There has been a great deal written in recent times about the growing popularity of bingo with younger generations. The stereotypes surrounding bingo say that it is a dull, slow-paced game that is only enjoyed by retirees who want to sit around and gossip as they play. However, a recent survey found that today the majority of bingo players are in fact millennials.
Milwaukee’s Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, in Wisconsin in the United States, carried out the survey. It would certainly be an exaggeration to call the survey definitive and it may not be relevant to the United Kingdom; however, it is definitely indicative of the changing trends.
According to the casino’s survey, 59% of bingo players are millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996), 21% of players were Gen X (those born between 1965 and 1980, 14% of players were Gen Z (those born between 1997 and 2012), and just 6% were baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964).
Looked at another way, the survey revealed that 80% of bingo players were under 41 years old. However, the stereotype remains as 45% of respondents stated that bingo was an “old person’s” game.
Those behind the survey believe that it is the rise of mobile bingo apps that has caused bingo’s popularity to surge with younger players. Another impressive statistic revealed by the survey is that more than 1 in 10 Americans play bingo. It found that of those who play, close to 1 in 10 play daily, 32% play each week, 53% play each month, and 6% play each year. Furthermore, 12% of Americans first started playing bingo while under lockdown during the pandemic and 9% have started playing since March 2022.
As mentioned, this is just one survey and it cannot be taken as definitive proof. The survey was conducted in August 2022 and it asked just 1,000 people. There was roughly a 50/50 split between male and female respondents while the age range was 18 to 84 and the average age was 38 years old.
In the UK, several new venues have opened in recent years dedicated to attracting a younger crowd. For example, Dabbers Social Bingo in London advertises itself with the following:
“OUR NANS’ FAV GAME JUST HAD A FULL-BLOWN GLOW UP. CHEEKY CALLS, DISCO BALLS, BIG LAUGHS AND PLENTY OF PRIZES ARE ALL ON THE MENU AT BINGO’S MOST ECLECTIC, INCLUSIVE AND ENTERTAINING SHOW IN TOWN!”
In fact, the entire way that the game is advertised has changed. Rather than talking about “bingo games”, they are increasingly referred to as “bingo shows”. Players need to buy tickets in advance for these shows from the box office, rather than just turn up at the bingo club and buy a few tickets for the evening’s games.
It is hard to find up to date figures about bingo demographics in the UK. However, research carried out in 2018 by YouGov into online bingo players found that 28% of players were aged 25 to 34, of which 38% were men and 82% are were women. Interestingly, in 2015 the same research found that 32% of players were aged 55+ and this had fallen to just 21% by 2018.
These figures predate the pandemic, which will have had a huge impact on online playing habits. The figures also don’t look at venues such as Dabbers Social Bingo, of which there are now many. However, all the available figures undeniably point to the fact that bingo demographics are changing. So much so that it wouldn’t be surprising if the new generation of players finds the old stereotypes extremely perplexing.