Just Who Plays Bingo?
Doddering old ladies, young yummy mummies or brutish bingo blokes?
Recent polls of UK players has revealed that 3.4 million people play online bingo, turning over £600 million for the industry each year. Another surprising statistic is that about 50% of all online bingo players play the game daily, and 40% have been playing online bingo for more than five years. But just who is playing exactly?
It’s been a long standing stereotype that bingo is an old folks game. However, in actual fact 90% of all bingo players in the UK are now under 50. This is almost exclusively down to the rise of the internet, with the younger, more tech savvy generation exploring online bingo sites. Not to mention, the under 30s are more tuned into social media marketing and TV advertisements then any other demographic.
There are also many celebrities that helped lead the way in popularity for online bingo. Avid players of the game include Sharon and Ozzy Osborne, Barbara Streisand, Robbie Williams and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Not only are these the typical trendsetters for ages 30-50, but the Osbourne reality show brings in an even younger crowd of those in their 20s!
Interestingly, the large bulk of bingo players nowadays can be summed up in just 2 words: Yummy Mummies. The Gambling Commission’s 2010 British Gambling Prevalence Survey suggests that 12% of women (compared to 6% of men) play bingo. Interestingly 30% are educated to university level and 50% of the players have children.
Perhaps, more women are gambling in general these days thanks to the anonymity of the internet. It provides a gender-neutral safe space for women to enjoy gambling, away from masculine betting shops and testosterone fuelled poker tables. This certainly shows in the design of bingo websites – typically a background of purple, pink or blue, with some kind of ‘cutesy’ setting or character. Indeed, with lower stakes and lighter atmosphere, bingo is at the centre of a new type of “soft gambling”, appealing to women.
Luckily, the anonymity of online bingo may also entice more men to get into the game then we realise. Thanks to mobile, tablet and PC play, men are safe from getting teased by their friends for liking a ‘feminine’ game. In fact, research shows that more men are starting to play online by creating female usernames!
When this was first noticed, some male-targeted bingo sites emerged, featuring gruff looking graphics, black backgrounds and slogans like ‘you play it drinking beer’. Plus, there was the use of more neutral, non-cash prizes that appeal across gender lines, like cars and iPads.
Of course, the key group of people you think about in anything involving the internet are the younger generation – the under 30s. Apparently, around 30% of players are now under the age of 30. A feature on Channel 4, which is usually geared to 20-30 year olds, also highlighted the surge of popularity for bingo. As the most tech savvy part of the population, they can get much more involved in chat rooms, being familiar with texting language. In fact, a lot of younger players even go out to bingo halls, much like a 25 year old student nurse who received a cash prize of just under £200,000!
Now in terms of location, the UK is by far the busiest country for online bingo, with the amount won online every year tripling since 2008. Players are enjoying new features and the growing trend of cheap and free bingo on the larger bingo sites. Other emerging markets include the majority of Europe, particularly Spain, Switzerland and Brazil. However, in most states of America online bingo is in fact illegal, so watch your back in the USA bingoers!