With around 3.5 million active bingo players in Britain, the bingo industry is still hugely popular despite it being such a traditional game. As a game that can be dated back to 16th century Italy, Bingo has widely been associated in the past with the older female generations and generally isn’t associated with the younger generations. However, that’s now changing as bingo operators embrace technology and join the world of online gaming.
However, surprisingly to many British people, the bingo industry doesn’t quite have the same amount of success within Spain as strict rules and regulations mean that some tourists and expats may be in for a shock when they start rolling the balls.
What’s the law on Bingo in Spain?
Contrary to UK rules and regulations, the act of bingo is widely unlawful in Spain with only a handful of venues and online platforms being able to legally offer any form of bingo. Spain has a complicated relationship with the betting and gambling industry throughout the past few decades, with each political party that comes into power changing the rules for what’s lawful and what’s unlawful.
In 2012, a law was introduced that stated only companies with a Spanish government -issues license and an .es domain were allowed to run any sort of gambling activity. This meant that many British based gaming and gambling institutions, both physical venues and online platforms had to acquire a license and a .es domain, or risk facing prosecution if they continued to operate under the new law.
Whilst the solution may seem simple, many online bingo platforms with a .es domain were only geared up for Spanish speaking players, as well as catering to the Spanish culture in particular. This meant that these sites had no appeal to the British bingo playing communities in Spain and as such many British expats and holidaymakers hoping to dapple in a casual game on bingo had their hopes all but dashed.
Why is Bingo so popular with Expats in Spain?
There is an estimated 309,000 Brits living in Spain according to the ONS. With the likes of Malia, Aiya Napa and Magaluf being hotspots for British expats and tourists, these places are also rife with bingo players. This is no surprise with bingo being such a popular game and big part of the culture in Britain.
Whilst the industry is now popular with the younger generations too, it’s still a irreplaceable pastime for those around retirement age. And with many Brits retiring to Spain, it’s no surprise that they’ve taken their love on bingo with them. In particular, Expat communities tend to gather at physical venues to maintain a social life with language barriers contributing to a lack of social integration within the Spanish community. Naturally, bingo tends to be a go to pastime where there is a large gathering of British people looking for a way to keep themselves entertained.
Unfortunately, in recent times, these unsuspecting British expats and tourists have been caught out by the Spanish law, as many Brits simply don’t realise that it’s illegal to play bingo in many British expat establishments. Whilst in the UK we no longer see Bingo as a negative social activity, a causal game in a local bar in Malia could see you loosing some of your prize money. Cases such as this have been documented quite frequently lately with a fair amount of coverage in Expat focused tabloids and news platforms.
A different picture on the UK bingo scene
Whilst it was considered a national pastime of 1950’s Britain, the UK bingo scene has come a long way in the past few decades with a huge migration of bingo to online platforms. This migration of a once traditional game into the digital era, has ensured the game has remained widely popular across many generations. In fact, statistics show that 62% of British bingo players are under the age of 45, with around 20% of players being between the ages of 18 and 24.
So what’s made it so popular amongst Brits? Whilst Bingo really took off in the 60’s in Britain, with there being around 14 million players visiting Bingo halls and venues regularly, by the 80’s there was over 1600 bingo halls scattered throughout the country.
Online bingo is now the most popular form of bingo participation due to the wide spread availability of games and ease of access, enabling people to play on the go, whether it’s in their lunch time at work, from the comfort of their sofa in the evening, or even whilst waiting for the kids to come out on the school run. However, physical bingo venues are now also starting to make a comeback with venues now offering an immersive experience with live music, a fully stocked bar and table service replacing the once quiet and stuffy bingo halls of the 60’s.
Increasing competition amongst operators
As the bingo industry flourishes within the UK, the amount of online venues cropping up has created an incredible amount of competition, and to combat this operators are having to come up with increasingly innovative ways to entice customers to their site.
Promotions have become widespread throughout the industry with the likes of free spins, mini prizes and no deposit bingo being familiar offerings. However, it can be a challenge for the consumer to choose which sites are legitimate and which are the best places to invest their hard earned cash. Bingo affiliates such as BingoPort are now offering advice to consumers with handy tools such as star ratings, comprehensive guides to each bingo site and customer reviews to guide bingo players in the right direction.
Will Spain ever become more bingo friendly?
Whilst the frequently changing laws and strict regulations that govern gambling venues and platforms, they’re unlikely to be lifted within Spain any time soon. However, one thing is for sure, no matter where Brits live, we’re always going to have a love of Bingo.