Last update: 12th November 2018
When deciding which bingo sites to play at two important factors are software and network.
Bingo SOFTWARE is the underlying engine that the bingo games run on. The Dragonfish/888/Cassava software, for instance, will look and play very much the same whichever bingo site you are on and regardless of whether you are on a PC, a Mac, a tablet or a smartphone. If you find bingo software that you like, you might want to seek out new sites that use it too. Alternatively you might want to avoid the same old same old and only go for sites that offer something different!
Bingo NETWORK is a group of sites (on the same software) that share some or all of the same bingo rooms and promotions. If you already have an account at one bingo site on the network, there is not much point in opening one at another site on the same network as you’ll just be playing the same games in the same rooms as before (and competing with yourself and in most cases chatting with yourself if you buy tickets for the same room at both sites!) – unless it has something special to offer such as a juicy welcome bonus or exclusive bingo rooms or promotions.
The Virtue Fusion software is
owned by iGaming giant Playtech and eventually the branding will all change so it is known as Playtech Bingo. The Virtue Fusion software is extremely versatile and deservedly very popular. Until summer 2015 the desktop implementation of Virtue Fusion used Flash, so the mobile version had to be different, but now HTML5 has been rolled out across all devices. This is a massive improvement as the old Flash based desktop version (apart from at a few of the really big sites which had custom interfaces) was slow and clunky. Nevertheless some players prefer it and so a few sites still offer the option of Flash (the “classic lobby”) for existing players.
All bingo brands for which 888 UK Limited is the licence holder use the same bingo software. The Dragonfish branding belongs to the business-to-business arm of 888 Holdings and originally denoted sites that were owned by third parties but now some 888 house brands are displaying it too. Cassava is the payment processing arm of 888 Holdings and deals with all sites using the 888/Dragonfish software whether or not they carry the Dragonfish branding.
There are surprisingly few Microgaming bingo sites; this is probably because they are better known for slots.
Only a handful of sites are powered by Gamesys but the actual market share is quite large as some of them are so popular and well known. The Gamesys software was late to the party as far as mobile bingo goes but has more than made up for that now.
The Cozy bingo software was one of the first to use HTML5 for an easy to use mobile service.
The number of sites now using the Jumpman software – including many sites which are not even presented as bingo sites – means it needs to be considered as a main contender rather than an alternative.
If you are sick to death of Dragonfish/Cozy/Virtue Fusion etc and want a change, these are the less well known bingo software alternatives.
B-Live currently powers just one site – Bingocams which uses webcams to enhance the user experience and the community aspect of the site.
Bede Gaming is the bingo software behind one of the online bingo world’s most expensive (and now defunct) flops, Bingo Godz (nothing wrong with the software though, just the concept), and it also powers several other sites including Crown Bingo. The well known bookie Betvictor was rumoured to be launching bingo on the Bede platform but after being delayed for a long time the launch was cancelled altogether.
White Hat entered the UK bingo arena in Autumn 2014 after becoming one of the first companies to gain a full UK online gambling licence, but stopped offering bingo in Summer 2017. Somewhat confusingly they still have a site called Mainstage Bingo but like their other sites it is purely a slot and casino site.
Tombola’s software is unique to the Tombola site – and another thing which makes Tombola different to other bingo sites is that there are NO slots (instead there are some Tombola proprietary instant games on the Tombola Arcade site that can be played with the same login). For many bingo players this is a good thing, either because they have no interest in slots or because they regard the slots as a potentially expensive temptation.
Both these bingo products have now bitten the dust. Probability started off as a separate company but became a subsidiary of the giant GTech, which itself then merged with the huge slots provider IGT. The GTech software powered a handful of sites including the Daily Express bingo site, but was never very popular, largely because of the lack of any bingo bonus offers, and the last of the GTech sites closed or migrated to other platforms in Summer 2016. Probability was for mobiles only (including older types of phone) and was mostly focused on proprietary mobile slots with just one bingo room. In Summer 2017 the remaining Probability sites closed apart from the flagship Lady Lucks – and of that, only the name remains as it reopened on a different platform without any bingo.
Daub Alderney is the name of the bingo software used by Stride Gaming (who also own a large number of Dragonfish bingo sites). Daub Alderney in its present form started off with Kitty Bingo and now powers three other bingo sites with a combination of standalone and networked rooms, plus some slots only sites. Prior to that, as Daub Gaming, they were involved with Wink Bingo before it was sold to 888 back in the noughties.
Leapfrog is extremely elderly as bingo software goes; it is for desktop only and requires a download. The slots are proprietary. There are just 3 sites powered by this ancient software and the licence is held by Daub Alderney so it is possible that they might eventually migrate on to that software.
The Relax Gaming bingo software first saw the light of day in July 2015 at Maria and a couple of other Unibet owned sites including Bingo.com Relax Gaming had previously released poker and casino software. 75 ball, 90 ball and Swedish bingo are available and the software has a number of unique features including letting players see how close other players are to bingo and which numbers they are waiting for. It also has Roll On bingo and a prebuy facility as good as that at Virtue Fusion, allowing tickets to be purchased up to a week in advance.
The Intouch bingo software, which received an update in early 2016, runs at mFortune and sister sites only and has 90 ball bingo only (in multiple bingo rooms). It is designed for mobile use and has 24/7 chat.
Gaming Realms had a proprietary bingo platform, Grizzly, and for a while it powered bingo at the Gaming Realms slots site Spin Genie. This was not a success and the bingo rooms are now closed. Gaming Realms also own the rights to Slingo and several real money versions of this cross between bingo and slots are available at their sites. The only one that can be considered a bingo game is the multiplayer version Slingo Boom, which is similar to 75 ball bingo. At first this was only available at Slingo.com but now it has been rolled out to their other sites.
Parlay are based in Canada and in the past have been associated with a number of big names in the industry, but now there are only a few (house owned) Parlay bingo sites such as Bingo Palace that have a UK licence. The interesting thing about this software is that alongside regular real money bingo there is a freemium game called Bazingo which is akin to the sort of bingo app one would find on Facebook or for a mobile. This is played with in-game currency but there is a weekly leaderboard and the highest scoring prizes win cash or bonus.
MrQ is a new standalone bingo platform and bingo site. It plays very nicely and the only minus point is the lack of pre-buy facilities.
All Virtue Fusion sites are on the Virtue Fusion network. As the network is so big, they are able to have huge prizes, super generous network promotions, and lots of bingo rooms running many bingo variants. Tickets for specific games can be purchased up to a week in advance. HOWEVER, the network rooms can be so full of players that games tend to be over very quickly and the chances of winning are small (although the prizes are big) and this can have a negative impact on player experience. Furthermore many Virtue Fusion sites, including some big names who really ought to behave better, have an unfortunate habit of routinely passing off Virtue Fusion network promotions as if they were exclusive promotions for their own players only.
The Virtue Fusion network does not have much in the way of regular reload bonuses; these can be offered via email or via exclusive promotions but that is up to the individual sites.
Many Virtue Fusion sites have their own bingo rooms that are NOT on the network (though they are not always easy to identify) and these provide the opportunity to play against a smaller number of other players giving a greater chance of winning (albeit with smaller prizes). Whether you play in a site specific room or a network room, the only people you’ll see in the chat will be the players and chat host from the same site site, and this makes for a good community feel.
The merger of Paddy Power and Betfair, and that of Gala, Coral and Ladbrokes, have created two mini networks within the Virtue Fusion network and this is especially noticeable in the case of Gala Coral Ladbrokes where exclusive bingo games such as the 50 ball Coconut Island bingo run across all three sites (and make up the majority of their bingo rooms) but network specials such as Cash Cubes are missing. Rumour has it that these three sites could break away from the main network entirely.
This is the main Dragonfish network but not all Dragonfish sites are on it, and there are also some other networks that use Dragonfish/888 software. As if that wasn’t confusing enough, some bingo games and bingo rooms – such as the £200K mega jackpot games run during 2015 and early 2016, the 90s Extreme bingo room, the daily jackpot games and the free bingo- are networked more widely than the Dragonfish network itself, appearing at many other sites operating under 888’s licence.
This network has a loyalty scheme that resets every month so you can be too busy to play for a month or two then come back to it and regain full benefits very quickly, and they also like to give out lots of reload codes via email. HOWEVER, some of the network promotions and jackpot games really are not as good as they sound and the wagering requirements can be onerous. Perhaps the worst thing about this network, though, is that quite a few sites are just skins with no exclusive rooms or promotions at all and since the chat in the networked rooms is the same whichever site you play at, there is very little to recommend such sites. On the plus side, Dragonfish bingo bonuses generally do not have an expiry date.
The Real Bingo Network is an offshoot of the main Dragonfish network, including some of the same rooms. Its USP is that there are no wagering requirements on anything and this also means that there are no bingo bonuses as such; the welcome offers (an ongoing player rewards) at these bingo sites are based on free bingo tickets for specific games and free slots spins. All winnings are paid in cash including those from daily free slot spins (but these are subject to a cap).
Joy of Bingo is an 888 network which includes sites such as 888 Ladies and Wink Bingo, with a combination of shared and standalone rooms (the free bingo in particular is mostly shared) and a network wide VIP scheme. HOWEVER the VIP scheme requires you to deposit and spend (and keep on spending) thousands of pounds.
The Dragonfish powered Ignite network started out with big name Costa Bingo and grew rapidly up until the launch of Bringo Bingo in Summer 2017. They were known for their fun theming and large bonuses including no deposit offers but now, the theming has had to be toned down so as not to appeal to children and the welcome offers are for free bingo tickets not bonus. There are a number of shared bingo rooms and promotions although it is not easy to tell which are shared across the network and which aren’t.
This Dragonfish powered network which includes sites such as Gossip Bingo and Diva Bingo has lots of big jackpot games advertised. HOWEVER they are mostly sliding jackpot games, so most of the time the sums that are won are not going to be anywhere near the headline amount. There are plenty of other bingo rooms if you don’t like sliding jackpots, but the free bingo all requires a recent deposit and with only a few exceptions the cheapest tickets are 5p.
The Silverspin network is a hybrid – they have many of the main Dragonfish network bingo rooms and promotions (but not all of them) and also have three 90 ball rooms (afternoons and evenings) that are exclusive to their brands plus occasional shared promotions between all their brands – which include Butterfly Bingo, Lucky Charm Bingo and Candy Shop Bingo. Iceland Bingo and Safari Bingo are owned by a different (but related) operator, BlackSpark, but currently still have two of the Silverspin bingo rooms (as well as their own rooms and promotions).
The 8 Ball/Dragonfish network is also a hybrid. 8 Ball began by opening half a dozen new Dragonfish sites and buying several others in the space of just a few months. This gave them the critical mass of players they needed to start doing some of their own rooms and promotions and there is also an 8 Ball only loyalty scheme that adds extra benefits to the network scheme. The sites vary as to which rooms they have, and some have their own exclusive promotions as well (many of which are sent to players by text or email rather than advertised on site).
As each Microgaming bingo operator requires its own licence from the UK Gambling Commission, it is relatively easy for them to introduce their own rooms to add to the network rooms, but not many actually do these days.
Betway‘s two Microgaming powered bingo sites, including Dream Bingo, used to be a hybrid mini network with several shared bingo rooms across what was then three sites, but now they just have the network rooms and promotions.
Broadway Gaming is another Microgaming powered hybrid network – the sites, which include Butlers Bingo, retain access to all the main network rooms and promotions but there are also two exclusive rooms that run across all Broadway Gaming sites and many Broadway specific promotions.
The Jumpman powered 15 Network has undergone massive changes in the last couple of years. The bingo rooms were never that busy in the first place and when they swapped from a bingo bonus welcome offer to a slots welcome offer they became close to empty. A software upgrade improved the bingo product but its main effect was to increase the range of slot games. The new 15 Network sites are not networked with sites that have not yet been upgraded, and existing players have had to sign up again.
The other Jumpman powered network, Wheel of Slots, is on the way out as all the sites on it are being migrated to the new 15 Network. It was the first to introduce the “spin the wheel to win bonus spins” type of welcome offer that is standard across all Jumpman bingo and slot sites.
The Bede Gaming network sites are all on the IPS (Intellectual Property and Software) network (which is owned by casino giant LeoVegas) . There is no opportunity here to win any life changing amounts playing bingo as the prizes, like the network itself, are relatively small. Another negative point is that there is not much in the way of bingo promotions. They do, however, seem to give out a lot of deposit bonuses, especially slots bonuses.
The Cozy bingo sites on the Live Bingo Network are all almost exactly the same as each other. They all have exactly the same promotions (almost all of which are open to frequent/recent depositors only) and the same bingo rooms with the same chat. Negative points also include the lack of prebuy when playing with bingo bonus and reported problems cashing out if you have accounts at multiple sites. Free bingo is available but only for newbies.
The Best Bingo Network now differs from the Live Bingo Network in only one respect – the name. Although it used to be a separate network this is no longer the case and all the sites have the same promotions and the same welcome offer as well as the same bingo rooms.
The Lucky Duck Network is Cozy powered and owned by Game Village and at the moment it is quite small. Game Village used to have proprietary software (they went on to Cozy for reasons to do with licensing and the desire to offer a mobile service) and were well known for their sense of community. They still have a forum and apparently still organise player meet-ups. They have some bingo rooms and promotions in common with the other Cozy networks plus some exclusives.
8 Ball’s Cozy powered sites on the Live Bingo Network form a sub network in the same way as the ones on the Dragonfish network do, but to a lesser extent. They are also excluded from some of the network promotions and bonuses and most have a worse welcome offer than other Cozy sites.
The Gamesys network only includes a few sites but one of them is really big, so they are able to run Super Links games with very substantial prizes, in much the same way as Virtue Fusion does, and they also have extensive pre-buy facilities. What Gamesys does particularly well is prize draw promotions; these run frequently, the prizes are generally very worthwhile and the usual restriction to one entry per player per day means that regular players have just as much opportunity to win as high rollers do.
Gamesys have also done away with bingo bonuses, instead basing their welcome offers around free spins and free bingo tickets.
This network is now defunct.
The Daub Alderney network – including Kitty Bingo is quite small so there is no problem with rooms being too busy, and it is very clear which rooms are and are not linked with other sites. Daub give out lots of bonuses and free spins; quite a few of their rooms are cash only though.
This network runs at Unibet owned sites including Bingo.com which are really slots sites with bingo rather than bingo sites as such (the welcome offers are all geared towards slots). Nevertheless it has several busy bingo rooms (with some rather large jackpots), pre-buy up to a week ahead and frequent bingo promotions, including bingo tournaments where points are given for line and FH wins. Another plus point is that the Relax sites run slots tournaments where the aim is not to spend more money than anyone else, but to get the biggest percentage win in a set number of rounds (usually 20 but occasionally just 1).