Bingo has long been considered a game frequented by older generations, especially women. However, as bingo moves from a majority in-person activity to a predominantly online game (quickened by the effects of the COVID pandemic), the demographics are changing, with younger generations joining the game more than ever before. As the digitalisation of bingo increases, it’s important to discuss whether online bingo still caters to its original market or whether more needs to be done to assist older players in making the digital bingo crossover.
In 2020, 727 million persons globally were aged 65 years or older. By 2050, this is set to double, with the number of over 65s projected at 1.5 billion, a 16.3 percent increase. In the UK, in 2021, almost 20% of the population was over 65 years old, and like the global figures, the number is growing, creating a population imbalance skewed toward older generations.
Alongside the increasing aging population, the global bingo market is also growing, with a projected compound aggregate growth of 11.70% from 2023-2030. Considering these figures, it would be an obvious choice for bingo operators to target the growing older demographic. However, some studies suggest the percentage of older people playing bingo is falling and the percentage of younger players is increasing.
The tech divide
It’s not new news that we are living longer and our world is becoming ever-increasingly digital. From shopping to paying bills, settling tax accounts and accessing information, digital literacy is now a requirement of the modern world.
But there’s a problem with this; according to the World Economic Forum, technology is not inclusive to most older age groups, causing a digital divide. While the number of older persons online is growing, it’s still not inclusive to all, and multiple research bodies have highlighted issues with website design and UX, which may be increasing the difficulties older generations have with web accessibility.
- Fonts and readability: Most websites use a font that’s only friendly for users with great vision and top tech specs. Most older users have declining eyesight and are not using a modern device with a high-quality screen, which makes viewing the content hard, as it’s often too small or blurry.
- Colour and contrast: If websites don’t follow colour guidelines, this makes them more challenging to use and causes functional errors, such as being unable to locate functions, follow website processes, and click the correct links, etc. Older generations tend to have more issues with hand-eye coordination and motor skills, making engaging with websites, especially complex ones, more difficult.
- Inclusive language: Most gambling content on affiliate sites and bingo websites is aimed at younger players. Phonetics, slang, and wordplay can present challenges for older generations, with the language used excluding or not appealing to them.
The new demographic of bingo players
As the rate of bingo uptake in younger demographics increases, the game is also becoming less recognisable for older players. For example, there’s a new woke bingo lingo, chat rooms are now how the social side of the game is played, and if you want to play in-person bingo, you’re more likely to find a clubbing-themed night out than events aimed at older players.
That’s not to say that older consumers are not playing; they are, but they experience more difficulties playing online than younger players. Moreover, as younger generations mature, the digital divide will become less problematic.
However, bingo sites can do more to suit the needs of the current market and their capabilities, providing older players with a medium to play.
How can bingo sites bring older players on board?
Arguably, the most significant barrier for older players is the digital divide. While a large percentage of the older generations are becoming increasingly confident using technology, it’s still a daunting process for many, and this is an opportunity for bingo sites and affiliates, like Best Bingo Websites, to bridge the gap, producing more information and guides for players, as well as leading players to bingo sites and games that are easy to use and accessible.
The support service at bingo sites can also play a fundamental role in helping support older players, especially if phone support is offered. Chat hosts, which comprise part of this support network, can also play a pivotal role as they are responsible for creating the community and vibe at bingo sites, welcoming players and moderating bingo and chat rooms.
As players have support channels and a bingo host available 24/7 when playing online, this may make online bingo more suitable than land-based bingo or older players, as it is easy to access the support and interact with the hosts at any time.
How to select a great bingo site if you’re an older player
We’ve already stressed the importance of support availability and channels. When choosing the best bingo site, older players must consider the available support and how it’s accessed. Some sites offer extensive support options, from live chat and phone support to email, chatbots, FAQ pages, and help articles. Others might offer few options. Players should pick a site that matches their support requirements.
Site design and accessibility are fundamental to whether a bingo site is suitable. Players should consider how easy it is to use a website and play the games. The best way to test this is to open a website and take a tour. If a site has great potential and is easy to use, sign up and test the site and games first-hand.
Another area players need to consider is the payment options. Every bingo site offers varying deposit and withdrawal options and limits. Older players should pick sites with familiar options, like debit cards, over ones specialising in e-wallets or cryptocurrency.
Lastly, it’s important to consider the games offered at each site. Some games, like 90-ball bingo, which is played at a slower pace, are more suited to older players than, say, 30-ball bingo, which is a speed game that’s over in seconds. Modern bingo sites also offer other games, like slots and sports-themed instant win titles. Generally, retro slots or slot titles themes based on appropriate topics, like history or sports, are more likely to hit the spot with older generations than those based on modern TV series, pop bands or controversial topics, like the games produced by NoLimit City. Instead, for a more satisfying playing experience, look for software from studios with the type of games, like Keno titles or titles by IGT and Slingo.
Does online bingo cater effectively to older players?
Bingo sites could do more to welcome older generations, like improving UX design and font sizes. However, in doing so, they may also exclude younger players from the site; hence a careful balance is required. The ideal solution would be bingo sites that specialise in older players or have areas designed for more senior players with accessible games and content.