888 Purchase Costa Bingo From JPJ Group

Published On 19th February 2019

The online bingo merry-go-round continues to spin with 888 acquiring the Costa Bingo group from the Jackpotjoy Group. 888 have paid 18million for the stable of bingo brands that include Costa, City, Sing and Fancy. An initial payment of 12million will be paid upfront with a further 6million to be paid in September 2019.

Mandalay Media was acquired by the Intertain Group in July 2014 for an initial payment of 45m. Intertain subsequently purchased Jackpotjoy and this led to them changing their name to the JPJ Group. According to the JPJ Group press release "Mandalay generated approximately 11 million of revenue and approximately 3.7 million of profit before tax attributable to the assets in the twelve months to 31 December 2018".

What Can Players Expect?

The sale of these bingo brands will enable the JPJ Group to adopt a "more focussed brand strategy in the UK through Jackpotjoy". The completion of the sale is expected to go through at the end of March 2019 "following the conclusion of an employee consultation process". But what will it mean for bingo players and the various brands within the group?

Initially we don't expect that there will be any immediate effect on either brands or players. Medium to long term we expect that Costa Bingo will be promoted at the same kind of level as Wink and 888 Ladies. However the remaining brands such as City, Dino, Wish, Treasure and Rio may well find themselves pushed down the pecking order.

No No Deposit Bonus

Most certainly we'd anticipate that Costa's no deposit bonus - one of the few left on a Dragonfish powered site - will be culled. It's quite possible that 888 may decide to move all the brands onto the Dragonfish Network. At present Costa et al have their own network, welcome offers, rooms and prizes. Most brands are also no wagering. We wonder whether this could mean an integration into the real money network?

The purchase of the Mandalay brands could prove to be a good move for online bingo. In fairness we don't think the JPJ Group took the Mandalay Media group forward. However that cycle of demise will continue depending on 888's decisions. If they opt to close the Costa Network and give the brands all the same promotions as all other Dragonfish sites then in our view that's not a good move. If anything that will signal the end of the majority of the Ignite group.

Winning Formula

If 888 decide to build on the group's differences then this could be a winning formula. This means continuing with the prize games and adding to them. It also means continuing with the no wagering set-up and keeping popular games such as the Friday Big Five, Top Up Treats and Catching Rays. 888 may have lost the Cashcade group recently - the acquisition of Costa Bingo could be their ticket to rapidly forget the transfer of Foxy and co.

As the sale does mean that Jackpotjoy will have more focus then this is good news for players. We think that this could mean improved games, bigger promotions and a better player experience. But who knows what the future will hold. The bingo world is in a state of flux with plenty of closures and sales still to come. This may be the first big change of 2019, but we suspect that it won't be the last.

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