The average gross gambling yield (GGY) of the online bingo industry in the UK, according to Statista, is £92 million, indicating that this is a considerable sector, with an almost perpetual number of bingo sites.
Over the past two decades, since online bingo established itself in the UK, the industry has become even more evolved as more and more companies have launched and then, in turn, created more sites.
Certainly between 2005 and 2012 the industry was just developing, with many players converting from the traditional bingo hall and becoming more aware that they could play online, mainly via desktop.
The mobile smartphone boom
From 2011 onwards, there was a major leap forward in technology with phone manufacturers, essentially led by Apple creating better handsets (smartphones), which enabled much more efficient screens and also increased internet capability.
Other competing companies like Samsung quickly realised that they had to compete and develop similar handsets and it wasn’t long before iGaming companies realised that mobile gaming was the future.
As a result, the thinking quickly shifted, with companies adopting a ‘mobile first’ approach to development and every site was created first and foremost to cater for smartphone users as brands realised that more and more people preferred to use their mobile devices for their gaming experience.
Bingo brands were quick to adopt this and since 2012, we have seen a significant increase in the number of bingo sites, many of which are owned by the same company. Big brands such as Mecca found that they could scale rapidly, using their already big database to market to the traditional bingo user.
It wasn’t long before online bingo became almost a ‘standalone’ industry in the UK, separate to online casino, though many big brands realised that they could offer both to players as a way of being able to differentiate from ‘bingo-only’ sites or ‘casino-only’ sites, which helped them to add to their balance sheet.
Smartphones have continued to develop over the last few years. This has particularly aided bingo sites. They realised that having their own app was an even more convenient way of being able to attract players.
This was especially the case for those who had apps available on both iOS and Android; literally a one minute download time.
Of course, the same applied to tablet technology, with this providing a happy medium for those players who either preferred a bigger screen or wanted to free up their smartphone to avoid any distractions or breaks in gameplay.
Again, these have proven to be effective for players – not being too big to carry, but at the same time still convenient enough to use with a reliable WiFi connection.
Wide range of promotions
For online bingo players, differentiation plays a big part and being able to choose a bingo site based on the differing welcome offers that are available.
This is one big difference when it comes to bingo sites because some have varied offers such as ‘matched deposits’. These require a larger deposit upfront in exchange for a greater amount of bonus to use.
Others, meanwhile offer ‘non-deposit’ bonuses, whereby players are given a small amount of free credit just for signing up.
Arguably, one of the biggest selling points for players now when it comes to choosing a bingo site is ones that do not have wagering requirements attached to welcome offers.
The attraction with these is that players can withdraw their winnings immediately without having to wager them ‘x’ amount of times. This risks losing some of the credit that they have built up.
It is likely that more of these types of sites will start to appear, or existing ones will change their offering in order to try and retain existing customers and attract new players.
Differentiation of games
Usually, the number of bingo games that a site offers, in addition to the frequency can make a difference for players and, as a result, more online bingo brands are beginning to realise this.
As long as there is a bingo game for players to participate in, the site is continuing to tick over and revenue is increasing.
This has helped to add to the popularity of bingo sites as well, which is why many more launch, even on a monthly basis – it is becoming harder to pinpoint how many bingo sites there are, even in just the UK market.
Some of course are launched by existing companies in a bid to try and offer existing players a site that they feel is more attractive to them and their tastes, based on their behaviour on the site, average spend and the types of games that they play.
Most bingo sites usually offer 90 ball, 80 ball, 75 ball and 30 ball (Speed)bingo, with many of these games available on a daily basis, across multiple bingo rooms, various jackpot sizes and contrasting entry fees, which can dictate possible winnings.
What are the most popular bingo sites?
In many cases, it is often ‘the person who shouts the loudest gets heard’ – in the online gambling industry, this essentially is no different.
There are, of course, a small number of bingo sites that have the biggest share of the market. This does have a lot to do with marketing budgets, while some are already established iGaming brands.
Certainly, Mecca has the advantage of already being an important name in the industry for decades. They transitioned online at the right time, while already having recognition as an authority in the bingo niche.
With its huge amount of financial backing and its reputation in the wider iGaming industry, 888 Holdings have a substantial share of the market. This is something which has translated into the bingo sector, with their flagship sites; 888 Ladies and Wink Bingo.
JackpotJoy carved out a reputation, cleverly using popular brand ambassador, actress Barbara Windsor. Through the use of aggressive and quirky television adverts, promoting attractive offers for players on a regular basis.
Most of the others have been left to fight it out amongst themselves, having to be creative in one way or another to attract a segment of the market. Some have even turned to specialist branding, creating their site around a popular theme that aligns with players’ tastes.
Overall, there are hundreds of bingo sites in the UK industry alone and this figure is likely to increase over the next few years, as the technology for marketing analytics becomes even more sophisticated.
Amelia Cassiday is an online bingo writer and player for the past 5 years. Her expertise and knowledge of the online bingo industry are utilised when covering the latest news and trends. Amelia particularly enjoys reviewing new bingo sites as well as writing detailed game guides. When offline, she can be found maintaining her garden and reading a good book at her home in Newcastle, UK.