Gambling is a legal and popular pass-time, enjoyed by people the world over in many guises. Bingo, like the various national lotteries around the globe, is considered a ‘soft’ form of gambling, associated with old ladies and church halls more than flashy Las Vegas style casinos.

However, with the surge in popularity of online Bingo, the question is arising – is it possible that the hidden danger of gambling addiction lurks in this innocent game, after all?

Recent studies confirm that the online environment makes it easier than ever to become hooked. Players can log on any time, because it brings the game conveniently to your fingertips, at home, at work – wherever you have Internet connectivity. And the online world never sleeps.

However, it can be relatively easy to work out if your gaming habits are healthy.

Compare the following examples:

An individual logs on to his favorite online bingo website daily and buys around 10 cards each night. His greatest enjoyment comes not from the games, although they are undoubtedly fun to play and he gets excited when he comes close to a win. However, he is mostly there for the social interaction he gets in the chatrooms – the busiest and most popular rooms on most online bingo sites. Winning is secondary, and not the main purpose of his attendance. He knows when to quit.

According to Wikipedia, the number one online encyclopedia, addiction is defined as “a compulsion to repeat behavior, regardless of the consequences”.

So does such an everyday appearance in the online bingo environment constitute addiction? The player interacts socially, and occasionally makes some cash, while buying a manageable number of cards that he can afford.

While it may be argued that he is ‘hooked’ on the time he spends at the online bingo sites, there are no detrimental effects to his home life, his finances or his general health and well-being.

In another scenario, a woman sits up late into the night, spending money on countless cards, which she simply cannot afford. Her late nights impact negatively on her performance at work, and on her family life. When she does make a winning, it only spurs her on to play on in the hope of an even bigger win next time around.

The difference is not hard to see.

According to the Australian Minister for Gaming, John Pandazopoulos, who recently launched that country’s Responsible Gambling Awareness Week, keeping the following criteria in mind could help players enter into the enjoyment of games such as bingo safely:

oGamble for the fun of it, not for the money.