When bingo is mentioned, most people’s conception is old women packing out smoky bingo halls and settling down for a night with their dabber and bingo tickets. It’s a game often associated with the older generation and this is one of the reasons why a lot of younger people are potentially put off.
However, given that the smoky rooms are no longer allowed due to the smoking ban, the demise of a huge number of bingo halls and the meteoric rise of online and mobile bingo, are these stereotypes of bingo players still true?
We’ve taken a look at some of the most recent industry data to see who is playing bingo and if the trends are looking like changing any time soon.
As many of you probably predicted, the majority of players that play bingo these days are women. In fact, 75% of all bingo players are women leaving just 25% of them being men. However, what’s most interesting about this is that the number of men who are playing the game is starting to rise. Between 2015 and 2018 this number grew by 7%, and industry experts are predicting that this number will continue to rise as the years go on.
The biggest ever winner of a single jackpot in the UK was a man by the name of John Orchard who won a staggering £5.9million. The largest female winner was that of Anne Marie Farrar who won £3.4million from just a 15p ticket. We’ve a full article on major bingo wins where we talk more about both of these incredible wins.
In terms of age, the sweet spot is that of 45-54, although the numbers have been shifting for this as well. In fact, the fastest growing demographic is that of the 18-34 year olds, who took just 17% of the total market share in 2015 increasing to a 25% total share in 2018. Again, these numbers are predicted to rise moving forward.
The biggest decline we have seen is actually that of the 55+ sector, going from an industry topping 32% in in 2015 to just 21% in 2018. You do need to remember that it isn’t necessarily the case that fewer people in that age bracket are playing the game, but more that the younger generation are starting to catch them up.
The 35-44-year olds were another group that has seen an increase, from 21% to 26%, with 45-54 year olds seeing a slight decrease from 30% to 28%.
YouGov were able to produce a report recently that dialled in on our numbers a little more. Their findings were related to online play, so bear this in mind.
They were able to decipher that the group most likely to play online bingo was that of 25-34s, with 28% of online players fitting that age demographic. What’s interesting though is that just 62% of those are female, with 38% male. These numbers are very different to our industry wide numbers above, although we were able to see that the overall number of male players was rising, so it does fall in line with that.
The reason behind this spike in online play for the younger generation is no doubt down to the fact that, generally, younger people are more au fait with technology than the older generation. But the stats also show that 28% of people who have played online have also visited a bingo club of some sort within the last 12 months.
Given that the number of bingo halls that have closed over the last few years has remained pretty constant – after a catastrophic time overall since the turn of the Millennium – it would suggest that the new breed of online players are visiting enough bingo halls to make the industry sustainable once again. It’s likely that their newfound interest has saved countless bingo halls throughout the UK and also countless jobs as a result.
Bingo Players and Alternative Gambling Habits
The YouGov report into bingo playing also had some interesting findings about bingo players and other forms of gambling. They were able to find a strong correlation between bingo players and those that played the National Lottery, citing that 69% of bingo players were also betting on the National Lottery.
The findings also saw that players who played bingo were 63% more likely to buy a scratchcard. On top of that, 38% of bingo players had tried some other form of gambling such as roulette, poker, blackjack etc., compared to just 5% of the UK’s national average.
Whilst the revelation that bingo players are more willing to try other forms of gambling is not a huge surprise, the numbers that make the transition are larger than we had expected and a clear indicator as to why bingo sites have such strong links to side games such as slots and table games. They have clearly done their research.
You can check out more using our YouGov source here.
Why do People Choose the Bingo Site That They Do?
There are many reasons why people choose the bingo site that they do, and each persons reasons is likely going to be quite different from another’s. The most common answer, however, is the quality of the website that they are playing on; this came in at number 1 above ease of depositing, bonus offers, and then cash out times.
People are looking for a quality time when the play bingo. They want sites that look good, function well and are going to instill confidence when they deposit their hard-earned cash. The ability to create such sites has grown drastically over the last decade or so, with the development of platforms like HTML5 allowing companies to offer the best possible gaming experience both online and on mobile.
Interestingly, the ability to play in store as well as playing online came the lowest on the list, with just 13% citing this as in important factor. It shows that the online world isn’t too fussed about being able to play in a bingo hall that is related to a brand, and are likely to go anywhere that is local and convenient if they want to venture offline.
Mobile Starting to Dominate
Mobile bingo is probably the fastest growing sector in the entire industry right now, which comes as little surprise given that the likes of sports betting and casino have already seen huge hikes in the number of mobile users.
One of the reasons behind this is that Google were able to lift the ban on bingo apps from their Google Play Store, which meant a wider range of players were able to directly download these apps.
The numbers really do speak volumes. In just 3 years we’ve seen a huge increase in mobile use for bingo. In 2015 there were 46% of users using either mobile or tablet devices to play online bingo, with 54% using either laptop to desktop. By 2018 the numbers had switched to just 33% using desktop or laptop and massive 67% using phone or tablet.
To break that down a little more, phone use has risen from 38% to 53%, with tablet ranging from 8% up to 14%. Laptop use has seen the biggest drop going from 39% to 23%, and desktop has gone from 15% to just 10%.
What’s interesting about this is that it links in with the data above regarding most players wanting a quality website. As the quality of these bingo apps keeps increasing (think HTML5) then the number of players making the switch over will increase. It makes sense really, as mobile devices are something that people have on them all the time, whereas you likely need to be in the house to use your laptop and especially your desktop computer.
However, 70% of online gamblers still play from the comfort of their home. This would suggest that people aren’t necessarily using their mobile device to play on the go, but in fact they are using it in their home even as a preference over desktop and laptop devices as it is quicker to access.
What’s been telling from the players that are playing online is that the majority of them are sticking with the same site over a long period of time. In fact, the numbers for this are much higher than that of both casino and sports betting, with brand loyalty playing a big role.
The main reason is that they like a sense of community. 80% of players will play bingo at least once a week and 62% of players are now members of just 1-5 bingo sites, a number that has risen from 49% in 2016. The number of people playing at between 6-10, 11-15 and 16+ bingo sites are all down as a result, suggesting that players aren’t as keen to be spread so thinly or open too many bingo accounts. The average number of accounts per player is 4.
One of the most common reasons why people leave their current site is the cash out time. Waiting for money in this day and age is a tedious task, and given that so many bingo sites are now able to offer same or next day cash out for people’s funds, if transaction times aren’t up to scratch they will simply leave for somewhere faster.
Bonuses have long been one of the biggest draws for players at bingo sites, but this trend is actually on the decline. 39% of people are more willing to opt out of bonuses in exchange for being able to withdraw their funds, rather than be tied into a bonus and have to work through wager requirements to get their money.
The downturn in people wanting a bonus can also be partly explained by the quality of the offer. A lot of the “free” no-deposit bonuses are now defunct given that gambling companies are forced to pay tax on those amounts as well, where previously they did not have to. Only 23% of players read the terms and conditions of these bonuses and 27% of those people then thought that the terms were unfair.
Women are less like to read these terms along with people aged 65+. The downturn in bonuses ties in with information above in “playing habits” suggesting that people are no longer bothered about chasing these bonuses so are opening fewer accounts.
Spending Habits and Delusion
Another tie in with the above data shows that people are now spending less money on bingo as they are less committed to depositing to get large bonuses. The number of players who are now depositing over £100 on average per month has gone down from 18% in 2015 to just 13% in 2018. The most common bracket for deposits used to be £10-£25, but this has now been replaced with £25-£50. This may seem like an increase, but the rise of almost 6% of deposits that are £10 or less and the lack of higher deposits means that these numbers are offset, seeing an overall decrease.
When it comes to withdrawing, the majority of players will cash out at the £50 mark, with the next highest being that of £100. It seems that most players see anything lower than £50 as money to play with and try to spin up.
The delusion comes from the fact that 62% of people who regularly play bingo don’t see themselves as gamblers, and instead they see the game solely as a form of entertainment. The realisation is that bingo is in fact as much gambling as any other product, such as sports or casino, it’s just that the house edge or money raked can seem smaller.
The Future of the Bingo Industry
The trends over the last 3 years mean that we could be entering almost unprecedented times for bingo. The demographic of people playing is becoming much more even in terms of men and women, and the age of the people playing is lowering, mainly thanks to the increase in mobile bingo.
The younger generation are also getting involved with new ventures such as Bongo’s Bingo, which makes for an almost nightclub-feel within bingo halls, that includes novelty prizes, loud music, dancing, alcohol and lots of fun.
The increase in the number of younger people attending bingo halls is a massive positive and it could even lead to an increase in the number of halls operating within the UK, which many people are already predicting.
The online industry will continue with its switch through to mobile and this will follow other trends like sports betting in terms of an increase over desktop and laptop devices. The bingo industry has had hard times over the last decade, but there does appear to be some much-needed light at the end of the tunnel.