Why Money Bridge Isn’t Bigger
Money bridge was huge at one point, but it seems like it’s disappeared from the scene leaving precious few options left where you can play an online bridge game for cash. We wondered why there aren’t more readily available options for money bridge through online casinos, so we went digging for more information on where Bridge Big went – and checked out Bridge Base Online money bridge.
Whatever Happened to BridgeBig?
Bridge Big launched with a brilliant idea: Offer a range of bridge games for cash. Unfortunately, the concept didn’t last long and the creators of Bridge Big soon jumped ship on the site.
In a post on Bridge Winners, co-creator Rene de Waele mentioned back in February 2013 that he didn’t receive the support necessary from the ACBL – and hoped that more support from the bridge world would make the concept take off.
We tracked down Jeroen van der Ent, a freelance designer who put together the website and software to find out what happened:
“I was hired as a freelance designer to create the concept of the first version of the online game and the first website of BridgeBig” says Jeroen, “The idea was to change online bridge into a format and experience that was closer to playing online poker while staying true to the bridge game.”
He says that he believes the legal issues were what presented the biggest problem: “Bridge is a skill game, but it was still seen and treated as online gambling by authorities.”
So we wonder when online casino operators will embrace bridge just as much as poker. Soon, we’d hope.
BBO Money Bridge
BBO is one of the only websites to currently offer money bridge as an option.
According to the description of on their website, “Money Bridge on BBO has been designed to be an entertaining, secure, and cheat-proof game of skill.” It also notes, “We offer Money Bridge games at various stakes (including games where no money is at stake so that you can try out this form of bridge without any real risk).”
The game puts you up against a robot-player partnership, with a robot partner yourself, and deals are conducted with MB$ (Money Bridge Dollars). Each game depends on the stakes set for it. You withdraw your money via Paypal or a US-bank check.
Because bridge is considered a game of skill over gambling, the legality of playing online bridge is debated by many laws over the world. For example, South African authorities have taken a defensive stance against it.
An article by IOL expands on South African gambling laws:
“The government has since relied on that clarification of the existing law, but failed to enforce it. The result is a cat-and-mouse game, in which the authorities keep their claws sheathed, while the gambling websites hide in plain sight, trying not to be noticed, or hoping to become such a familiar part of online commerce that they are accepted by default.”
The rules of BBO Money Bridge state:
- Must be an adult over 18 (sometimes 21) to play
- Skill games for money must be legal in your region
While it’s clear that playing is allowed, the law is also set up so that it has the potential to best any players who actually want to access their money, and there’s a lot of potential for red tape.
We’ll admit that this can create a hard situation for would-be money bridge players – and it’s part of why Bridge Big might have failed in the first place. Conclusion? There should be laws allowing for Money Bridge – and much clearer ones at that – if we’re going to see money bridge take off online.
by Alex J Coyne