A current study by the specialised research group Mintel shows that online bingo has now become a passion for wealthy young professionals, reports This is London.
The proportion of players under 45 yrs of age has shot up from 46 percent to 62 percent in the last decade, the study found. Players aged 18 to 24 now make up 700 000 of Britain's 3.5 million players, with manual workers making up 37 percent of gamers compared with 48.5 per cent in 1995.
And the proportion of managerial and skilled workers taking part is up from 27 percent to 38 percent.
A fifth of British bingo's turnover now comes from online gaming, the survey of 2 000 players shows. The game is lauded for being "simple and retro, you get a bit of a buzz. You chat to other players so it's sociable."
Bingo has always been the preferred pastime of the elderly and most bingo halls have clientele comprising of people between 60 and 70 years of age. However, according to a study conducted by reputed market research consultants Mintel, all this is slowly changing.
New trends unearthed by the study reveal that an increasing number of young, well-to-do urban professionals are now frequenting Internet bingo halls. The target demography of bingo has witnessed a sea change as a result. Almost 3 out of every 5 bingo players are below 45 years of age.
The study attributes much of the expansion and change to Internet technology. Online bingo has grown exponentially over the past 5 years, clocking 60 percent growth in 2008 alone.
Britain has the largest chunk of online players – almost 20 percent of Britain’s bingo revenue is from online bingo. Young, urban professionals are flocking to the game as an easy source of recreation and online socialising coupled with the chance of reward.
Skilled and white collar professionals today make up more than 38 percent of the bingo players in Britain, up by almost 11 percent.
The Internet is taking business away from land-based bingo operations, it appears. Data currently available shows that Iinternet bingo's growth of 60 percent contrasts with a drop of ten percent in the number of punters using terrestrial bingo halls.
“Around 6 percent of club bingo players have played online and the proportion experimenting online is growing. There is now a slow bleed of club players to the online world,” the Mintel researchers opine.
In considering the land bingo sector, Mintel reports that Gala and Mecca bingo operations together dominate the terrestrial bingo market, but have been only partially successful in converting high-street strength into online strength.
“Gala and Mecca are the only brands with a significant online brand presence, but even they face stiff online competition from non-traditional bingo brands," the report concludes. "They control 80 percent of club (land) revenue, but combined they hold only an estimated 23 percent of online revenue,” it says.
Mintel flags the UK smoking ban, the economic recession and the UK government's decision to raise bingo duty by nearly 50 percent in the 2009 budget are all contributing causes to the decline in land gambling, along with the competitive alternative which Internet bingo provides.