Online bingo – 2017 first half in review

Online bingo – 2017 first half in review

Friday, July 14, 2017
Simon Jones: ‘Millions of brits are taking to the internet to play this classic game’

Online bingo plays a major role in the iGaming industry. Millions of brits, both old and young, are taking to the internet to play this classic game that’s been given a modern update.

Speaking with TotallyGaming.com, Simon Jones, commercial director at WhichBingo, takes a reflective look at the last six months in the world of online bingo, and gives us his take on what the second half of 2017 has in store for both players and operators.

Legislation, regulation and changes for online bingo brands

Interestingly, the last six months has not shown a huge amount of activity from the legislation and regulatory side of business.

The snap election stopped the government’s initiative to tax free bets and games in its tracks, however the industry is still on its toes, putting plans in place and getting themselves ready for this new regulation to come into play.  

This was echoed in the WhichBingo 2017 Online Bingo Annual Report, with many of our industry experts predicting 2017 would be the year of regulation and legislation.

What I can safely predict is that when this legislation finally gets reinstated, these plans will be dusted off and put in firmly place by the operators. It’s not a case of if, it’s when.

Recently at the Online Bingo and Slots Summit, this very topic was widely debated, with many opinions voiced on how operators might react to the new tax and how they would recruit new players in the future.

Player retention – do incentives still work in 2017?

It is safe to say that incentives still work in 2017, and I don’t see any signs of this changing over the next six months, or indeed over the next 18 months.

Recruitment incentives are still being sought out by players, and operators are still offering them. However, once the taxation on this ‘free money’ comes into law, then the ‘game’ will have to change.

This does not mean that incentives will disappear – it will simply raise the bar for operators to come up with more original and innovative ways to encourage players to sign up.

It’s both an exciting and scary time for the operators, as the true innovators in the online bingo industry will be allowed to shine, rather than just those brands with the biggest budgets to pump into marketing.

Player loyalty is still an issue

As seen in the WhichBingo Report 2017, player loyalty is still as issue. Over 45% of players surveyed admitted to being members of more than six online bingo brands. The challenge here is how brands up their share of players’ spend.

Online bingo vs. online slots – it’s ‘gloves off’ time

Like all great rivalries, there comes a time when the gloves have to come off and things start to get serious. This is definitely the case when it comes to online bingo and online slots.

Previously, slots were a low-key add-on. Operators have had their eyes opened and realised just how much of a money-maker they are. Subsequently, they have placed them front and centre of their offerings, leaving online bingo in their wake.

The growing pains of the online bingo industry

Arguably, 2005 was the birth of online bingo in the UK, which could explain why all signs are pointing towards the industry hitting it’s ‘difficult teen’ years.

Reaching this more ‘mature’ stage means that marketing and product development should reflect that. However, we can see that this is clearly posing a challenge for some operators.

Established in 2000, WhichBingo is the UK’s leading independent online bingo reviews website. The portal provides the most extensive online bingo directory in the UK, offering reviews, information and offers for a total of 440 bingo sites.

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