Online Bingo Becoming a Middle Class Pastime

This year internet bingo operators will be paying close attention to the bottom line. The industry has gotten fiercely competitive and bingo operators are looking for any advantage. Many bingo sites are now targeting casual gamblers and affluent middle class players. For many bingo still has a dowdy reputation and many still think of the typical bingo player as a blue haired chain smoking pensioner sitting in a smoky bingo hall surrounded by a collection of outlandish daubers and good luck charms. For many middle class ladies in the UK playing at bingo sites has become a guilty pleasure. For many middle class players one of the main attractions of online bingo is that no one need know they are participating in a game dominated by negative stereotypes.

For the past few years land based bingo clubs in the UK have been beset by the implementation of a draconian smoking ban, double taxation, a £500 on slot machine jackpots and the effects of the global recession. All of these factors have combined into a perfect storm that has caused widespread bingo hall closures across the UK.  The very same factors have also been largely responsible for the rapid growth on internet bingo. In 2007 there were about 200-250 bingo sites targeting the UK and today there are about 400 almost double the 2007 figure.

Last year many bingo sites reported record profits. The series of severe storms in the UK sent stranded players online resulting in record fourth quarter profits for many bingo sites. The bingo industry, while not recession proof, has proved itself to be recession resistant. Online bingo fit the needs of players affected by the recession and provided inexpensive entertainment with the added benefit of a chance to win money. The difference in land based bingo demographics vs. online bingo was summed up by 888 CEO Gig Levy who stated, “Online bingo is booming everywhere. But it’s a mistake to link it to traditional bingo, because that’s a completely different proposition. Our women are young, above average income and typical internet consumers. Land-based bingo is about elderly people, smoking and aggressive slot machines.”

Male bingo players are somewhat unusual but several men play at bingo sites to avoid criticism. James Preece says it is less embarrassing to play at bingo sites than it is to play in a room filled with elderly female pensioners. The many new nontraditional players at bingo sites ensure that the industry will remain profitable for years to come.

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