— Bingo sites that pay students a flat fee for the course they are taking, and that also offer a monthly membership fee, have become popular in recent years, with some paying out more than $1,000 annually to about 200,000 students.
Now, as part of a push to encourage more students to pay, some major bingo companies have gone public and announced plans to charge students for courses, like online poker, instead of for tuition.
The moves are expected to help the companies generate more revenue for the companies, which are struggling to attract students and build their businesses.
The move could be a game-changer for the industry, which has struggled with rising student debt and dwindling revenue over the last decade.
“We’re going to have to make a choice about the value of our students,” said Dan Vittorio, president of the International Baccalaureate Association.
“Or we’re going out and spending money on the stuff that pays.”
Colleges have become big players in online gambling, and companies like PokerStars and Baccarat are among the big names in the industry.
But there are other players in the online gaming space, too, including smaller sites like PayoutNow.com, where students can play free online games for a fee.
That site was founded by former students of Rutgers University and has attracted a slew of high school and college students from around the country, according to the website.
It now has more than 300,000 members.
Some of the biggest players are now betting on the popularity of college and university tuition as an attractive option for students.
The sites that have taken the biggest hits in the latest push are online poker sites, which charge students $1 to $2 a game for the chance to win a small amount of money on a weekly basis.
Some companies have already started to charge fees, like Paypal, which announced plans Monday to charge a flat monthly membership of $1 per user for students in college.
Others are working to make the payments more affordable.
The companies that have raised the most money are the big players like Pokerstars and Bancor.
Bancors, which was founded in 2007 by former PokerStars players, said in a statement Monday that it would charge students a fee based on how many games they play and how many hours they spend each week playing the games.
The company said it would also charge a $1 fee to the first $1.00 spent, and then a $2 fee for each additional $1 spent.
“With a flat membership fee that’s comparable to the current $1/month charge for college, we believe that we’re able to offer students more value for their money and that it’s a way to give students more control over how much money they’re spending on tuition,” the company said.
Baccarelli said in an interview Monday that his company would charge a student a flat-fee of $2.50 to $3 for each $1 they spent.
He said that for every dollar they spent on tuition, he would make $1 back for the student, and $2 back for his company.
The plan comes as colleges are grappling with soaring student debt, as well as the cost of building up the resources to keep up with the increased demand.
“Our industry is struggling right now to grow the pie,” said Julie Dittman, a senior fellow at the Council of Graduate Schools, an education advocacy group.
“I think people are starting to see the importance of getting a college education.”
Many students who have started to pay for college are not enrolled in a school.
Others pay for online games through third-party websites like PokerStar and BetOnline.
Some colleges are also shifting to charging students directly.
For instance, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee students will pay $4 a month for their course from next semester.
Students at the University of California-Irvine will pay an additional $10 a month in October to join BetOnline, which is the largest online poker company.
“It’s a very big move, and we think it’s going to be a huge success,” said Sarah Estrich, an associate professor of education at the School of Education at the College of William and Mary.
“If you are a student who is currently enrolled in school, you’re still getting that $1 a month, and you can also use that money for a lot of things that you may want to do, like buying a new car.”
A Baccatrac spokesman said in the statement that Baccacarelli would be making payments to students “in accordance with the agreements we have in place.”
Baccarra, a major BaccaOnline competitor, said its students are paid a flat rate of $25 a month.
“The fees are an upfront charge for each student that we provide,” Baccara spokeswoman Amy