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Apr
28th

Where Have All the Bingo Players Gone?

A recent New York Times article asks; where did all the bingo players go? The answer to the question is very simple- they are playing online. There are many factors contributing to this phenomenon. One of the main factors that are often cited is the passage of smoking bans. Statistics show that a majority of bingo players enjoy a smoke while playing and smoking bans have sent many players online.

The UK passed a draconian smoking ban which went into effect July, 1, 2006. Almost immediately attendance at local bingo halls declined dramatically. Some estimated a 60% decline in attendance. In the US several states have passed smoking bans with a hodgepodge of various rules and regulations. In the US bingo has long been used as a fundraising device by several charitable organizations. Bingo games in states with smoking bans experienced a rapid loss of players and revenue. Many churches and veterans organizations closed their bingo games. In Youngstown Ohio a parochial school was forced to raise tuition because the parish’s bingo games had subsidized tuition for years.

For many, bingo was affordable, inexpensive entertainment. Left with no place to go, many bingo players switched to internet bingo. Online bingo can offer jackpots and prizes unheard of in the land based bingo industry. Online bingo players appreciate the fact that they can play from the privacy of their own homes, and yes they can smoke if they choose. Most online bingo websites have chat rooms for those who like to socialize while playing. Many offer special chat games with unique prizes available only to those in the chat room.

Players of internet bingo games may play any time they choose whether it’s at 6 AM or midnight. The trek to the local bingo hall is no longer necessary and with gas hovering at around $4.00 a gallon playing online can save on gas money. Most online bingo sites offer the ability to multi task while playing bingo. A mom can go to a bingo site, log on, play and still watch the kids at the same time.

Who plays bingo? One bingo network cites the following figures of online bingo players by age; 18-34 = 29%, 35-44 = 29%, 45-54 = 28%, 55-64 = 12%, 65+ = 2%. These figures dispel the myth that most bingo players are little old ladies. 85% of all bingo players both online and offline are women. Most advertising for online bingo targets women ages 35 to 54. The three countries with the most bingo players are the US, Japan, and the UK, in that order.

Where did all the bingo players go? They went online and with good reason.