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Bingo Games – a social mechanism
Online bingo provides one of the many catalysts for social networking via the internet. Bingo has always been a very sociable game and now that it is played online, the chat room element provides a great way of meeting and talking to people all over the world from the comfort of your home.
Players log on to bingo games for hours on end, but they are not always depositing money. Of the average daily 3-4 hour sessions playing bingo a big proportion of that time is spent chatting. It is the chat room element that attracts players to stay online for ages simply talking to people and gossiping about the latest current affairs. Certainly chat is beginning to compete with the telephone for a method of social interaction, with around 200 million people already using MSN messenger (Microsoft survey).
It is clear that bingo gaming and chat rooms go hand in hand. They draw many parallels, with both being a way of attaining social interaction, fun online and a feeling of togetherness. The chat rooms that accompany bingo games are an ideal way of communicating with each other and the outside world. The social element of bingo is a perfect match for the social element of chat.
Who loves to chat?
Stereotypes suggest that it is women who love to chat the most. It is also said that bingo online fills the gap in the market for women who want to use a computer and play virtual games online. In fact, a recent survey commissioned by St Minver, who operate Juega Bingo Ya, claims that 85% of its UK players are female and they stay online fives times longer than men. However, that figure changes drastically in the Spanish market, whereby around 60% of online bingo players are male, each gambling around €125 per month online and spending much longer online than women. Spain itself has a high propensity of people wishing to gamble, and with only 24% current broadband penetration the future growth potential is there for all to see. So the stereotype that women are prone to chatting online more than men, does not ring true for online bingo and their associated chat rooms.
While the chat element is big in Spain, according to the operators of Juega Bingo Ya, Spanish players offer a different kind of reception to those winning the jackpot. Recent complaints to the customer services department of St Minver have been somewhat ironic. St Minver had recently launched a Swedish language chat room for its Swedish partner. However, Swedish players were said to have been very fond of the previously Spanish integrated chat room as they were fond of the light-hearted abuse received online when any other player called ‘bingo’. Many Swedish players made requests to re-integrate the Spanish chat with the new Swedish bingo product.
It is said that the chat element of bingo is popular due to the community feeling it gives players who play online. The feeling of becoming known amongst other chat room players, together with the gaining of an identity, draws people to the chat rooms. On average, players return to bingo chat rooms around 20 times per month and, in a typical day, over 7000 lines of chat per hour go through the chat room of the St Minver network.
Chat rooms also provide a good way of providing customer support. Juega Bingo’s 24 hour customer service is proving popular amongst its players as a way of discussing the game and enabling players with a question to be able to obtain a speedy response, in a language they can understand.
There is also an element of trust that a chat room brings to online bingo. Players can build up a rapport with the Chat Managers, and this can help build loyalty and fuel player retention as there is always someone at hand to greet players, answer any questions, or spark off a conversation.
A lot of sites offer chat rooms games as an added element to a bingo site. Offering prizes, promotions and rewards for answering questions is a great way to attract players to a chat room. Recently Chit Chat bingo brought in some TV celebrities from Big Brother to act as Chat Room Managers and this brought a fun and even more familiar social element to the chat rooms.
Essentially, chat rooms are about building a community. By offering quality Chat Managers, who build up a good rapport with players, and by offering chat room games and prizes with the chance for players to meet and identify with each other, it is no wonder why Chat Rooms are such an important element in online bingo games.
About the Author: Written by Morgan Collins for Juega bingo Ya, a Spanish language online bingo site.