Online Bingo Demographics: Who’s Playing?

Image credit: Britta Frahm
Image credit: Britta Frahm

Before the internet came along and upset the natural order of things, bingo was that one game that was either played by kids in classrooms or pensioners in smoky after-hours cafeterias. That image persists to this day to a degree, although online bingo has done much to shake things up and bring bingo to a whole new set of demographics.

However, if you watch a handful of bingo adverts or visit a few online bingo websites, all those pastel colours and cute tag lines prove that bingo is still very much targeted to a certain demographic.

Cases in point:

bingo adverts

You would think that people of all stripes like the idea of winning money, so the question we ask today is who actually plays? Do the bingo demographics of old persist or has online bingo truly changed in terms of who’s playing?

In all reality, demographics don’t mean a whole lot to anyone who isn’t an advertiser. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from: winning money feels good. Even so, it can be interesting to see who’s actually playing today.

Demographics and Stats for Online Bingo

Up to date statistics are difficult to find, but we managed to cobble together a few resources in an effort to see how the modern bingo landscape really looks. Maybe one day we will conduct our own study here at BingoWebsites.com, but for now here is a look at what other sources have to say on the matter.

2010 British Gambling Prevalence Study

This study is starting to get pretty dated, but 2010 was the last time the UK Gambling Commission conducted a gambling prevalence study. In that study, they found that men were more likely to participate in gambling activities with the exception of bingo and scratch cards. For bingo, it was found that 12% of women had participated in bingo over the previous year compared to 6% of men doing the same.

bingo demographics study

This particular study confirms the stereotype that bingo is much more attractive to women. In 2010 at least, women were twice as likely as men to play real money bingo.

Anecdote from an Affiliate Manager

An affiliate manager for Bingo Knights reported in 2014 that the average bingo customer is “likely to be a female between the ages of 34-55. The data is trending upward for younger women, and to a lesser extent, men as well.”

University of Kent: The Bingo Project

The Bingo Project by the University of Kent may very well be the most comprehensive and recent wide scale study of bingo we have available. The study was conducted over a course of three years to see how bingo is regulated in Canada, Brazil, England and Wales and online in the European Union.

Researchers associated with the Bingo Project analyzed past surveys and spoke to lawmakers, regulators, industry stakeholders and regular players in an effort to fully understand the industry and provide better understanding as to how bingo plays into debates regarding law, politics and economics. One key part of their research involved studying the demographics of people who play bingo, both online and in the real world.

The final report was released on 23 June, 2016 and it is chock-full of interesting information. In a chapter dedicated to online bingo in the EU, they found that “the stereotypical image of bingo players – female, elderly and working class – was recognized throughout our research.” Bingo Project researchers noted that of the many people they interviewed, the general consensus was that women play more online bingo than other online gambling games.

That being said, one operator interviewed by Project Bingo researchers noted a significant divergence in demographics between retail and online bingo. Whereas retail bingo suffers from the stigma of being the exclusive domain of pensioners, online bingo attracts greater numbers of younger players of both sexes.

UK operators told Project Bingo that roughly 60% of their players were female with an average age of 40.

On an side note, they found that bingo tends to be more popular in Western EU nations such as the UK, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Portugal and Sweden. They talked to one member of a bingo trade association who noted that online bingo is a “hard sell” to countries that don’t already have a strong bingo tradition.

“Generalising it, when we reach further east in Europe, it drops off the map.”

Conclusion: Bingo Does Tend to Attract Women, but Not Overwhelmingly

Every study and anecdotal report we could dig up seemed to agree that women are more likely to play bingo than men. If you were to define the prototypical online bingo player, it would be:

  • A woman
  • 40 years old
  • Lives in a Western European nation
  • Brings in an average annual income

However, these are just broad trends. The Bingo Project may have found that 60% of online bingo players are female, but that also means nearly half are male. Internet bingo is not the exclusive domain of retired women. If you’re a male bingo player, don’t be put off by all the cute, pink adverts. You are most certainly not alone in your fondness for a good game of bingo.