successful industry, the bingo industry must continue to evolve if it is to continue moving forward over the next few years.
While the projected market valuation of $2 billion by the end of this year looks impressive, operators cannot afford to rest on their laurels.
Given the changes seen over the past two decades, it’s not unreasonable to think that the bingo industry could look very different by 2030.
Many analysts have estimated that virtual reality (VR) technology will have a significant impact on bingo over the next few years.
Operators and software developers have already made significant progress with virtual reality and this is expected to continue in the future.
Although VR bingo is mostly found on social gaming sites, it is unlikely to be too long before it becomes commonplace in the online gambling industry.
With the VR hardware support now capable of delivering truly immersive gaming experiences, bingo could be about to embark on one of the most exciting times in its history.
After growing into a $2 billion company in just over two decades, don’t be surprised to see that figure plummet in the late 2020s.