Bingo to Expand its Digital Presence

By Ben Hamill - July 06 2015
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Gamification

Two weeks ago, on June 22, Toronto-based Intertain announced that it had bought source code from Parlay. It also announced buying a domain: bingo.ca. These purchases cost only 2.8 million dollars. It was a small business deal. So why does it worry me so?

G is for Gobbledygook

Listen to this quote from Intertain's President and CEO John Kennedy FitzGerald: “Intertain has acquired some of the leading bingo brands in the world during the past 12 months and it has been our plan to eventually own a proprietary bingo platform to provide the Company with options and flexibility for our current and future business.”

In other words, the CEO of a company that bought bingo software and the simplest bingo domain in Canada has announced that bingo is about to go "big business." Mr. FitzGerald then went on to say: “This deal will immediately enable Vera&John to integrate the bingo platform and additional side games into its existing platform in order to move forward with a bingo offering for its customers.” As if we don't have enough online bingo, Intertain plans on introducing bingo to Vera&John.

So I decided to do some research.

Is Intertain Our Friend

Something about this announcement bothered me so I did a search for Intertain. The company's website opens with a very slick landing page in purple, grey, and black ballyhooing their 2014 Online Annual Report with a link to the report and the corporate motto: investment meets entertainment. this is intertain.

Whew! We're in the Clear Now

Now I feel so much better. A Canadian company has practically guaranteed that it will thrust bingo into the entertainment limelight in as slick a way as they can in order to get you to spend your gambling money on bingo instead of on slots, blackjack, or video poker. Clearly, the classic casino games don't generate enough income and for only 2.8 million dollars, Intertain has bought the means to sweep up some of the gambling crumbs that online bingo represents.

Did You Know That

I love the way Intertain describes itself in the small print: "The Intertain Group Limited is an online gaming holding company that provides wagering focused entertainment to a global consumer base."

I never realized that I was a consumer of "wagering focused entertainment". I thought that I dropped a few dollars on some casino games and bingo almost every night. I also thought that when I played blackjack I was gambling.

What Are They Holding

Intertain is a worldwide holding company. That means that it owns online casinos but prefers to call itself an entertainment company. It's either ashamed to state outright that it's a gambling emporium or it feels that it's bad for its image to be forthright about such matters.

Maybe they think the stork brought Vera&John to our laptops.

Intertain Parleys Parlay

I then looked up Parlay. They are a software company that produces gaming and other software. On their landing page you can access five sub-pages. Page four states that Parlay is innovative and can help any company develop its own software-based solutions. This didn't bother me but the graphic on the page did: an inside look into a human head. Where the brain should be were instead a series of gears and pulleys with a Eureka! style light bulb at the center.

Where's Your Brain At

So, my brain and yours are just mechanisms to be manipulated. The manipulation these days are all computer based, mobile devices with screens. The assumption is that every company is looking for new, innovative ways to get into our heads and manipulate us for their purposes. From the standpoint of Parlay and even from the standpoint of Intertain, bingo is small potatoes. But the ultimate goal is scary beyond belief: mind control through the computerization of everything.

I went and fixed myself a nice hot chocolate, the one with the smiling grandma on the canister, and came back to the computer relaxed, calm, and prepared to embrace Big Brother. Then I went to the fifth and last sub-page linked to from Parlay's home page. It was there that I saw the horrifying new word: gamification. Parlay is pushing social gaming and gamification for every online business.

Embracify the Future

I must expect that supermarket chains will soon gamify the purchasibility of their store brand products. I must expect that the National Health Service will soon gamify the waitibility of doctor's visits. I must expect that the Canadian newspaper guild will gamify my search for replacement fish wrap as my local newspaper gamifiably prints fewer and fewer newspapers. I must expect that the mall that I frequent frequently will gamify the searchability for parking places on weekend nights. I must not be surprised when the Church enlists Parlay's help in gamifying His return.

O bingo of my youth

O bingo of my young adulthood

Where hath thou gone

Art thou now digital?

Will digital bingo gamify our days

Will digital bingo gamify my thoughts

Will digital bingo gamify my dreams

I await the gamification of snow and ice

I await the gamification of traffic jams

I await the gamification of credit card debt

So What, They Say

The thousands of small organizations and charities that benefit from charitable gaming must be rejoicing today that yet another big online casino has purchased the means to bring bingo to the public.

Surely, they must be anxiously awaiting the gamification of their demise.

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