Are Esports Helping to Grow Bingo Gaming?

If there is an area of the gaming industry that is on the rise right now it is esports. Starting out as a fringe activity, the growth of esports during the past few years has been staggering.

Most people trace the origins of this kind of competitive gaming back to the early 1980s. That was when an event centered on the game Space Invaders took place, which was the first-ever esports competition.

It was quickly followed by a Donkey Kong contest in 1981, but it was not until gaming hit the mainstream in the digital era that esports emerged from the shadows. Now they have shed their geeky teenage boy image and can attract widespread interest and sponsorship.

The esports rise is closely tied to the broader upward trend in gaming numbers, but not all types of popular games are considered part of the esports world.

Esports and Bingo

The term ‘esports’ is short for ‘electronic sports’ and it refers to events where people play video games against each other on a competitive basis. The growth of interest in these events has been extraordinary in recent times, making esports into an industry that is worth billions. 

Each new competition draws millions of viewers, some attending the venues but most of them watching live streams of the play. This fits with the general rise of games streaming and engagement with all forms of gaming.

An example of that boom in gaming is online bingo. By the end of last year, this section of the gaming market had a value of $1078.80 million and it is forecast to continue expanding throughout the remainder of the decade.

Consumer demand is obvious from the increasing numbers of bingo sites. Top ones like Jackpotjoy even provide handy instructions on playing bingo, in recognition of the fact that new players are arriving all the time.

However, a connection between bingo and esports is not really clear. Gambling games like bingo are not generally classified as part of that world, with the possible exception of poker tournaments. That is because esports events typically focus on console-based video games rather than online games such as bingo, but also because the betting aspect of the latter complicates things.

That raises the question of whether there is any meaningful connection between esports and the continued rise of bingo gaming. 

Is The Popularity of Esports Impacting the Rise of Bingo?

The strongest link between betting games such as bingo and the esports world at the moment is the fact that online gambling providers are starting to offer bets on esports tournaments. However, most industry observers see the real link here as being between those events and sports betting rather than bingo or casino gaming.

Indeed, some have claimed that the absence of esports governing bodies and regulators is the only serious difference between it and conventional sport. That is a debatable point though, because it could be argued that the absence of the physical exertion that is central to standard sports is a bigger difference.

In the same way, an argument could be made that competitive forms of gambling that involve multiple people playing against each other, such as online bingo, are much closer to esports in nature. If that is true then it seems surprising that the undeniable boom in bingo does not relate to the popularity of esports tournaments in some way.

The Demographic Divide

One factor that may provide an answer to why the two seem to be growing alongside each other but without much cross-pollination is the gender divide. Although esports audiences do feature more females now than they did in the past, it remains the case that the majority of them are male.

Research into the demographic makeup of the fan base for esports shows that this split is still fairly pronounced. Around 28% of people in the US have described themselves as fans of esports, with 16% stating that they are passionate fans and the other 12% casual watchers.

When it comes to gender, 72% of the fans are male and 28% are female, according to the available esports demographic research. By contrast, the growth in online bingo is being driven by women.

Similar research into the demographic breakdown of bingo players has found that 78% of online bingo fans are female, with close to 80% being aged between 35 and 64. The esports audience is a little younger, trending highest in those aged between 18 and 44. Those differences may be why the growth of bingo does not appear to be greatly driven by esports tournaments.

Although evidence for esports helping to grow bingo gaming is slim, we should consider whether online bingo games should actually be classified as esports.