Is Playing Bingo just for girls?
Are you proud, or ashamed to be a bingo fan?
If you’re female, maybe your male friends or partner thinks your online bingo hobby is totally girlie? Or, perhaps, if you’re a man who enjoystaking a break by enjoying a 75-ball or 90-ball game or two, you wouldn’t dare admit to it in front of your guy friends, in case they take the mickey?
Well, to some extent, online bingo sites have been targeting mainly women, and maybe that’s partly down to the original perception of land-based bingo halls being filled with sweet, little old ladies. Whether it’s the pastels, purples and pinks that are used by many websites, or the promotions offering you grocery shopping, shoes, and make-up products, many of them know that girls love a good game of bingo, and they work hard to keep selling it to them.
However, recent statistics show that an increasing number of men are enjoying the game too, and they’re from all walks of life and different age categories.
Bingo and blue rinses
Back in the early 1990s, players had nowhere to enjoy a good session of bingo other than down their local bingo hall, where the average punter was in their mid-60’s. It naturally became a wide-spread assumption that this was a game strictly for the blue rinse brigade.
Then, in the late 90’s, technological developments delivered us a godsend in the form of online bingo. All of a sudden, people of any sex and age, with an internet connection, could get easy access to a whole new world of live games, reducing the average player age to 47 by the noughties.
Make way for the lads…
In the last decade alone, there’s been an explosion of hundreds more online bingo sites on to the scene, and 2011 figures show that there’s now more than 3.4 million online bingo players in the UK, making the industry over £600m per year. Whilst bingo halls still attract a 90% female audience, online sites are pulling in 80%, meaning that there are now one-fifth of players who are men, aiming for a full house. The stats also show that whilst the average female player is 47, the average male is 36.
What steps are online bingo sites making towards attracting male players?
So, why the increase in male players and have online bingo sites had any effect on this? Well, in a similar fashion to online casinos, which have traditionally targeted themselves firmly at males, many bingo and casino sites have been having a rethink about their attitudes and how they promote their products. The following bingo sites have a unisex appeal thanks to their neutral colour-schemes: Me Bingo, 888Bingo, Costa Bingo and William Hill Bingo, amongst others. Additionally, Sparkling Bingo, which originally screamed pink until it was blue (or pink) in the face, has had a major revamp, and now offers muted green and browns, along with a retro look and an offer to win a Vespa (a pretty awesome prize for any self-respecting man or woman.)
Fancy Bingo is a fine example of a site that got it right from the start. With a kitsch, Alice in Wonderland-style theme, and predominantly blue colour scheme, the brand runs a regular Fancy That promotion, where previous prizes have included an ice-cream maker, BBQ and accessories, airbrush tanning system, and a male grooming kit. Whether their aim is to target more male players, or give their female players free pressies to pass on to their partners is unclear, but on the surface, it certainly feels like a site for players from both sexes.
Online casinos and female players
Online casinos and games sites are finally waking up to the fact that women enjoy playing video poker, and card and table games, and some of them are now offering bingo to help them feel welcome. One such site is SpinandWin, which traditionally offered a fantastic selection of slots and casino games, but only recently launched both 75-ball and 90-ball bingo games.
In the same vein, many online bingo sites are now increasing their selection of casino-style games – some, in the form of side games, and some, as stand-alone games in their own right.
A step in the right direction?
It would therefore appear that the online gaming industry is making gentle steps towards making their products available and desirable to all players, regardless of gender.
So, in conclusion, whilst women still make up a large proportion of the bingo player population, men are definitely muscling in on the fun. If it was a game for girls, it certainly won’t remain that way for much longer!