A Review Of Online Bingo In 2022
Published On 3rd January 2023
A New Year usually brings new hope and vigour as the previous 12 months are left behind. But is that the case when it comes to online bingo? It's safe to say that 2022 was an interesting but challenging year for online bingo, bingo players and bingo affiliates. In fact we'd actually say it was our hardest one in the industry to date. There have been platform changes, the launch of some really big money games, new versions of bingo alongside some cool free games and sadly we've experienced a few unsavoury episodes thanks to poor affiliate managers and management. We thought we'd take a look back on some of the highs and lows of 2022 and see if there are any rays of light for a better 2023.
The Lows Of 2022
Let's start at the bottom with the likes of Betfair and Paddy Power. If you want to understand everything that is wrong with this industry then look no further than these brands' affiliate management team. Over the years they have closed partner accounts with no notice and have continued to do so in 2022. In July our relationship with Betfair was terminated without any communication and despite reassurances that they'd do things better our Paddy Power relationship ended a few months later in October. We did manage to get some payment issues resolved but the whole episode left a bad taste. The affiliate management's only real concern was that they didn't want anyone to be named in an article demonstrating their incompetance and lack of professionalism. Operators are being selective with who they work with - Bet365 also decided not to work with us in 2022 - but the process can be better handled and/or communicated. Sending emails with "we've decided not to work with you due to one of the following options" isn't great. Give the reason (e.g. compliance, cost-cutting, we want to steal your commission etc) so we all know where we stand. As long as we're compliant with our content we don't see why we can't affiliate with any brand but that view isn't shared by many operators, which makes life difficult. A further kick in the teeth for affiliates occurred when 888 sold the likes of Wink, 888 Ladies and Costa to Broadway Gaming, thereby ending another 10+ years affiliate relationship.
Moving On In 2022
One of the biggest changes of 2022 was the conclusion of Broadway Gaming's purchase of the Dragonfish platform and a number of well known brands including Wink, Costa and Sing. For the first few months not a lot really seemed to change but recently we've seen daily jackpots drop and a convergence in terms of games and promotions amongst all brands on the platform. Intriguingly these changes have meant that less well known sites ended up with a better roster of bingo rooms than the bigger names. Anticipated closures haven't yet materialised although Tau Gaming have recently closed a couple of their Dragonfish slots brands. Whilst 888 were selling Dragonfish they also were completing their deal for William Hill. Bingo has so far survived but in November 2022 we noted that bingo had been moved under the Vegas Channel. We wonder if it's the start of something to come? For example could they follow in the footsteps of Bet365 Bingo who jumped from Virtue Fusion to Pragmatic Play in October 2022, coincidentally a few months after they closed some affiliate relationships. Pragmatic Play may power some big names including Heart and PlayOJO but we're not convinced by the platform and don't think it's a great one for bingo players.
New Games In 2022
A few weeks after Bet365 Bingo relaunched a new game arrived on the Pragmatic Play Roster. Called Diamond Dazzle our initial view was that it'd be a bingo game that incorporated slots. It turned out we were completely wrong as instead it's basically Deal Or No Deal Bingo but without the name. As usual all the big name portals waxed lyrical about the game whilst we said we'd rather have seen something new and unique. There's nothing wrong with Diamond Dazzle but if you want to play DOND Bingo then go to a site that offers it or don't move platform so your players can enjoy it. Joining Diamond Dazzle in the new game camp was Reel Bingo, a slots inspired game from Tombola, who also brought us the very cool Paint By Numbers and a host of seasonal games. Jackpotjoy and co added a new version of Bingo 80 to their site whilst Betfred added the horse inspired Giddy Up to their selection of rooms. However the best new games of 2022 arrived at Foxy Bingo with the additions of Bingo Boom and Battle Royale Bingo. The latter offered a huge twist on the traditional game as the aim is to be the last player standing with your selected number ball. It's very clever and enjoyable to play. We also need to mention Buzz Bingo and their Real Live Bingo games that have added club authenticity to the online experience.
New Bingo Sites In 2022
Roll back a few years and we could fill an entire article going over all the new bingo brands that had launched over the past 12 months. For 2022 that's not going to be the case because not a lot actually happened. Blush Bingo launched in February care of Tau Gaming on Grace Media, powered by Pragmatic Play. Within a couple of weeks their affiliate program was unceremoniously terminated and the site itself suffered the same fate just a few months later. In fact it looks as though the whole Grace Media (formerly Nektan) platform is in it's final throes as a number of brands have closed down recently. Whilst we think Blush was the only actual new bingo brand, other "new sites" were actually relaunches. Oink Bingo relaunched on Dragonfish having previously been on Dragonfish whilst Bingo Stars are hoping for better fortune as a Pragmatic Play brand. Bingo Stars is part of the same group as BingoCams, although 'Cams uses their own bingo software, but sister site Peachy Games also added Pragmatic Play bingo to their channels. Jumpman have added new sites to their stable, all of which have bingo, but none of them are noteworthy for mention here as they're all slots focused. In short 2022 has been an abysmal year for new sites!!
Big Big Money In 2022
The bingo highlight of 2022 came via Tombola who introduced their Britain's Biggest Bingo Game towards the end of the year. For just 50p a ticket players (maximum £2) can play in a monthly 90 ball game that offers a guaranteed £100,000 full house prize. However this prize increases depending on how many players join up and so far Tombola have dished out £239,168 (November), £211,667 (December) and £177,782 (January) to three lucky winners. The game isn't perfect and it's all over a little bit too quick, but it's great to see huge money prizes being offered. Only one platform have responded to Tombola's big money game and that's Entain. They've recently ran their own monthly £100,000 games across the likes of Gala, Foxy, Ladbrokes and Cheeky. This particular game costs 10p a ticket to play and offers a £50,000 full house alongside other prizes, which we think are lacking over at Tombola. It'll be interesting to see whether these big jackpots are sustainable over 2023 and/or whether other platforms jump on the bandwagon. If they do then it'll make for a very exciting 12 months ahead.
Bingo In 2023
So what does 2023 have instore for online bingo? Well we're not envisaging anything to dramatically change going forward. We suspect other operators will follow the Bet365/Paddy Power/Betfair model of reducing their affiliate partners. Sadly that could impact our ability to maintain this site long term. Hopefully we will still be around to report on new games, prize promotions and hopefully one or two new sites. Whether we'll see anything that's newsworthy remains to be seen. Entain could be the big winners in 2023 as they now have a good selection of games across their brands. We're unconvinced by Pragmatic Play and whilst Virtue Fusion and Gamesys should be fine they both could do with something new in terms of either games or brands. Eyes will definitely be on Broadway Gaming who now need to start rebuilding Wink and co. Dragonfish as a platform hasn't been the best for a few years and will need to really up their game in 2023. However all brands face a difficult period as the financial crisis may well hit player spending power and frequency of play. Furthermore we're all still awaiting the Government's delayed Gambling Act White Paper. As it's so hard for new brands to launch and become established we have to hope that big brand complancy towards bingo changes and that 2023 is a good year for the sector.
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