Updated: 6th Oct 2020
When deciding which bingo sites to play at two very important factors are software and network.
Bingo SOFTWARE is the underlying engine that the bingo games run on – so it affects HOW you buy bingo tickets. 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 – so it affects WHERE you buy bingo tickets. If you already have an account at one bingo site on the network, there is not much point in opening more accounts at new bingo sites 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 the new site has something special to offer such as a juicy welcome bonus or exclusive bingo rooms or promotions.
Different networks running the same software used to be common but these days Dragonfish is the only software that powers multiple networks; although Pragmatic Play bingo is available at sites on different casino platforms, all of the bingo rooms are widely networked.
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 since then 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 preferred it and so a few sites continued to offer the option of Flash (the “classic lobby”) for existing players until quite recently.
There are fewer Virtue Fusion bingo sites than there used to be (many smaller sites have closed and a couple of big sites have moved to the GVC bingo software) but it still has a huge and loyal player base enabling them to offer some really big prizes.
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 used to be the payment processing arm of 888 Holdings and dealt with all sites using the 888/Dragonfish software whether or not they carry the Dragonfish branding; Cassava itself no longer exists but the name is still used by players to refer to 888 licensed sites, especially those not on the main Dragonfish network.
Pragmatic Play is very much the new kid on the block but is clearly going places fast. The bingo platform was given a soft launch at one site in early 2019 and was then rolled out to a number of Nektan slot and casino sites in summer 2019. Since then it has appeared at more than a hundred other sites, replacing the bingo products from Jumpman and Bede Gaming and powering the high profile launch of bingo at PlayOJO.
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. Gamesys sites have some of the best bingo promotions in the business and they also operate entirely on a No Wagering model.
Tombola’s software is unique to the Tombola site and includes many weird and wonderful bingo games you won’t find anywhere else. 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.
The Microgaming bingo software is on the way out, it’s just a question of when; in early 2020 Microgaming announced that they would not be supporting the product going forward.
The Relax Gaming bingo software was launched in 2015 and is only found at Unibet owned sites including Bingo.com Relax Gaming had previously released poker and casino software. 75 ball, 90 ball ,Swedish bingo and the unique game Hexabingo 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.
MrQ is a standalone bingo platform and bingo site that was launched in 2018. It plays very nicely but suffers from lack of pre-buy facilities and there isn’t much liquidity.
B-Live currently powers just one site – Bingocams – which uses webcams to enhance the user experience and the community aspect of the site.
Daub Alderney is the name of the proprietary bingo software used by Stride Gaming. Daub Alderney in its present form started off with Kitty Bingo and prior to that, as Daub Gaming, they were involved with Wink Bingo before it was sold to 888 back in the noughties. Stride also own a string of Dragonfish bingo sites and have recently moved two sites off the Daub Alderney software on to Dragonfish, so it is possible the remaining two (Kitty Bingo and Lucky Pants Bingo) will follow, leaving Daub as a casino platform only.
The Intouch bingo software 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.
Leapfrog is a bit of a joke as bingo software goes; it is extremely old, 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.
The Cozy bingo software used to power dozens of sites and was one of the first to use HTML5 for an easy to use mobile service. After GVC bought Cozy Gaming the white label arrangements began to be phased out and the last Cozy bingo sites closed or moved to other platforms in August 2020.
Jumpman is basically a casino platform and white label solution rather than a bingo platform. The proprietary bingo software was dropped in Spring 2020 and all Jumpman sites including Jumpman Slots sites now have bingo rooms powered by Pragmatic Play.
Bede Gaming was the bingo software behind one of the online bingo world’s most expensive flops, Bingo Godz (nothing wrong with the software though, just the concept), and it also powered 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. In Spring 2020 all of the remaining “RocketX” bingo sites that had previously been powered by Bede went on to new software. Guess what software? That’s right – Pragmatic Play, that Borg of bingo software on a mission to assimilate everything.
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.
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 all remaining Probability sites closed.
Gaming Realms had a proprietary bingo platform, Grizzly, and for a while it powered bingo at the Bear Group slots site Spin Genie. This was not a success and the bingo rooms closed within a few months. Gaming Realms also own the rights to Slingo and several real money versions of this cross between bingo and slots were available at their sites. The only one that could be considered a bingo game was the multiplayer version Slingo Boom, which was similar to 75 ball bingo. This was not a success either and not only does the game no longer exist, the Bear Group sites it ran at have also now all closed or moved to the Skill On Net casino platform.
Parlay are based in Canada and in the past have been associated with a number of big names in the industry, but by 2018 there were only a few (house owned) Parlay bingo sites such as Bingo Palace that had a UK licence. The interesting thing about this software was that alongside regular real money bingo there was a freemium game called Bazingo which was akin to the sort of bingo app one would find on Facebook or for a mobile, played with in-game currency but with cash or bonus for those who topped the weekly leaderboard. In 2019 Parlay surrendered their UK licence and exited the UK market.
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, created two mini networks within the Virtue Fusion network and this was especially noticeable in the case of Gala Coral Ladbrokes where exclusive bingo games such as the 50 ball Coconut Island bingo ran across all three sites (and made up the majority of their bingo rooms) but network specials such as Cash Cubes were missing. Rumour had it that these three sites could break away from the main network entirely but in fact, GVC went one further and moved Coral and Ladbrokes off Virtue Fusion completely. One day, Gala may follow suit.
This is the main Dragonfish network – also sometimes referred to as Globalcom – 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 and Big Fat 10 bingo rooms, 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 which you’ll need to be a genuine high roller to join.
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 several 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.
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 (especially as the product is soon to be retired)
Session Bingo, Superlinks, Crystal Maze Bingo and Blox Bingo are networked across all Gamesys sites; other rooms are shared across fewer sites or unique to one only. Although there aren’t many sites on the network, the size of the player base means that the Superlinks prizes can be substantial. 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.
The Pragmatic Play bingo software is one big network; there’s plenty of scope for sites to have exclusive bingo rooms but the only ones that do so to any extent are The Palaces and PlayOJO. The three large groups of sites on Pragmatic Play – Nektan, Jumpman and RocketX – all have the same bingo rooms with shared liquidity apart from the occasional special, so aren’t separate bingo networks. What sets them apart from each other is the nature of the welcome offer, the promotions and the slot game selection.
The Daub Alderney network has sadly got to the point where there’s very few players in the bingo rooms, and is really more focused on slots.
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).
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