Bingo was one of the strongest, seemingly indestructible of British institutions not three decades ago, but then it declined in a huge way. A series of adversarial events from the smoking ban to bingo tax resulted in a steep decline in bingo clubs, sinking from 1,200 in the UK to just over a quarter of that count four years ago.
While bingo was late to the game when compared to other lotteries and gaming types, its eventual embrace of the online space and emerging technologies allowed it to stage a comeback. By rebooting it as an online game, providers managed to rejuvenate the bingo audience, introducing new players to the game at their convenience and encouraging a wide audience to attend bingo venues.
Evolving bingo saved the traditional game
For bingo to beome an online success, it had to offer a quality of gaming that was in-line or better than that of other gaming options. A slow, low-definition, basic simulation of the game simply wouldn’t suffice.
The first obstacle for bingo to overcome to appeal to online players was the length of each game. Playing bingo in a hall can be a time-consuming process, but online players want their convenient gaming to be fast, action-packed fun so that they can enjoy a bunch of games in one sitting. To achieve this, game developers had to implement a rapid RNG (random number generator), introduce high-quality graphics and fast-acting animations, and input a lot of processing power to cater to huge lobbies of bingo players dotting all of their many tickets before starting up another jam-packed lobby.
The game of bingo has maintained its classic, much-loved form in its structure online. 90 Ball Bingo still gives each player six tickets per strip, with each ticket being comprised of 27 squares with 15 numbers. As such, processing correct numbers and winning events like one line, two lines, and house is quite the steep ask for any programmer. But online bingo is now very well established, with the gameplay running smoothly in the online lobbies.
However, bingo has always been about the experience of attending a game, with the social aspects being major drivers behind its original rise to prominence. People played bingo to experience some excitement with their friends, so developers integrated live chat features into online bingo rooms.
Now bingo lovers all over can dig into the game of numbered balls whenever they want as well as be sociable and chat with their fellow players while the numbers are being called.
Can 5G power bingo to even greater heights?
One of the most exciting technological advances that’s set to sweep all internet-based offerings is 5G. Already being switched on around the world and prepared for by almost all major phone companies, bar the Sony Xperia 1 II, 5G looks set to change the world.
Regarding online bingo, the impact of 5G will be immediate in many jurisdictions, with the loading time being much quicker, games being able to run even more smoothly – which has to be seen to be believed – and the platforms being able to host even more lobbies and players.
What’s most exciting about the introduction of 5G networks is the tech innovations that haven’t even been conceived yet. 5G will immediately make internet-based products better, but with time, developers will innovate to utilise the scope and capacity of the new network.
Bingo is enjoying a renaissance of sorts thanks to its embrace of the online space. However, the best of bingo may yet be on the horizon, with the potential of 5G giving developers much more power to play with. Could 5G lead to a bingo version of live casino gaming for the ultimate social gaming experience? Only time will tell.