Cassava Bingo Sites
“Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Limited”. For anyone who has visited more than a handful of online bingo sites over the last dozen years, that was once a very familiar name. But what does it actually mean? Who are Cassava and is there a Cassava Bingo Network?
Well, for a start the correct question isn’t “who ARE Cassava” but “who WERE Cassava”…
- Who Were Cassava?
- What Is A Cassava Bingo Site?
- Beyond the Dragonfish Network
- The Long Arm Of Cassava
- Cassava and Self Exclusion
Who Were Cassava?
- Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Limited was a wholly owned subsidiary of 888 Holdings plc specialising in secure internet transaction processing and based, licensed and regulated in Gibraltar (until 2014 this meant they were authorised to operate in the UK too)
- They provided transaction, payment processing and management services to online bingo sites (and casinos) owned by 888 Holdings or subsidiaries, or powered by Dragonfish (which was at that time the business-to-business arm of 888 Holdings). Their services covered literally hundreds of bingo sites and whenever a player made a deposit at such a site, Cassava was the name they would see on their bank or card statement.
- Cassava also took care of the licensing for all these sites (licence number 022 from the Gibraltar Gaming Commission) until the UK licence rules changed in November 2014. After that, the UK licence for all 888 owned and Dragonfish powered bingo sites was held by 888 UK Limited (a member of the same corporate group as Cassava). It changed again in June 2022 after 888’s entire bingo operation was bought by Broadway Gaming and the licence holder is now Grand Battery Holdings.
- Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Limited continued to provide all these services to non UK players for a while but then (until the transfer to Broadway) it was handled by Virtual Global Digital Services Limited, another member of the 888 family, making the Cassava name a thing of the past.
What Is A Cassava Bingo Site?
Cassava Enterprises never actually owned any bingo sites and in fact there is no such thing as a Cassava bingo site and never has been! When players used the term Cassava bingo site they generally meant some kind of an 888/ Dragonfish bingo site, but these terms could be extremely confusing because of the distinction between 888 owned and 888 licensed sites, and between the Dragonfish software and the Dragonfish network, and also because some Dragonfish bingo games such as free bingo and jackpot games were shared between several different Dragonfish powered networks. These days, the term Cassava bingo sites is often used to refer to bingo sites which are powered by Dragonfish software but didn’t start off on the main Dragonfish network (identifiable by its signature monthly £10K game) and that includes some very big names! Although the Cassava part of 888 no longer exists as an organisation, players still use the term Cassava to mean Dragonfish bingo sites, especially ones such as Robin Hood Bingo that are ultimately owned by Rank, and we expect this to continue into 2023 even though 888 itself is now completely out of the picture.
Beyond the Dragonfish Network
All the different Dragonfish powered networks of bingo sites used to be completely separate from each other but those lines started to blur way back in 2015 when all 888 sites joined together to run a huge £200K linked game. This was so popular, with hundreds of thousands of tickets sold, that they ran it several times; the next development came in August 2016 with the introduction of a linked 90 ball bingo room every evening starting at 7pm with a £1000 fixed jackpot game. This was supposed to be for one month only but was such a success that the bingo room (without the daily jackpot) was still in existence in 2022 (along with an equally widely linked 75 ball room) under different names on different networks. For example, the 90 ball version was called Linked and Loaded at United Bingo sites such as Robin Hood Bingo, The High Life at Wink Bingo and 90’s Extreme on the main Dragonfish network.
At this stage, there were still three distinct groups of sites where there was not much overlap with the main network and it is sites on these networks that players were often referencing when they used the term “Cassava bingo sites”.
Joy Of Bingo
Joy of Bingo had quite a bit of overlap with the main Dragonfish network. As well as the widely linked 75 and 90 ball rooms discussed above, some of the jackpot rooms and most of the free bingo rooms were shared.
The signature promotions at Joy Of Bingo were a spin the wheel bonus game (which awarded bingo bonus, games bonus, slot spins or free bingo tickets on every deposit) and daily slot spins which could be claimed for 7 days after making a deposit of £20 or more (they were subject to a win cap, max convertible and wagering requirement though, which makes them rather less attractive).
Joy Of Bingo had a distinctive shared loyalty scheme with a “bingo shop” and this has now been rolled out to every Dragonfish site directly owned by Broadway. Points collected at any site can be redeemed at any other site.
Ignite was a Dragonfish powered bingo network based around the very well known Costa Bingo. Sadly it went into a decline and there were no new bingo sites launched on Ignite after the launch of Bringo Bingo in 2017.
The reason for this was threefold. Firstly, the UK Gambling Commission working with the Advertising Standards Authority announced a crackdown on the use of imagery that might appeal to children. This was a major problem for Ignite as it meant that the design of pretty well every single one of their sites was going to have to be seriously watered down to remove all the cute cartoon characters which were one of their USPs.
Secondly, the POCT2 tax on bonuses which came in on 1st August 2017 made the generous Ignite welcome offers too expensive; most of the no deposit bonuses were removed in January 2018 and in June 2018 all their deposit bonus offers changed to a free bingo tickets offer which wasn’t popular with players. In 20212, they returned to a more conventional bingo bonus welcome offer which gave them a new lease on life but was probably too little too late.
Thirdly, in early 2019 the entire network was bought by 888 – who owned so many Dragonfish powered bingo sites already that there was little incentive for them to launch any new ones. Once Broadway Gaming’s purchase of all of these sites (along with the Dragonfish bingo software itself) was complete, they started closing some of the less popular ones.
Ignite sites now have exactly the same bingo rooms and promotions as the former Joy of Bingo network and we expect more of them to close in 2023.
The United group of bingo sites originally comprised two networks, one based around Moon Bingo and one based around Gossip Bingo. As with the difference between the Dragonfish software and the Dragonfish network, there was lots of confusion surrounding this, exacerbated by the fact that the operator also ran some Dragonfish network bingo sites and a couple of Dragonfish slot sites. It was also not possible to tell which is which from looking at the sites themselves unless you already had an account there, as all now consist of a single visible page with everything else (including the bingo rooms and promotions) only accessible after login via the lobby.
In 2023, United bingo sites have the best selection of bngo rooms on the Dragonfish platform as they have all of the widely networked rooms plus a few of their own.
Netboost is another name associated with the United bingo sites – it’s a marketing company which has been around since 2006. A further complication is that the entire kit and caboodle now belongs to Stride Gaming, the original operator of Kitty Bingo and owner of another string of Dragonfish network bingo sites which were also given the United design treatment. And that’s not the end of the complications; in 2019 Stride Gaming was taken over by Rank, the operators of Mecca Bingo. All United sites now show their ultimate ownership on the About Us page (it’s not always Rank – some are skins).
United bingo sites rarely have a plain old bingo bonus as their welcome offer and have tried out a series of hugely complex welcome offers with bingo bonus, slot bonus, bonus spins, free bingo tickets and/or the opportunity to win more via a bonus game included – everything but the kitchen sink! The signature promotion at United is a monthly sliding jackpot bingo game with a headline prize of £1 million but as with the majority of bingo games of this type the chance of anyone winning anything more than the baseline prize of £1000 is vanishingly tiny. United also run other sliding jackpot games from time to time.
The loyalty scheme at United involves collecting trophies to spin a prize wheel.
The Cashcade network used to be huge but is no longer in existence. In 2018 Foxy Bingo and Cheeky Bingo moved to the Entain bingo platform (an evolution of the software formerly known as Cozy) and the other brands (which included Telly Talk Bingo and Think Bingo) were closed.
The Long Arm Of Cassava
The Dragonfish software powers hundreds of bingo sites and if you manage to get yourself banned from one of them, you will find yourself banned from ALL of them (including new bingo sites which are yet to be launched). Here are some examples (taken directly from the terms and conditions where they have been for some years) of activities which can result in being banned:
“Where we reasonably suspect that you may deceitfully take (or attempt to take) unfair advantage of, or exploit or manipulate (or attempt to exploit or manipulate), any of the promotions, bonuses or special offers that we may offer on the Site or across our network from time to time (including without limitation our welcome bonuses) we will deem this to be “Special Offer Abuse”. Examples of Special Offer Abuse include the following: (i) opening multiple indistinguishable accounts to obtain a welcome bonus several times on this Site; (ii) only depositing during promotional periods in order to receive a bonus and not depositing at any other times; (iii) opening multiple accounts on the Site or across our network; (iv) where we have reasonable suspicion as to the truthfulness of your identity; (v) repeatedly playing free games but not playing paid-for games; (vi) purchasing all the tickets for a free game; or (vii) repeatedly depositing, cashing out and redepositing purely to gain a deposit related bonus.” – so basically, claiming (in their view) too many bonuses or playing too much free bingo.
Cassava and Self-Exclusion
Because they all operate under the same UK Gambling Commission licence, if you self-exclude from any Dragonfish site, you will not be allowed to open or run an account at ANY OTHER Dragonfish site for the period of the self exclusion.
But what actually happens if you self-exclude and then try to open an account at another Dragonfish site?
Until 888 were fined several million pounds in August 2017 for failing to deal with self exclusions correctly, there were reports of players being able to open an account, deposit and play but subsequently having their accounts closed and the monies not returned – and the terms and conditions contained a clause saying they are not liable for the return or any wagers or winnings from such an account. After the fine, if you tried to open an account and it had an email address or other identifying characteristics associated with any account that had ever self excluded from any 888 site (even if it was years ago and nothing to do with bingo), it was a big fat case of Computer Says No.
The lesson to be learned from this is that self-exclusion is a formal procedure designed to help problem gamblers to abstain. It lasts a minimum of 6 months and these days it is extremely effective. It should definitely NOT be used as a shortcut if you simply want to close your account. For those seeking something that is not so drastic, Cassava sites also offer “Take a break”, a much less drastic alternative, that applies to a single site only for a much shorter period.