Cozy Bingo Sites
The story of Cozy is rather a sad one. Back in 2013 there were dozens of Cozy bingo sites on several different networks, and when all were brought under the umbrella of Cozy’s new UK licence in autumn 2014 it looked like they were going from strength to strength, with the networks consolidated into two super networks (Live Bingo Network and Best Bingo network) and the beginnings of a third (Lucky Duck network) plus the launch of several casino sites (Mobile Casino Network).
- Live Bingo Network – This was the largest Cozy network, especially after it absorbed the Winners Bingo Network in 2014.
- Best Bingo Network – This included sites formerly on the Fun Bingo Network.
- Lucky Duck Network – This was born when the standalone bingo site GameVillage migrated to Cozy in 2014. GameVillage had been around since 2007 on a proprietary platform with an associated forum and it wasn’t until some time in 2017 that Lucky Duck sites had any bingo rooms or promotions in common with other Cozy sites.
- Mobile Casino Network – This was for Cozy sites without bingo.
The main plus points of Cozy bingo sites were the absolutely massive bonuses including a £15 no deposit bonus, the number of different bingo games on offer including 30 ball and 50 ball and the ease of mobile play (they were early HTML5 adopters). The minus points were that within each network the sites were all exactly the same as each other in terms of bingo rooms and promotions, the terms and conditions were hard on players and apart from a few sites which included a small selection of Microgaming titles, the slot games on offer were dreadful proprietary games. Nowadays this would be the kiss of death but back in 2014, few bingo sites had the good selection of slots that is usual today.
Unfortunately there was a massive thundercloud on the horizon for the “massive bonuses” model in the form of the Point of Consumption Tax. This 15% tax on remote gambling was imposed in 2014 at the same time as regulatory changes but only applied to cash play. In 2017, however, the scope of the tax was extended to cover bonuses amd free bets, with effect from 1st August. Instead of immediately getting rid of their no deposit bonus offers, Cozy introduced some truly arcane and confusing arrangements for ring fencing and reducing the RTP of bonus play to cover the tax burden.
That lasted less than three months – the no deposit bonuses were axed in October 2017 and replaced with newbie free bingo, and other bonuses were cut as well making the Cozy welcome offers far less competitive with other bingo sites.
Meanwhile, something big was going on behind the scenes – the purchase of Cozy by iGaming giant GVC. This was done so quietly that the first time many of their white label partners heard about it was when they noticed that the UK Gambling Commission licence on their sites had been changed to Electraworks (a GVC subsidiary). GVC are too large and Cozy too small for there to be any requirement for them to publicise the transaction.
The first thing that GVC did was to put the brakes on Cozy white label sales. The last of the Cozy white label sites Goldy Bingo opened in December 2017. Things went a bit quiet for almost a year after that and then in October 2018, Foxy Casino (now known as Foxy Games) moved to the Cozy platform. Two weeks later it was announced that Foxy Bingo would also be moving to Cozy. It soon became apparent what had been going on for the past year – development work on the Cozy product but only for GVC’s own sites. Not only is the Cozy bingo product at Foxy Bingo streets ahead of that at Cozy white label sites for usability, choice of games etc, the terms and conditions at Foxy are much more attractive for players.
Consolidation had also been going on at the Cozy networks. By early 2018 the Best Bingo Network and the Live Bingo Network were different in name only and the Lucky Duck network, which had started out completely separate, shared several rooms with the other two and just had a few exclusives (all of whch have now gone). Worse was to come in 2019 though, in the form of a massive wave of closures of Cozy bingo and casino sites including Landmark Bingo the flagship brand which was responsible for the names of all the bingo rooms (Big Ben, City Hall etc). GVC apparently decided (perhaps because of compliance worries) not to continue working with any small-time partners – the few white label sites that are left belong to larger operations.
Cozy’s corporate site is also looking pretty neglected these days. For a start, it boasts 100+ brands and there are nowhere near that many left! At the bottom of the page, there’s a carousel of testimonials and almost all are from brands that no longer exist. It also used to have links to each of the networks but now the links – which are to “bingo network” and “casino network”only – are broken. The link to their affiliate program still works but at the other end, dozens of sites that were closed months ago are listed.
If the Cozy platform has a future, it’s almost certainly at Foxy and perhaps at other sites owned by GVC rather than as a network of skins. Developing the Cozy product further could render GVC less reliant on other platform providers including Playtech and therein lies the true value of the purchase.