WhichBingo reports that bingo halls will continue to experience a steady decline in numbers due to the growing popularity of online channels, as venues prepare to reopen on Monday 17 May.
The website, which is owned and operated by XLMedia , reports that a recent survey reached more than 800 adults during the COVID pandemic - 19 saw a significant shift in the industry to younger online consumers.
In the 2021 WhichBingo survey, 45 percent of respondents said they prefer to play bingo online, but only 28 percent indicated a preference for playing in a land-based room. The report reveals that the number of players in bingo halls has been declining year on year since 2007.
Stuart Simms, CEO of XLMedia , he explained: "Our reports show that for several years now the demographic playing bingo has changed gradually and there has been a marked shift from walking into a bingo hall mid-week with friends to people playing online.
"Of course this has all been exacerbated by the pandemic and bingo halls being forced to close by government regulations. It seems the appeal of online bingo is now reaching people at earlier stages of life, with those 25 to 54 now the most represented age bracket. "
Facebook was found to be the preferred place for online players to congregate on social media, with 40 percent suggesting that this is where they would like the online bingo community to exist.
Website forms, with 27 percent, also remain more popular than channels like Twitter (21 percent), Twitch (16 percent) and Discord (14 percent).
Elsewhere, respondents indicated that the social aspect of above-ground bingo halls was the most difficult element to replicate, as 41 percent chose " atmosphere " as their favorite part of attending the hall.
Despite an increase in the number of younger men playing online bingo, the report found that it is still women aged 25 to 54 who are more likely to play online bingo.
The company says the overall demographic shift to younger players, from 25 to 54 now the most represented age range (83 percent of respondents), confirms "a radical shift in the industry and growing interest in online bingo."
Simms added: "It is of course extremely encouraging to see so many younger people enjoying the game and its popularity is growing faster than ever . Of course the question on everyone's lips will be how much of this change has been caused by the pandemic and how many people will revert to old habits when the bingo halls reopen to the public in May 17 th.
"We think bingo vendors need to understand new audiences and think about how they will communicate with them in the future . "