Is Dragonfish Bingo Set To Become A Turkey?
Published On 16th June 2022
In just under two weeks over 50 different bingo brands will quite likely no longer be promoted via affiliates. These include popular sites such as Wink, 888 Ladies, Costa, Sing and Posh. Joining them are Sky High Slots, Angry, Rewind, Wish, Big Tease, Bingo Hollywood and Fancy Bingo. As we've already mentioned here on Loquax the reason for this is due to 888 selling it's bingo business (Dragonfish) and various brands to Broadway Gaming Group. The latter has "determined not to assume an affiliate relationship" with respect to the brands. Therefore as of 1st July we anticipate that many portals - including ourselves - will not be sending traffic to any of these sites. Instead visitors most likely will be offered alternative brands to visit.
Kick In The Teeth
In many respects this isn't ideal for visitors looking at bingo reviews and searching for the best sites to play at. Ideally we and other affiliates should "happily" get on with our business whether there's financial remuneration involved or not. However this isn't an ideal world and as we've seen recently with Betfair Bingo and Bet365 Bingo there's always a kick in the teeth waiting on the horizon. Whilst we're happy to maintain reviews we're a lot less happy to giveaway free traffic. However 50+ websites accounts for a lot of portal real estate and will have a hefty impact on us, other portal sites and players. Of course this is good news for all bingo sites that are maintaining affiliate relations. It seems strangely ironic to us that Betfair and Bet365 don't want our visitors at a time when they may well benefit. However all these shenanigans have got us wondering what Broadway Gaming may have planned for Dragonfish.
Buy A Platform & Rebuild?
When GVC purchased Cozy Games in 2017/18 they picked up an OK but useable platform occupied by over 100 different white label brands, including our own Snappy Bingo. Initially GVC set out to improve the platform including adding better slots but then they started to close sites whilst planning to move their own brands to their own platform. Today all the old Cozy sites have gone and GVC (now Entain) use their own software to power Foxy, Gala, Ladbrokes, Cheeky and Coral. We wouldn't be surprised if this is the blueprint that Broadway Gaming will try and emulate with the Dragonfish acquisition. Dragonfish in our view is a platform that needs a huge overhaul as the bingo rooms lack any kind of interest when compared to Tombola, Playtech and even newcomers Pragmatic Play. In the short term we'd expect to see some subtle changes whilst poor performing brands are quietly despatched to the bingo bin.
The End Of White Labels?
The above scenario isn't good news for the likes of Maxi, Tau, Silverspin and United Commissions who own the bulk of white label brands. But of the many brands that occupy these stables it's hard to pinpoint one that is actually doing well. As with the old Cozy platform we suspect there are many that are well past their sell-by date. With potential changes to how white labels are licensed potentially on the cards in the forthcoming Gambling Act White Paper closures may well be unavoidable. So what would be left? Well we suspect that Broadway will be actively running a handful of big name brands on their own platform. Wink, 888 Ladies and Costa could well be joined by Butlers Bingo. The latter is also owned by Broadway but is currently using the Pragmatic Play platform. As Entain have done with Foxy, Gala etc it would make sense for Broadway to have their own brands sitting atop their own platform.
It is feasible that nothing changes with the Dragonfish platform other than the affiliate program for 50+ brands terminating as of the end of June. The bingo stays the same, the promotions stay the same and the platform stays the same. However as mentioned at the start of the piece many bingo portals and sites are going to have some sizeable content issues to contend with. Some of the bigger portals may be able to negotiate a deal so nothing will change for them. However smaller affiliates will be redirecting their traffic to new destinations and pushing other brands. This won't apply to just the likes of Wink and Costa but could/should include any other Dragonfish powered service as firstly the future of them is in serious doubt and secondly why support Broadway Gaming when they're obviously have minimal intention to support affiliates. Whether there'll be enough annoyed affiliates around to make any degree of impact on the business remains to be seen.
Are There Any Positives?
The biggest winners in this scenario are any bingo brands that work well with affiliates and that aren't on the Dragonfish platform. We've already pushed the likes of Wink, 888 Ladies and Costa out of view - which is sad because they've been destinations we've highly recommended. Their places will be filled by different bingo brands. Ultimately that could lead to better and more fruitful affiliate relations which could work out better for us. For players the only positive - in our view - is if Broadway Gaming undertake the same direction as adopted by GVC/Entain with Cozy Games. That will see huge improvements to the bingo rooms and platform as well as drastically boil down the number of pointless brands. Players would then up with less choice but hungrier and leaner platforms competing with eachother. However all this needs to be done under difficult market conditions, uncertainty about the future of UK gambling and a cost of living crisis that surely will impact spend on things like playing bingo. However unlike GVC, Broadway Gaming don't really have any massive brands like Foxy or Gala to fall back on if the going gets tough. Dumping affiliates at the end of June may well turn out to be the least of their worries.
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