Novibet Leave The UK Market
Published On 23rd February 2022
Back in October we let you know that Novibet who were already established in The UK with sportsbook and casino products had entered the bingo market. Bingo rooms powered by Pragmatic Play had been added to a section called Novi Ladies, a channel that the was designed to appeal to women. It included romance themed slots, slots inspired by astrology and a handful of 75 ball and 90 ball games. Despite some excitement from around the internet on this new product we concluded that "Novibet Bingo or Novi Ladies isn't going to excite the bingo world". And that prediction has kind of come true because as of February 2022 Novibet have decided to exit the UK market - and not just bingo!
Will Not Continue In The UK
UK visitors to the Novibet website are now met with a message as follows: "We would like to inform you that Novibet will not continue to operate in the UK from 21.02.2022. If you already have funds in your game account, please kindly withdraw them. For any questions or clarifications please contact our Customer Support team or check our FAQ page here. Thank you in advance for your cooperation". Players have until the 23rd May 2022 to easily conclude their business with Novibet. However if that deadline is missed then Novibet will allow players until February 2023 to contact "Customer Services team and ask for them to arrange to return your funds by an alternative method". Any unclaimed funds - as of February 2023 - will not be kept by Novibet but donated to Gambleaware.
Why Are Novibet Leaving The UK?
According to their FAQ Novibet are leaving The UK gambling market "for commercial reasons". They aren't the first company to do this although others such as Bgo have left under a cloud of UKGC investigation. As far as we're aware there are no UKGC issues with Novibet and there are also no solvency issues. The company will continue to trade but will focus on other regulated markets such as Malta and Greece. Although Novibet has operated in The UK for eight years, having been awarded their licence in 2014, it's always been up against stiff competition from the bigger bookmakers. That competition has become even stiffer since many have merged to form bigger groups. For example Ladbrokes and Coral are owned by Entain whilst Paddy Power, Betfair and Sky operate under Flutter. Finally there's also William Hill and 888 to throw into the equation.
But That's Sports? What About Bingo?
The addition of bingo to Novibet may have helped expand their inventory but it was never ever going to push them into the realms of a top UK bingo brand. We'll overlook the sexist approach by lumping bingo under the poorly considered "Novi Ladies" channel and instead focus on the product. Like Betvictor, Heart, Jumpman, Grace Media, LeoVegas, PlayOJO and Butlers - plus many others - Novibet opted to plugin the Pragmatic Play bingo product. That's fine if you just want to say "we've got bingo" but to make it into a destination for players requires a lot more. Heart, in our view, hold pole position because of their brand reach, no wagering set-up and exclusives. Only PlayOJO come close which makes 200+ sites hosting Pragmatic Play as pretty pointless entities. They're not giving players anything that stacks up as exclusive or the player terms (e.g. wagering, withdrawal costs etc) aren't favourable. Novibet offered bingo players absolutely nothing other than access to rooms that they can access on hundreds of other sites.
Will More Sites Leave The UK?
The UK market has become a lot less attractive for many operators. Increased taxation, changes in regulations, tougher competition and a saturated market make it a difficult area to work. There's also very little to differentiate between many sites and operators. If everyone offers the same slots, the same bingo, the same casino games and - in the case of bookies - sportsbook products then brands need to do more to stand out. Standing out becomes much harder when advertising rules have changed and marketing revenues limited as you're paying out more on tax. All this adds up to an unsustainable number of brands in the sector. Too many brands offering the same product also limits player choice and when players become bored or frustrated then they walk away. Novibet's departure isn't a big loss to The UK bingo market, but it should act as a warning to others who aren't investing in promoting their bingo product and differentiating it from the many others hosting the same games.
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