Bingo CardIncredibly, bingo is the most popular group leisure activity in the UK, being most fashionable for women between the ages of 20 and 25. Every week, millions of people either visit their local bingo hall or log on to play a game of online bingo and those numbers are growing larger by the day. So, when you think of the word ‘gambling’ what do you think of? Do you think of smoky bookmakers, where bundles of dirty cash exchange hands out of view of CCTV cameras? Do you think of dark casinos where people win or lose an entire life’s fortune at the spin of a wheel?

Or do you think of a happy-go-lucky mum of two, logging on to play a few games of online bingo in the evening as a relaxing way to pass the time? Of course, the answer is yes, playing online bingo IS gambling — the dictionary definition of the word is to ‘play a game of chance for stakes,’ which is precisely what bingo is. However, it is seen by many as ‘soft’ gambling, and players do not have the seedy stigma attached to them that comes with many other types of betting.

Nowadays, the online at bingo market has grown to be enormous and even now, an average of 4 to 6 new sites launch every month. Almost every type of media organisation has their own site — you can now play ITV Bingo, Sky Bingo and even Chat Magazine Bingo. New online bingo sites strive hard to differentiate themselves from the competition, offering bigger and better prizes, enticing promotions and compulsive chat games. Of course, all this is great news for online bingo players — more choice means more chances to win, and lots more opportunities for people to indulge their favourite past time.

Unfortunately, a very small minority of bingo players develop a problem habit, which is why online bingo is such a highly regulated industry. Every registered site has links to organisations that can help with gambling issues, and players are advised to be alert for signs that could indicate an approaching problem. If played properly and responsibly, there is no reason why online bingo can’t become a regular part of a person’s life. Loyal members return to their favourite sites to play again and again because of the social aspect, escapism and of course the chance to see if they can win a little bit of cash. So, online bingo — it’s gambling Jim, but not as we know it.

This news post was written by Tracey Trevors on July 28, 2010