Bingo has a rather unique place in both the history and the current reality of gambling games. It is undoubtedly as much a game of chance as roulette, slots and craps, but it has always been a lot more socially acceptable and legal than any of those. Though, unsurprisingly, it’s also been a lot less cool most of the time and is largely soon as an old people’s game.
That said, it is hugely popular in Native American casinos because bingo games fall into a certain category of games that aren’t just fully legal in these casinos, but are regulated entirely by the casinos themselves and are not subject to federal taxes. Which is actually why most games in Indian casinos are basically bingo games underneath the hood even if they have interfaces that look like, say, slot machines or video poker.
But it’s not only, or even primarily, in casinos that you will find games of bingo. Bingo is, as everyone knows, most famous for being played in retirement homes and community centers, but it’s also a popular game for charity fundraisers.
But are all stereotypes about bingo true? Is it just for old people and does it have an overwhelmingly female playership?
The Truth About Bingo
In truth, most of the stereotypes about bingo are entirely true. It is played extensively in retirement homes or at communal events and it is most popular with women, especially older women. It’s also true, though, that a significant amount of the revenue that comes from bingo does come from its massive presence in casinos. Not just in Native American casinos but regular casinos too. Bingo may not be the glitziest of games, but it’s a solid performer in most casinos as it is all but tailor made for more casual patrons, especially those who want something livelier than the slots.
As to its skewed demographics, that may well be anywhere from 70 to 85% female, there are a few reasons for this. Most of which are pretty logical when you think about it for half a second.
Why Bingo is So Popular with the Ladies
The reasons for why bingo is so popular with women are multi-layered, and obviously it will come down to sweeping generalizations. Obviously, loads of men play bingo too and the demographics will shift from location to location, but looking at it objectively, it’s easy to see why these generalizations aren’t sexist but are just reflective of general differences between men and women in temperament, interests, even basic biology.
With that in mind, here, then, are some of the biggest reasons why bingo is so overwhelmingly popular with women rather than men (in no particular order):
Because bingo is such a popular pastime in retirement villages and old age homes, the fact that women by and large live longer than men, accounts for why there is some discrepancy in their being more women players than men. This alone, though, is only a small percentage and would account for, say, a 40/60 mismatch between the sexes, rather than as much as 85%
Women tend to be more casual gamblers than men. While there are at least as many women as men on a casino floor, it’s undeniably true that they tend to be less likely to be the sort of hardened gamblers that spend thousands upon thousands at blackjack tables or in poker games. This is true in the way that while women might also be, say, big music geeks, that obsessive collecting mentality is much, much more male. Ditto with comics, audiophile equipment or DVDS. And because bingo is ideally suited for relaxed, casual gameplay, it’s no wonder that it’s such a big draw for women.
The Social Factor
Bingo is one of the most social of casino games, so it’s little wonder that women are more drawn to it than men. Again, this might seem like a gross stereotype, not to mention a little sexist, but talking in general terms, men prefer more aggressive interactions in terms of sports and games, whereas women would prefer the more laid back and friendly nature of bingo. Players in bingo are obviously still competing against one another, but you will end up talking quite freely with even your fiercest rivals – just hopefully not so much that you miss the numbers being called! This kind of social interaction simply appeals more to women than to men.
It just appeals more to them. This might seem like a strange, or at least pat, reason for why bingo is so much more popular with women than men, but the honest truth is that even many unisex activities that appeal both to men and women and have nothing particularly gendered about them, still have a habit of drawing in one sex over the other. Video games are played by men and women, boys and girls, but they’re certainly not played equally by both. Needlework and interior design can be enjoyed by both sexes, and frequently are, but women are simply more drawn to those activities than men. Even in terms of academic fields, you will obviously have both sexes studying something like psychology, but women are more likely to be drawn to counseling than men, whereas men are more likely to be drawn to research than women.
These are, again, massive generalizations, but they are generalizations that are borne out by fact, and once you include the other factors as well, it’s definitely not speaking out of turn to say that women, very simply, enjoy bingo more than men do.