The world of real-money online casino gaming is no stranger to innovation. The industry was among the first to introduce cryptocurrency-based gaming to players around the world, as well as one of the early adopters of VR and AR gaming.
Now, there's a new innovation making serious waves and attracting the attention of online casino gamers around the world.
Slingo, a game that combines elements of classic 75-ball bingo with the mechanics of online slots, has been popping up across some of the most popular iGaming platforms in the world in recent months. Read on to find out everything you need to know about this emerging genre of online casino titles.
Slingo incorporates elements of classic 75-ball bingo into online casino gaming
It may be on the rise today, but the actual origins of Slingo stretch back to the earliest days of the internet. Back in 1994, New Jersey real estate developer Dave Lyons and his partner Sal Falciglia, both regulars at the Atlantic City casinos, came together to brainstorm a new type of casino game.
Both had a lifelong passion for bingo and slot machines and were trying to find out a way to combine the two that would prove marketable and commercially viable. The concept for Slingo as we largely know it today came to the pair during an apparent eureka moment in Sal's basement, and the next day the duo ordered a vintage slot machine to be delivered to their home so that they could begin sketching out the world's first Slingo game.
In a painstaking process, the pair removed all of the symbols from the slot machine and replaced them with the numbers 1 to 75, while also adding wilds such as gold stars and jokers. Before the advent of online slot machines, which can easily complete 10 million spins per hour, perfecting Slingo was much more difficult. Lyons has described pulling the level manually dozens of times in succession to see how long it would take to fill the accompanying bingo card, describing the process as physically exhausting.
After modest success in the Atlantic City casinos, the pair founded the company Slingo Inc. and launched the first online version of the game on AOL in 1996. The game has been available online ever since, although its current popularity is most definitely a recent phenomenon.
Today, Slingo is available across a wide range of online casino platforms to players in virtually every corner of the globe. Around the world, the basic concept and rules of Slingo are the same. Players receive a digital bingo card, much like they would in a land-based bingo hall. The aim of the game is to spin the slot machine to which numbers land on the reels. If the numbers on your Slingo card come up, you can cross them off. Much like in traditional bingo, rewards are given when players cross of lines, corners, and, of course, achieve a full house.
Along the way, many different developers have brought their own unique innovations to the game of Slingo, but the essence of it remains the same as it always has.
The rise of the Slingo trend
The mechanics of the slot machine are an important part of Slingo's broad appeal
In recent years, Slingo has experienced an unprecedented boom in popularity, but what are the forces driving this trend? One of these is the rise of online casino gaming and online bingo more specifically.
The online gambling market worldwide generated record revenues of $59.6 billion last year and is expected to continue growing for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, online bingo has seen double-digit growth in certain markets over the past few years, with the UK in particular emerging as a high-growth market for this type of gaming. These industry trends have created the perfect market conditions for Slingo to thrive, given that it combines video slots, which is the most popular online casino game by far, with bingo.
It is also likely that the corresponding decline in the popularity of land-based, classic bingo halls has also contributed to the emerging popularity of Slingo. This is perhaps demonstrated by the fact that Slingo Inc., the company that created the first-ever Slingo game, was recently bought by a London based gaming giant for $18 million. But why do players love Slingo so much? One factor is likely to be the instant, immediate nature of the game, which is considerably more fast-paced than a traditional game of bingo. Another factor is likely to be the proliferation of branded and themed Slingo games that combine popular games like Monopoly and TV shows like Britain's Got Talent with the Slingo format.
In addition, major Slingo platforms are making concerted efforts to win over discerning gamers. Industry leaders such as Wink Slots have begun offering free spins with no deposit on a selection of their Slingo titles, allowing people to play Slingo for real money without spending a penny – and those unfamiliar with it yet to try it out without needing to invest any of their bankroll.
This, combined with such companies investing considerable resources into developing sleeker and more feature-packed versions of Slingo, has helped to propel the genre to new heights.
What's next for Slingo?
Many new variants of Slingo are based on popular board games like Monopoly
So, where can Slingo go from here? It's clear that the public's appetite for alternative forms of bingo is not going anywhere. Companies such as Bongo's Bingo, which organizes live bingo events with DJs, raves, and celebrities such as Kelis, reported a record £7 million in profits last year, despite only having a handful of employees.
Meanwhile, online Slingo providers are seeing record levels of interest and engagement from iGaming fans. In fact, industry insider and former CEO of Gaming Realms Patrick Southon has said that international expansion of the game, especially into Scandinavian markets, is likely to be a big driver of revenue moving forward.
As we have seen from the recent releases of themed Slingo games that combine elements of it with other games like Deal or No Deal or Monopoly, it is likely that future releases of similar nature are on the cards too.
It may even be the case that Slingo platforms follow in the footsteps of other casino pioneers, introducing elements such as virtual reality, live-streamed gameplay, and even AR into their releases.
Whatever happens, though, we seem to be witnessing the creation of a new iGaming classic.
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