See more Sloperama

FAQ #23. Mah-Jongg Demographics

I believe that there are approximately 400,000 to half a million players of NMJL (American) mah-jongg, of which the vast majority are female. Male players probably comprise less than 5% of that. The percentage of players who pirate the card (instead of paying for it) is unknown but not insubstantial.

In 2020, I first learned of this 2013 article about the demographics of online mah-jongg players in China: https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/the-curious-link-between-online-gaming-and-chinese-regional-culture-f482a7946e50.

Image: medium.com

In the 2007 book WORLD MAHJONG: ESSENCE (published after much of the below was written), author Kingstone Kim discusses his method for estimating mahjong demographics. He figures there are 345,000,000 players of mahjong in Asia. He does not estimate players outside of Asia.

In late 2005 apparently a lot of people in the West were working on writing business plans for mah-jongg ventures of various sorts, and were asking me for demographic data (making this a Frequently Asked Question). The following are mostly from the Mah Jong Q&A Bulletin Board. In keeping with the format of the bulletin board, the posts are in reverse chronological order (most recent post at top, oldest at the bottom).

There's a movie of the WSJ story too -- just click the Video tab on the above page, or go to http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703631704575552683266650568.html ?mod=WSJ_hpp_RIGHTTopCarousel_2#articleTabs%3Dvideo.

So, if you believe Dynasty Gaming Inc.'s estimate of "ten times poker," all you have to do, to find out how many people play mah-jongg in North America (this figure being what most who ask are trying to find out) is two things:

1. Find out how many people play poker;
2. Subtract from that how many people play mah-jongg in Asia and Europe.

At least, that would be one way to make an estimate. There are other estimation methods as well. (By the way, I don't know how many people play mah-jongg in Asia and Europe, and I don't know how many people play poker, so I can't help you there.) (Or then again... see next entry below the line...)

The online mahjong game site, Mahjong Mania, has a demographics study that might be of use or might not, depending on what kind of venture you have in mind. It's at ...

  • http://www.mahjongmania.com/en/demographics.html.

    And, thanks to Cofa Tsui for this link: http://ssl.brookes.ac.uk/JIG/ejrc/docs/GamblingInJapan.pdf has much revealing information about mahjong demographics in Japan.

    © 2005-2006, 2010, 2011, 2020, 2023 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved. May not be re-published without written permission of the author.