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UK – WhichBingo suggests Bingo halls face steady decline as online popularity soars

By - 13 May 2021

The popularity of traditional Bingo halls is continuing to decline as audience demographics shift and the popularity of online bingo sites has soared in lockdown.

The findings were part of the annual insight report by WhichBingo, the UK’s number one, independent online bingo reviews site, owned and operated by XLMedia, which found a significant shift in the Bingo industry to younger online consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2021 WhichBingo survey found that 45 per cent of respondents said they prefer to play bingo online, while only 28 per cent of the same respondents said they would prefer to play in a land-based hall. The report reveals player numbers at bingo halls are continuing to decline year on year since 2007, and the rise in popularity of online bingo has seen many players swap their weekly night out for time spent online.

Report researchers surveyed more than 800 adults who played online bingo in the UK between January 4 – 15 2021, and results revealed that facebook is the social media platform of choice for bingo community groups. Being part of an online bingo community is considered ‘very important’ by 20 per cent of players, according to the survey
The social aspect of land-based bingo halls is perhaps the most difficult element to recreate, and 41 per cent chose ‘the atmosphere’ as their favourite part of attending a hall.

Facebook is the most likely place to find online bingo players gathering on social media, with 40 per cent of survey respondents saying that is where they would like the online bingo community to exist. Website forums (27 per cent) remain more popular than channels like Twitter (21 per cent), Twitch (16 per cent) and Discord (14 per cent), showing that the most up-to-date platforms are not necessarily the places bingo players want to gather.

The report revealed that changing demographics might be behind behaviour shifts. There has been a significant increase in younger men playing online bingo, but the report’s findings show that it is still women between the ages of 25 to 54 that are the more likely grouping to play online bingo. The overall shift to a younger player demographic, with 25 to 54 now the most represented age range (83 per cent of respondents), confirms an industry step-change and growing preference for online bingo.
The WhichBingo Report is an anticipated annual insight tool for the UK online bingo industry and a unique collective analysis of shifting consumer trends in online gaming business. The report studies and forecasts online gaming trends in the bingo, sports betting and casino industries.

Stuart Simms, CEO of XLMedia PLC Group: “Our reports have shown for several years now that the demographic playing bingo has been changing gradually and there has been a marked shift away from going down the bingo hall mid-week with friends to those playing online. Of course this has all been exacerbated by the pandemic and bingo halls being forced to shut by the government’s regulations. It seems online bingo’s appeal is now reaching people earlier in life, with those 25 to 54 now the most represented age range.

“It’s obviously hugely encouraging to see so many younger people enjoying the game and that it’s popularity is growing faster than ever. Of course, the questions on everyone’s lips will be how many of these changes have been caused by the pandemic and how many people will return to old habits when bingo halls are reopened to the public on May 17th. We think it’s important bingo retailers understand their new audiences and rethink how they communicate to them going forward.”

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