Bingo is something of a British institution. The game has been played for decades having started prior to the first World War before taking something of a dip in popularity around the 1940s and 1950s. It started to become more popular again soon after, however, as the economy began to recover after the war, but by the turn of the millennium it was struggling once again… a slump it hasn’t really recovered from.
The traditional bingo halls which light up the town and city centres have been forced to close down due to such a decline in the number of players with people preferring to save their valuable time and money or finding alternative activities.
The problems were that the game was stereotyped to such an extent that potential players were put off playing. It was viewed as an “old person’s game” which put off the audience the halls needed to survive. It was also a very time-consuming game, often taking up hours each day or evening which people just didn’t have to spare.
As a consequence, bingo as we know it was on the verge of dying. Until the Internet came along that is. Like most things, the Internet caused a resurgence in popularity for the game of bingo with companies looking to find new audiences on the web who could play in their own time, for as long as they like, whenever they wanted to. Time is at a premium for people and they can’t give up whole evenings to play bingo – but they can give up 20 minutes on their lunchbreak for example, or an hour on a rainy evening once the children have gone to bed.
They say that people gamble and play the lottery for a reason other than the thrill, and they’re right. Let’s be honest, we all have the odd flutter on the football or the Grand National horse race each year, perhaps we play bingo now and again with friends or we play the lottery on a weekly basis; and we do so for one main reason: to win some money.
When you see a kid playing on their phone or Ipad you might guess they are on Facebook or perhaps enjoying a game of Angry Birds or similar. You might be right, but on the other hand there is every chance they are actually playing a social casino game.
‘Hit the jackpot’ is an idiom that literally means someone has won a great deal of money. Its other use is simply to describe a piece of luck such as finding an ideal home or a really nice restaurant or hotel. In today’s world there are regular jackpot winners with ever popular lotteries creating millionaires on a regular basis. The jackpots in other forms of gambling may not be so large. Nevertheless, for the casual gambler big wins are most welcome. Some people simply have a flutter as a bit of fun. The Grand National was always seen as the housewife’s favourite or the occasional pound in the pub’s slot machine. There is nothing wrong with betting and there is no doubt that the Internet has increased the number of people having a go. It is just so convenient.
In the UK, the National Lottery which is just over 20 years old, increased public participation in gambling. When the Internet became popular the numbers participating and the prizes rose. The development of attractive and informative websites made it simple to have a go each week. At the same time other websites opened that were able to replicate the experience of going to a casino to play roulette or blackjack.
There was a time when betting on horses was frowned on. It was often only possible to do it in secret. The bookmakers, as they became to be known, set the odds for a horse race. It only became legal in betting shops in the UK in 1961. Before that it was still popular, informal and fairly secretive; it was legal on race courses which were well attended as a result. The bookmaker looks to cover every possibility in order to make a profit for each event; it involves their laying off risks elsewhere to cover their exposure to loss unless they are prepared to take the risk of loss themselves. It is a matter of making the market and balancing the odds so that they are unconcerned about which horse wins, though the profit may vary on the outcome. In that respect, bookmakers are quite similar to those working in the insurance industry. However, the punter still looks to beat the bookies.
There are many different forms of gambling and while the National Lottery has increased public participation, horse racing is the sport that has traditionally attracted the most money.
While this gambling was legalised in betting shops over 60 years ago, it was only in 2005 that the Gambling Act stated that gambling debts were enforceable in law. It was therefore a danger to provide credit. That Act sought to regulate the gambling industry and how the industry could advertise. There are many companies looking to sponsor popular professional sports teams, especially soccer teams, to get their brand names imprinted on people’s minds. The advertising breaks in popular sports that are televised have also become popular slots for corporate advertising budgets.