Does Bingo Have a Calling in China? A Look at the History of the Game and Future Possibilities

| Jun 16, 2017 03:47 PM EDT

With gambling more popular than ever around the world, many cities have become popular destinations thanks to their abundance of casinos. Las Vegas, Monte Carlo and Atlantic City are famed for their nightlife activities involving casino games. The Special Administrative Regions of Macau and Hong Kong in China are proof of this popularity too, being prime destinations for anyone seeking some betting thrills. 

However, gambling is actually not that common in China, as different forms of gambling in the mainland are currently against the law, with the only casino gaming-related practices in the country being lotteries. Macau and Hong Kong are exceptions to this rule perhaps due to the territorial history: Hong Kong as a former territory of the United Kingdom and Macau previously a colony of Portugal. While casinos and card games such as poker are popular in these casino cities, one game that fits into this industry well, but has not made a significant appearance in China yet, is bingo. 

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Bingo Macau

This lack of bingo activity in the country is surprising considering China's fascination with numbers and card games, which are the primary focuses of bingo. Traditional attitudes related to luck, particularly in relation to having numbers which are deemed luckier than others, would typically lend itself to the game of bingo. However, the concept of numerology has so far not been enough to bring the popular Western number game to the country, despite the fact that Chinese numerology has eight lucky digits, compared to three unlucky ones, which would on the Chinese's side when playing bingo. It does not appear to be the case that bingo has not made an impact in China because the game is disliked though. 

Despite the background of bingo in China not having a strong standing, there is no reason why in the future, the game could not become popular should legislation allow for it. In recent years, there has been a push by Western companies to trial bingo in China. Back in 2007, Gala Coral won a licence to test out bingo halls in Hebei province. While there is still a long way to go, there is no denying that it was a step in the right direction for bingo in China. 

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Bingo Macau

One of the bigger walls to break down in bringing the game of bingo east is the online version. In Western countries, online bingo is rapidly becoming the main way of playing the game, which with China's online gambling ban, could be problematic. Although casinos in Macau and Hong Kong bring in significant revenue for China, online forms of gambling are still not licensed in these regions. Given the growing success of the casino scene in these places though, perhaps there is hope for the future regarding online versions.

It's possible that people in China may get a chance to play online bingo using Western sites one day as well, as there are several advantages to them. As playing online bingo is more established in the Western countries, there is a lot more detailed information on how to play online bingo, the safety features involved, and what sites are best. There are websites now dedicated to comparing different online bingo games, pointing to the best bonuses and deposit offers. The popularity of the game, especially in the UK and US is evident by the number of new bingo websites. Such competition encourages bonus offers and sign-up incentives.

It is hard to say in the long-term what the future of bingo will hold in China. The fact that gambling has a firm place in Chinese history and the ever-expanding popularity of the casino and betting culture in Macau and Hong Kong have to be noted though, therefore it is quite possible that bingo could break into the Chinese market. When exactly this will be and how it will occur is something that remains to be seen, but with bingo being so popular in the Western world, there is no reason why it should not catch on in China.  

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