Online bingo has witnessed a considerable boom over the last few years, with a significant amount of sites now available for customers to play at their leisure.
According to the UKGC (UK Gambling Commission), the bingo market makes up an augmenting part of the overall GGY (Gross Gaming Yield). It was found that between 2008 and 2017, participation in online bingo increased from eight percent to 31 percent of overall bingo activity.
This is a great indicator that there was a significant uplift in the amount of new bingo sites within that time-frame, as the game became more popular.
Based on the above figures, it shows that the game has seen a 278 percent growth forecast over an eight-year period, with land based bingo figures making interesting reading, representing an eight-year forecast of -25 percent.
Furthermore and perhaps understandably as the industry stabilised, the three-year and one-year growth forecast are not as aggressive, posting figures of 28 percent and eight percent, respectively.
Is there a correlation between industry participation growth and an increase in bingo sites?
The ultimate chicken and egg type question. What happened first? Did bingo participation increase, or were there already a lot of sites before this occurred – was it a case of “build it and they will come”?
Perhaps it was a fine balance. According to industry research, there are in excess of 350 UK and Ireland bingo sites, with more being built every few months, which really is a considerable indicator as to how big the market is.
In most instances, many good bingo sites have parent companies with deep pockets; often being big, established gambling companies already in the case who have either acquired the site or developed one of their own as a separate entity.
As a result of this, they can and no doubt did use their own statistics to determine whether launching a bingo site would be beneficial in terms of being able to attract players. Furthermore, for big brands, this also represents a great opportunity to cross-market to their existing players, letting them know about new sites.
The first ever bingo site was launched in 1996 as an American venture, called Bingo Zone and amazingly, it still exists today, albeit following many upgrades on the original version. It is now part of the Boston based gaming brand Gamesville and combines a series of different bingo games (90 ball, 75 ball) with online slots and side games.
It is quite common now for bingo sites to offer slots as a way of differentiating themselves from the rest of the market, however (and this is subject to opinion), perhaps the best sites offer slots which are relevant to bingo and doesn’t distract from the main user experience too much, while still retaining the brand’s message.
Are the biggest bingo sites the best?
There is a strong correlation to suggest that the bingo sites which are affiliated with the biggest gaming brands or are big in their own right (through carefully executed strategy) are the best.
Arguably one of the biggest are Gala Bingo, however, they also have a vast number of really successful land-based bingo halls across the UK as well. The site itself is very well branded, easy to navigate, includes slots and games and presents new players with generous welcome bonuses.
Foxy Bingo is another very popular, well-marketed and eminent bingo site. Part of the Cashcade bingo network, which is owned by 888 Holdings, the site is really aesthetically attractive, easy on the eye and offers many different bingo games and rooms, plus a medley of slots and games.
There are several well-known gambling brands such as Coral, Ladbrokes and William Hill who have their own bingo properties as sub-sections of their main sites (e.g. gaming.coral.co.uk>bingo). There are subjective benefits and drawbacks to this, though players don’t often have to worry about any problems, due to the reputation of these brands, based on how big they are and how long they have been around.
Other very good independent bingo brands (whether owned by a big gaming brand or not), include Wink Bingo (888), Robin Hood Bingo (Dragonfish network who are the business to business arm of 888) and Dove Bingo (part of the 15 Network who use the highly reputable Jumpman Gaming software).