Who is Playing?

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While Bingo might seem like a harmless game of luck played mainly by senior citizens, there are a surprising number of people who are drawn to the game, whether online, on their iPad or in person. Given the number of people in the UK and across the world with gambling addictions, it’s possibly troubling to note that use of online bingo sites– as well as other gambling applications– is on the rise.

Catering to One And All

85% of bingo players now play online. Since the legal age for gambling is 18, bingo sites claim that the ages of participants range from 18 to 100, but it’s relatively simple to make a fake account in order to play before reaching the age of 18 and as of 2008 70% of UK pensioners had never even been online. The Independent reported in January that 9 million Britons are gambling online.

Who is playing bingo? Demographics infographic

Are these the people you expected to see playing bingo online?

Looking at the facts on who plays bingo, the demographics are as follows:

  • Outside the UK, there are over 100 million bingo players throughout the world
  • 80% of players are women
  • The average age range for both men and women is 30 to 50 years olds
  • As mentioned, 85% of players are playing online as opposed to in land-based casinos
  • In the last decade, the amount of players who are younger than 45 has increased from 46% to 62%

If you’re looking to play bingo with like-minded people, the online industry has expanded to encompass that: some newspapers have developed online bingo halls to attract people of particular political ideas, while other shops have set up “cheeky” bingo parlors online and provide prizes accordingly.

From William Hill and Wink to LoveMyBingo and LadyLucks, the various bingo sites also differentiate their bingo rooms by gender, age, and prizes that are specifically geared to attract younger players. Making games that can be played on smartphones and bingo for tablets also appeals to a younger generation that has grown up with these devices. While 80% of players are women, there are certainly men playing, too, and whatever your mindset or interest, there is undoubtedly an online bingo room designed for you.

Land-Based Bingo in Trouble

With the rise in online bingo, land-based casinos are facing difficult times. Revenues have consistently declined slightly over the past decade, while it has risen meteorically for online bingo halls. One in three bingo halls in the UK had to close its doors in 2012 as people increasingly turned to the ease and comfort of gambling online.

Those who aren’t as computer-saavy– notably, some members of the older generation– continue to frequent bingo halls, as online gaming has neither the ease or allure it may hold for younger users. On the other hand, teens and 20-somethings who have grown up with a smart phone may not even consider going to land-based casinos when so much of their lives are conducted digitally.

Learning to Play With Educational Apps

Because bingo has such seemingly harmless origins as a fun game of luck where you don’t lose– or necessarily win– too much money, it has been used in any number of educational games. Talk to teachers and you’ll find that they regularly use bingo as a classroom strategy to help students review information or study math facts.

Moving this trend forward, there is a huge market for bingo applications designed for young children. PC Advisor cites “Math Bingo” as one of its top math apps to “make learning basic maths not only easy but fun, too.” The game allows children to change the settings to learn addition, subtraction, multiplication or division, and it keeps track of the child’s score as he/she plays. TeachHub agrees, saying that the game is “timeless” and can be used in the classroom, as well.

Other applications for teaching skills are similar: Sight Word Bingo helps children learn to spell and recognize sight words through the use of a bingo game. It’s very similar to Math Bingo and has received similarly positive reviews, but the question remains what we’re teaching children: should we be promoting gambling as a way to learn? Children who are not even old enough to understand the premise of gambling are being encouraged to make bets and try to gain as much “money” (couched in “bingo bugs,” for the purpose of these games) as possible.

While it’s clear that there are many positives to this, with the earlier numbers showing the rate of online bingo players on the rise, it’s questionable as to whether we should be introducing children to bingo quite this early.

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