The Loquax Bingo Online Review 2020
Published On 15th January 2021
2020 will be remembered for a long time to come but we're not going to focus on the obvious and instead look at online bingo. Despite a challenging year online bingo changed considerably during those 12 months. New site launches, changing platforms and new games contributed towards an interesting time for players and operators. We've decided to take a little stroll down memory lane and remember some of the changes in recent times.
New bingo sites have continued to launch in the past 12 months albeit nowhere near at the breakneck levels of five to ten years ago. The majority of the newest sites chose either Dragonfish or Jumpman as their destination of choice. However it's fair to say that hardly any 2020 launches have made much of an impact - at least not in our view. The year did start with some promise with the arrival of Bingo All Stars, a Dragonfish brand that featured the likes of Biggins, Rustie Lee, Linda Lusardi and Mr Motivator. An interesting concept which has promised interaction with the celebs and the chance to win money can't buy prizes. It's kind of delivered but perhaps not enough to tempt players away from the bigger brands.
Pragmatic Play Bingo
Looking at the nominations for BingoPort's 2021 Awards their best new site nominations include Mint, Dinky, Hunky, Swanky, Mirror and OK. The fact that three are Dragonfish brands and three are Jumpman whilst only two were genuinely new speaks volumes. All the others were relaunches! Surprisingly the list also omits PlayOJO Bingo which in our view has probably made the most impact since it arrived in August 2020. Perhaps the addition of The Masked Singer Bingo, an exclusive room to the site despite it using Pragmatic Play's platform came too late to make the shortlists?
In fact Pragmatic Play played a huge role in online bingo during 2020. Their bingo platform acts much like a slot in that it can be plugged into any site and played. This new approach to bingo initially saw Jumpman join Nektan as customers of the product. Jumpman in fact dropped their own much maligned and often ignored rooms which in our view was a sensible move. They also added an exclusive room or two. As mentioned PlayOJO have also added the product to their site whilst Lottoland, LottoGo, Bede Gaming sites such as Crown Bingo and Broadway Gaming Brands including Butlers Bingo have also jumped on the bandwagon.
New Bingo Games
Pragmatic Play have also been active in developing new variations on the bingo game. They added Bingo Blast to their roster in April 2020. This 90 ball variation plays like any other game except it takes the player to the heart of the action by calling large sequences of numbers in seconds rather than individually. To add a seasonal twist to proceedings they also did a Snowball version of the game. Whilst some folks got very excited about this variant we didn't and in fact found it overhyped. A speedier game of bingo is OK but it does also take away some of the build-up of a more traditional one number call at a time game.
Whilst we didn't get too excited over Bingo Blast the same can't be said for the developments at Tombola. They added The Machine, Paper and Hex Bingo to their roster. If other brands want to know how to create exciting bingo games then they can't go too far wrong and looking at how Tombola do it. Brilliant graphics, fun game play and good prices are what drives players to their site. Intriguingly Tombola weren't the only operator to add Hex Bingo in 2020. Relax Gaming launched Hexabingo just seven days before. This poker meets bingo style three player game is another excellent variant but we're not sure anyone would want to wager £100 on a single turn. Other notable new games includes Cash Out Bingo at Foxy, The Voice Bingo at Buzz and the 52 ball Housey Bingo on Virtue Fusion brands.
One brand that won't be boasting the Housey Bingo is Mirror Bingo. Originally a Cashcade/Dragonfish brand The Mirror moved to Virtue Fusion in 2014. Over time it became stale on that platform and moved home in 2020. Surprisingly it opted for Jumpman thereby becoming one of the biggest names within that stable. We're not sure it the move has been successful but it did become the first brand on the platform to offer a no deposit welcome bonus. It was also joined by three other relaunches - all from the same newspaper family - so OK Bingo, Star Wins and Express Wins all became Jumpman brands. A number of other sites have also switched to Jumpman following the closure of the Cozy Games set-up. Meanwhile other ex-Cozy brands such as Mummies Bingo, Velvet Bingo and Booty Bingo have relaunched on Dragonfish.
With the last of the old Cozy brands closing their virtual doors, two other brands switched to join Foxy and Cheeky on the emerging new network. The GVC owned Coral and Ladbrokes both left their Virtue Fusion bingo homes during 2020. It wasn't all about departures though for Virtue Fusion though as it did - surprisingly - add Kitty and Lucky Pants to it's ranks. A surprise move because their sister sites Bingo Extra and Give Back Bingo both switched to Dragonfish. Finally 2020 wasn't just the end for the Cozy Games Network. Microgaming decided to call time on their bingo network which resulted in Broadway Gaming opting for Pragmatic Play and Dream Bingo dropping bingo altogether - a strange decision for a site "created by bingo lovers for bingo lovers".
Closures & Disappointments
On the plus side for Dream Bingo it hasn't closed down. Other brands are less fortunate and 2020 saw a few more closures. These included Say Yes To The Dress Bingo which only survived online for a few months. This Dragonfish site was advertised around variants of the TV show but apart from it's logo and little relevance to the show. Other Dragonfish departures in 2020 included Brits Bingo who had Gavin Henson as a brand ambassador at launch, Sexy Shoes Bingo and Bingo In The Sun, one of the first brands that we included on our site way back in 2004. New Look Bingo, Game Village and 32Red Bingo are other notable departures during 2020, although Game Village does tease that it will be returning soon with new games and offers. Given that it's currently directing players to Fairground Slots we'd suggest that a relaunch on Jumpman may occur in 2021.
Whilst it's been sad to see some sites go, some of the sites that have remained have left us a little disappointed. Now we understand the climate has made things difficult and we're taking that into account. Whilst brands like Tombola, Paddy Power, MrQ, Jackpotjoy, Buzz Bingo and Sun Bingo have been active with player promotions, others have been very quiet. Big brands like Costa and Wink have put up the odd exciting offer but these sites used to give players the chance to win big cash prizes, holidays and cars. Big prize promos have been cut back and marketing budgets slashed but we're pretty sure that these big names can do a little bit more than they are doing. Another big disappointment is the lack of exclusives across a lot of sites - Jumpman and Dragonfish being the main culprits. There are too many sites doing the same thing and wondering why no one is interested!
The Loquax Bingo Awards 2020/21
Sadly we're not big enough or clever enough to run an award program that gets loads of players voting for their favourite site. So instead we're going to just pick our own favourites. If you've managed to read the above then you may well have an idea of which brands we're going to choose. Perhaps you have your own favourites? If so why not let us know!
- Bingo Site Of The Year: Buzz Bingo
- New Site Of The Year: PlayOJO Bingo
- New Game Of The Year: The Machine at Tombola
- Best Bingo Platform: Playtech/Virtue Fusion
- Jumpman Site Of The Year: Not Awarded
- Dragonfish Site Of The Year: Wink Bingo
- Virtue Fusion Site Of The Year: Buzz Bingo
- Entain Site Of The Year: Foxy Bingo
- Best Independent Site Of The Year: Tombola
- Best Value Site Of The Year: Tombola
- Best Site For Player Promotions: Buzz Bingo
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