The mobile bingo industry is one that’s still very much in a progressive stage. It hasn’t yet reached the heights of mobile casino or mobile betting, but we are expecting this to change over the coming months. As to why bingo has been left behind somewhat in terms of mobile coverage, we aren’t sure, but we would speculate that this should change.
One theory is that companies haven’t been so keen to promote mobile bingo is because of the demographic of their players. Whereas sport and casino generally target males from around 18-40, this puts hits a sweet spot for people enjoying technology as well. Bingo reaches a much older demographic and are usually female, many of whom don’t have as big an interest in technology, hence not having a use for the game in a mobile format.
But, we think it’s fair to say that bingo users are starting to crave the usability that mobile offers them. A lot of their demographic are starting to come to terms with advancements in technology and whilst the online format also took longer than casino and sports to catch on, mobile will likely get there, eventually.
At the time of writing there are only a handful of bingo operators that are providing their bingo rooms in a mobile format. These include some of the larger brands, but there are still some very notable absences. In the gambling industry, you’ll often find that once one company has set the ball in motion for a certain product, others in that niche wont be far behind. This is essentially what we are basing our prediction of mobile bingo really hitting the ground running over the next 12 to 18 months.
Mobile Bingo v Online Bingo
In the mobile bingo rooms that are available at the minute we’ve found that the games are very similar to that of what’s on offer from your desktop versions. This has both positive and negative effects for us.
On one hand, the positives are that the games will be familiar to that of experienced online bingo players. The transition between the games will be almost none which means it should be easy to simply open the bingo room on your smartphone and start playing straight away. The flip side is that graphically, the games aren’t all that great. Because they aren’t developed especially for mobile devices, it often makes playing tricky and certainly less smooth than playing on your desktop.
However, not all mobile versions are like this. Some are starting to incorporate games that are the same in terms of features, but the design fits in much better with mobile devices. After all, with bingo games becoming so similar, design starts to play a huge roll in how the app performs and also if people will continue to play bingo on their mobiles. A poor design and it’s unlikely that a demographic who isn’t as open to ‘change’ as some, will simply have no interest.
One of the key features that many bingo players love is the ability to chat amongst friends and make new friends at the tables. The interaction between players is a major reason why so many people play. The chat options are now an integral part of the online bingo industry and we were pleased when the majority of games retained this feature. It’s fairly clear that it doesn’t function quite as easily as if you were on your desktop – the limited screen sizes play the major role in this – but in the majority of apps that we tested, we found it to be more than usable.
A development that we feel has been integral, even for this small growth in mobile bingo, has been that of HTML5. This essentially allows developers to make a mobile version of a bingo room without the user having to download another app. It provides a way in which the gap between playing on your mobile via what’s essentially a desktop site and playing on a fully interactive mobile-friendly site.
The Future of Mobile Bingo
It’s undeniable that mobile bingo has had a slow start to life. You look at mobile casino and sports and the features they have now are simply superb for mobile users. Games are being created specifically around mobile devices, which makes players want to keep coming back and playing these types of games.
Bingo will get to that point, but it’s probably more important that bingo makes the right first impression than any of the other two mobile types. We’ve mentioned about the demographic of bingo players and they are likely going to have a lot less tolerance for things that don’t work perfectly first time. An initially reluctance to play the game via their mobiles will likely be there, making it all the more important for bingo halls to get it right first time.
As a bit of a disclaimer we aren’t making out that bingo players are all of an older generation and hate change. Far from it! But there has to be a reason as to why mobile bingo has taken so long to infiltrate the industry and become way more mainstream than it already has, and this is the only conclusion we can come up with.
The next twelve months should be an exciting time for those looking to play mobile bingo. Games are going to better and the availability of the platform on mobile devices will increase. The increased users on both mobile sports and mobile casino indicate that there should be no reason why mobile bingo will not succeed in due course.