Gambling Stigma and Online Bingo

Perceptions about what people think about gambling are often dismissed by researchers as being too subjective to be of any value in generating reliable information about gambling’s place in the entertainment industry. In the UK sportsbetting, slots and bingo are an established part of gaming in the UK. Bingo seems to have less of a stigma attached to it than other forms of gambling. According to Constance Chapple, a professor of gambling studies at the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham University “Although gambling has largely maintained its deviant reputation, bingo, as a form of gambling, remains untainted by labels of deviance. “Chapple says that society has constructed bingo as a socially acceptable form of gambling that does not carry the stigma associated with other casino games.

Chapple’s contentions have been backed up by the latest British Gambling Prevalence Survey (BGPS) which said that most of those surveyed did not consider playing the National Lottery or bingo as gambling. Some did not want to answer questions about these activities when the questions were phrased using the term ‘gambling.’ Bingo’s reputation stems from the perception that the game is a social activity and is played chiefly by older women and pensioners. The stigma associated with other gambling games does not seem to be apparent with bingo and it is this factor that has helped online bingo operators to convince people to play bingo online.

Chapple cites other reasons for the decreasing stigma associated with gambling. She says that the introduction of the National Lottery in 1994 had two effects. The introduction of the lottery made gambling socially acceptable and lessened the stigma associated with gambling. Since then attitudes about gambling have softened. The second reason was that the lottery helped to masculinize gambling making it more acceptable for women to gamble. So far there has been little research on bingo in most gambling studies.

Chapple says that before 2002 research showed that the majority of bingo players were working class women that felt the game provided an opportunity for them to socialize with friends. Like many Chapple said that the smoking ban may have been responsible for the growth of online bingo in the UK. She also said that a new type of bingo player was created: the online bingo player. Online bingo players tend to be younger and familiar with technology. Although bingo research is rare thanks to people like Professor Chapple we can get a better idea of the demographics associated with live and online bingo.

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