The impacts of the coronavirus pandemic have been long documented, with much said and written regarding the race to online, retention strategies and which verticals in particular punters had been turning to with their preferences very much out of commission, to name but a few.

As players sought alternatives, online bingo is one segment that is said to have “resonated with new players” for a plethora of reasons, with safety and convenience pinpointed as two key facets by WhichBingo.

“Online bingo has seen a dramatic surge in players since April in the UK, which can in part be attributed to the closing of bingo halls and social distancing measures,” Gadi Shoshani, VP of casino Europe of WhichBingo, which is owned and operated by XLMedia, said of how much the trend of online increases impacted the vertical.

“Bingo has remained popular with women, and with a 71 per cent increase in site traffic to WhichBingo, the number of women playing is clearly growing. Surprisingly, online bingo has also become a major draw for male players with a 98 per cent increase in traffic from men, a reality which is possibly due to the lack of live sports betting options and the desire to participate in gaming elsewhere. 

Online bingo has seen a dramatic surge in players since April”

“We have also seen an overall increase of users across all age groups, with players appearing to really enjoy online bingo demonstrated by the average session duration rising by 17 per cent since the beginning of April.”

Before suggesting that it is very realistic to suggest that online bingo could retain a significant portion of the extra players: “Bingo is a fun, social game people like coming back to and engage with one another. Within WhichBingo we see that 17 per cent of users keep returning to the site and remain active.”

When faced with a lack of action elsewhere, most notably land-based gambling and gaming closures and global sporting cancellations and postponements, the whole web-based spectrum reported significant increases in activity. 

Shoshani continued by touching upon what attracted consumers to online bingo when faced with other alternatives, as well as how the vertical can utilise these factors in retention strategies.

“Bingo hall closures definitely had the biggest impact on the increase in popularity of online bingo – people not only wanted an option to continue playing, but also remained playing online as they felt safer playing in their homes even when the halls gradually began to re-open,” he explained.

“Interestingly, the lack of live sports betting and the closure of betting shops attracted new types of players to bingo. Younger players especially were looking for other areas to bet on and found that bingo was an exciting, interactive game for them to enjoy. For example, WhichBingo saw a 108 per cent increase in traffic coming from the 18-24 age group and a 78 per cent rise from those aged between 25-34. 

“We foresee a promising and exciting future”

“Online bingo sites will certainly retain many of these new, younger consumers in part thanks to the technology they have been heavily investing in for years. Machine learning and AI offer the personalised user experience that players crave, while reviews and responsible gaming tools build loyalty to online bingo sites.”

To conclude, Shoshani elaborated on the demographics of players that have embraced online bingo in recent weeks and months, as well as touching upon what the future could hold for the vertical.

“Many demographics have experienced a surge. As mentioned earlier, men and women are flocking to bingo in higher rates. The 18 to 24 and 65+ age demographic have especially seen a rise in play due to the closures of bingo halls and betting shops.

“Remarkably, online bingo has experienced a rise of nearly six times the amount of traffic from Ireland. People over the age of 65 have surged since April, spiking 102 per cent while numbers for young adults have also soared (as mentioned with a 108 per cent jump in visits from players between the ages of 18 and 24). 

“With new demographics clearly enjoying the online bingo experience, and developments in technology continuing to take hold, we foresee a promising and exciting future for the online bingo market.”