Once bingo halls started popping up around the UK in the 1960s, a new industry was born. With operators offering regular games and big prizes, the game soon grew in popularity and continues to serve millions of players annually today.
However, as the internet has slowly taken over and enhanced our lives, bingo too has had an upgrade.. Featuring the traditionalism of bingo halls but with more convenience, playing bingo online has become a popular medium for modern players with busy lifestyles.
Now bingo fans have two main avenues to play their favourite game, what exactly are the differences between online bingo and traditional bingo halls? Here are four of the main contrasts between the two:
A traditional bingo hall has three main areas – the gaming floor, the cashier’s desk and the caller’s stage. From an entertainment and social perspective, the buzz of being surrounded by hundreds of players also chasing the top prize is hard to replicate online.
When playing online you are unable to physically see the other players; meaning it’s hard to maintain the same level of excitement. Yes, there are online chats available, but the main focus of online bingo is its convenience. From buying a game ticket to getting hold of your winnings, all of it can be done without any interaction with others at any location.
On average, a night out at a bingo hall costs £20, which includes game tickets, food and drink. Online bingo sites have less staffing costs and space requirements, allowing overheads to be reduced and games to be offered at lower prices.
Admittedly, while some online games can cost as much as land-based bingo, the average price for an online bingo ticket is £1 opposed to about £5 in the bingo hall. Furthermore, online bingo can also be played for free, as new players are often given access to free games for a limited amount of time. When it comes to cost, online is clearly in the lead.
Every bingo game – whether in a hall or online has its own jackpot sum, with some reaching into six figures. However, the prizes available are commonly based on the number of buy ins collected; meaning it can fluctuate both online and in a land-based area.
The biggest in-hall bingo game in the UK is the National Bingo Game, which is played on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. This method links players across the country through a telephone system and provides higher prizes to due to ease of participation. According to the rules the top regular prize is never more than £25,000 but the jackpot can reach a whopping £250,000.
The jackpot prizes in online bingo can be considerably higher. This is possible through progressive jackpot games, which uses a technique that’s similar to online slots. In this method, the progressive jackpot games take a small percentage of a player’s buy-in and adds it to the communal jackpot – for example, if a player pays £1 for a ticket then 10% (10p) will be taken and added to the progressive jackpot. Through this system thousands of players buy-ins are added to the jackpot every hour and results in the total reaching hundreds of thousands and, sometimes, millions.
Online bingo has purely been designed for speed; whereas brick-and-mortar bingo is built for engagement. Think about it – how often do players in bingo halls take a break between games to get a drink, grab a bite to eat or simply chat to their friends? Comparatively, online bingo misses out this “night of entertainment” and focuses on a money-making style.
It is roughly estimated that online bingo runs three times the speed of land-based bingo. An experienced bingo caller on a stage will shout a number every 10 seconds; whereas an online caller will pick a number every three seconds. As online bingo is controlled by a random number generator, the calls are consistent; whereas a caller inside a bingo hall can get distracted or take small breaks, which can slow the pace down.
Once a winner is declared online, it is automatically checked and verified by the system, meaning there is no need to halt time between games. However, in land-based bingo checking the winning cards can take up to five minutes.