Bingo has had an undulating appeal in the United Kingdom.
From its initial boom in the 1960s to dwindling figures by the late 1980s and its recent resurgence, bingo is back and is bigger than ever. But is it really the female dominated pastime that we’re led to believe?
Traditionally, with senior couples playing bingo regularly, the demographic was tilted heavily towards older age groups but more recently, the divide appears to be based on gender.
Worldwide there are as many as 100 million online bingo players and the UK market is well represented. In 2019 the UK online bingo market was worth £198 million, an increase of 12.5% on the year before.
And clearly with participation as high as it is, these numbers are not solely made up of women. In 2020, 78% of online players were female but other analytics suggest the split was much less one-sided with as close to 60% female and 40% male. The impact of the online bingo industry is beginning to disrupt these statistics and dispel old fashioned clichés.
Access to online bingo through apps and a younger population spending increasingly longer on their mobile devices has dramatically increased younger participation and spending, including young males. 888 bingo for example, recently reported a surge of 50% to their revenue. In fact, 80% of online bingo players are between 35-64 years old and younger people are also more likely to spend more per session.
Technology has played a key role in recent developments with the vast majority of players preferring to play on a smartphone over a tablet. Some of these new younger players are also playing bingo in the real world with up to a third of online players stating they’d visited a bingo hall up within the last year.
Every major gambling company in the UK runs its own bingo site or owns a subsidiary company that does. Bingo’s association with online casinos has grown ever closer. Male gamblers, who are much more likely to visit online casinos are finding it easier to transfer their custom to bingo sites from an online casino site they’d normally use.
The marketing surrounding online bingo has been squarely aimed at the female player with little exception. Many sites have pink themes and attractive mascots to openly appeal to their female target audience.
Bingo in the digital realm provides an element of privacy not found in land-based alternatives.
Despite its modernising reputation, men might have been too embarrassed to attend their nearest bingo hall and pursue a hobby so strongly associated with middle-aged women. And because ultimately, bingo is undeniably fun, these players are now free to play from the comfort of their own home without the accompanying stigma.
Men Feel More At Ease
The internet has created an anonymity for consumers that means they aren’t required to conform to norms regarding their behaviour and preferences. This means men can feel as comfortable as female players in an online bingo space.
In addition, gender roles, especially among younger people are undergoing a decreasing significance. Millennial men are more likely to feel comfortable with playing bingo and other traditionally ‘women focused’ activities than their fathers.
Online bingo is also attractive to older tech savvy men. The game is engaging and enjoyable but not as taxing as games like poker or blackjack. It’s also a pastime that can be shared with their wives and grown-up children.
Technology connects people whether family members or previous strangers. Online bingo sites also cater for the social aspect with chat rooms where players can interact with one another.
Some bingo apps allow friends to organise their own private bingo events, and this can be great fun for male friend groups or mixed sex groups alike.
Online bingo providers have a range of themes and options for players. 888 bingo has dozens of bingo choices and promotions as well as slots and other traditional casino games to play alongside bingo and more men are discovering combinations to suit them.
Sign up bonuses and promotions are an attractive draw to new players. Sites offer promotions, deposit matching and free cards to generate new business. And to encourage regulars to stay, loyalty schemes reward returning customers.
The online gambling market is principally dominated by men. 82% of money spent on gambling sites is done so by men. And the prospect of cash prizes at online bingo sites is the bottom line when it comes to numerous male user’s decision to play. Eye-watering jackpots and exclusive bonuses have upped the ante for the casual player – a thrill men are likely to seek out.
As the market continues to grow and societal standards shift, we can expect to see more men enjoying bingo. With a focus on the entertainment value of the game and not on the intended audience men can be liberated to join in and feel the rush of calling, “House” (even if it is from behind a screen).