Profile of the Online Bingo Player

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There was a farmer had a dog." You know the rest. For most of us, our first encounter with Bingo is as a farmer's dog. Bingo's legacy as a children's campfire song is undeniable. As we grew up, so did that dog. Bingo mutated from a song to a game. Five column cards filled with random numbers became the essential game of chance. That dog's name became a shout of victory, filled with the joy and satisfaction of beating the odds.

For several decades, bingo was played in large halls, where hundreds of people played on game cards of cheap cardboard, hoping for the big score. Over the past decade, the game that owns the name of a farmer's dog has made the jump from the VFW to the WWW. Bingo as a song is still tailor-made for young kids at the campfire, but the game has changed with the times and moved online.

Bingo has always been one of America's hidden pastimes. According to IGWB, an estimated 1.6 billion people attended live bingo halls across the country in 2006. To put things in perspective, that staggering attendance number is almost more than the amount of people who attended movie theaters and bowling alleys, combined.

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Over the past four years, the number of free bingo sites on the internet has increased dramatically, from five in 1999 to 305 in 2006. Free bingo sites definitely seem to be the most popular place to get a game going. According to WhichBingo, over 45% of bingo sites are free play only. Around 70% of all online bingo sites are either totally free to play, or mostly free with a few premium, pay-to-play games. Online bingo shows overwhelming popularity here in the States. According to one prominent bingo portal, 90% of online bingo players who use free play sites are North American.

Eighty percent of those who played free, online bingo last year were female. Surprisingly, the average age of an online bingo player (male or female) was 41, with over 80 percent of those players being between the ages of 25 and 55. Somewhat more surprising is the low percentage of players over 65. Traditionally, bingo is associated with senior citizens who spend their twilight years hoping for the jackpot. However, the same research found that only two percent of free, online bingo gamers are over the age of 65.

While grandma still finds her way to the hall to get her game on, mom is sitting at home dialing-up to find her game. Over 85% of online bingo gamers access their games from home, and over 50% play every day. One major reason mom is addicted to the online version of grandma's game is because of an autoplay function many sites feature. In an autoplay game mode, players simply let the cards play the game for them. As long as the cards are purchased and a game screen is up on a computer, mom can do things around the house while games are played. Also, many webpages include ongoing chat screens in addition to their games, so online players can get the bingo hall atmosphere right from the comfort of their own home.

"Keeping active chat lines running takes up a lot of bandwidth, so we tried to create several games without it," said Louella Wayne, an online consultant for Costa Rica-based Bingo site BingoHouse. "Each game failed miserably. Chat is very important to the success of these games."

Before long, grandma could even be logging on for her games. If she does, as traffic trends seem to indicate, the online bingo market could soar in revenue. According to Parlay Entertainment, 70% of players in bingo halls already play online games. If 1% of remaining hall-only bingo players move to the internet in the next two years, online bingo could become a $700 million market.

The old song tells of a farmer who had a dog. That dog's name now belongs to a game of luck. Over the years, that game has received a new look. As more and more bingo games move out of the hall and onto the net, players will move right along. The future of bingo is online... and so is the money to be made.

Stereotypes die hard and the stereotype of the bing player is no exception. Little old ladies in smoky church basements with numerous bingo cards in front of them seem to be the average person's perception of the typical bingo player. Times change and bingo has changed with the times. Bingo is grossly misrepresented in terms of its demographics. The internet has changed the way bingo is played and has attracted a whole new generation of players. Online Bingo has taken internet gaming by storm.

Who plays online bingo? The statistics are surprising to say the least. While Online Bingo is more likely to be played by women than men, over 30% of regular Online Bingo players are men. With younger people being more computer savvy the average age of Online Bingo players is 20 to 49 with a vast majority under 50. In the UK Online Bingo is fashionable with women in the 18-30 age categories. One study shows 100 million Online Bingo players worldwide. The same study also shows that players over 65 are more likely to prefer land based bingo halls.

The figures don't lie. Online bingo is overwhelmingly a younger person's game. Although dominated by women, Online Bingo is becoming attractive for more men. Some celebrity bingo players who defy the stereotype associated with bingo are, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Sharon Osborne (Ozzy's wife), TV star Kelly Ripa, and rock star Bono. Many men have figured out that online bingo is a great way to meet single women given the odds are 3 to 1 in their favor. Looking at player galleries on sites such as show that the vast majority of Online Bingo players are relatively young and attractive. Online Bingo is by far the easiest, most user friendly online game to play and a great way to meet new people. Online bingo chat rooms provide the opportunity for making new friends, socialization, and even romance.

Chat rooms add a personal touch to the online bingo world and serve a variety of purposes. Don't know how to play? Ask around in the chat room. Need tech advice? Again, ask someone in the chat room. No more spending hours on the phone waiting for a customer service rep to answer your tech questions. Since the internet is worldwide, meeting Online Bingo players from other countries and cultures adds to the excitement of online bingo. Players are just as likely to play Online Bingo with someone from Europe or Asia as they are to be playing with someone from the USA. Online bingo gives people the opportunity to experience other cultures and customs. Again using as an example, many Online Bingo sites host their own small chat room games. While the prizes may not be as large as those in the main games Online Bingo players can win bonus credits, cool prizes, and even vacations. Just be civil, follow the terms of service, and above all respect the other Online Bingo players.

Playing online casino slots has become a pastime that rivals that of Online Bingo. Probably the main reason players like slots are the progressive jackpots. For every bet made a small portion is added to the jackpot fund. The fund grows until a lucky player hits the jackpot. Some of these jackpots are quite large and winning can be a life changing experience and the odds are much better than playing a lottery. Many Online Bingo players play slots between games or they play just for a change of pace.

Bingo is no longer confined to little old ladies playing in some smoky church basement! Online Bingo has become vastly popular attracting a much younger crowd. Log on, check it out and good luck!

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