Virtue Fusion / Playtech Bingo Sites
- What Is Virtue Fusion?
- What’s Special About Playtech Bingo
- Virtue Fusion Bingo Games
- Virtue Fusion Slots
- Playtech Bingo Promotions
- Playtech Bingo – History
- Playtech Bingo – The Future
What Is Virtue Fusion?
Virtue Fusion is the name of a very popular bingo software that is owned by iGaming giant, Playtech. Although the Virtue Fusion branding is no longer prominent, the Virtue Fusion name is so well known that most people still use it when talking about bingo sites powered by Playtech. It’s basically the gold standard as far as bingo software goes and an ideal place to start if you’ve never played online bingo before. In terms of sheer numbers of players Playtech’s bingo network is rivalled only by Tombola; at busy times there can be thousands or even tens of thousands of players online and while this makes the chance of winning the game in question remote, the prizes can be HUGE.
What’s Special About Playtech Bingo
You’ve heard of people who are famous for being famous? Well, Virtue Fusion bingo sites are popular because they’re popular. The sheer numbers of players buying tickets puts lots of money into the Playtech bingo network and this has a very positive effect on the size of the prizes and the liveliness of the bingo rooms – all of which tends to attract even more players.
Virtue Fusion bingo sites are most definitely NOT all the same. Playtech give operators lots of opportunity to customise with exclusive bingo rooms, exclusive promotions, operator configured welcome offers and the use of game features such as Roll On, 1TG/2TG, Last Chance Saloon etc
For example, in the case of the free room for newbies that many Virtue Fusion sites have it’s the operator who decides when their newbie room should be open, what the prizes should be (including whether they should be bingo bonus or cash) and how long new players get access for. Contrast that with Dragonfish where there’s just one network free room for all new players and recent depositors.
Community and Chat
On networks such as Dragonfish, when you play in a network bingo room the chat host is the same whichever site you are playing from and you can see the chat from all the other players from other sites on the network. That’s if they even have any chat – in 2023, many bingo sites don’t have any chat at all.
This is not the case at Virtue Fusion; Playtech don’t supply any network chat so each site has to have its own chat and chat hosts, with each chat host typically covering several rooms on the site. That means that the sites have much more of a community feel about them and that they are also able to run exclusive chat game promotions.
Players can also add other players they meet in the chat rooms to a friends list and see when they are online, which really helps build a community.
The Playtech schedule / pre-buy screen enables purchase of tickets for any bingo game up to a week in advance (as long as the player has satisifed any room entry requirement). The only exception is free bingo games where tickets cannot be bought in advance and have to be claimed shortly before the game starts.
This is a very powerful plus point for Virtue Fusion bingo sites as it means players with busy lives can still participate in big money games – and it also helps to ensure that participation levels remain high enough for the big money games to continue to be offered.
Pre-buy can be especially useful when you’re playing bingo on your phone while out and about as you can dip in and out without having to worry about missing the ticket purchase window.
Playtech enable operators to run live video streams in their bingo rooms and most do so from time to time. Celebrity interviews, quizzes and phone-in games have been done in this way for some time but it wasn’t until 2022 that Buzz Bingo introduced a regular live stream in which the presenters actually compere the bingo games that are going on at the time and interact with the players, taking the entertainment to a whole new level.
Virtue Fusion Bingo Games
One very strong plus point of the Playtech bingo product is the sheer choice of bingo rooms and different types of bingo game.
- Deal or No Deal Bingo
- Rainbow Riches Bingo
- Cash Cubes
- Age of the Gods Bingo
- Fluffy Favourites Bingo
- Spirit Twister Bingo
- The Money Drop Bingo
- Operator Exclusives
Deal Or No Deal Bingo
Deal Or No Deal Bingo is perhaps the most perennially popular bingo variant ever released. It is basically 75 or 90 ball bingo with a DOND bonus game for the full house winner that makes it more interactive for everyone – the winner gets to choose whether to accept the Banker’s offer and everyone else in the room can vote on what they should do. Deal Or No Deal Bingo is such a big draw for players that Entain developed their own version of the game prior to moving Gala Bingo from Virtue Fusion to their own bingo software. Most players still prefer the Virtue Fusion version.
Rainbow Riches Bingo
Rainbow Riches Bingo is a fast moving 40 ball bingo game themed on the UK’s best known slot machine. The tickets have 8 numbers arranged as two 4 leaf clovers and the prizes are for 1 clover and full house. It has three community jackpots and a bonus collection feature.
Cash Cubes was the first Virtue Fusion bingo variant to be released for HTML5 only. It is a one card, multi stake game designed to play well on mobile devices and has 36 balls and 12 numbers arranged around 4 cubes. The prize is for completing all 4 cubes, but any cubes completed are added to the bonus collection feature which pays out at 50 cubes. The Cash Cubes 36 ball game engine has been reused a number of times to power operator exclusives.
Age Of The Gods Bingo
Age of the Gods Bingo is 90 ball bingo with an extra feature game, based on the Age of the Gods Slots jackpot game, that plays in some games and awards a jackpot.
Fluffy Favourites Bingo
Fluffy Favourites Bingo is also 90 ball bingo with an occasional feature game, this time based on bonus rounds from the slot game.
Spirit Twister Bingo
Spirit Twister was introduced in 2021. It’s a special 5 line bingo game designed so that players win little and often; it does this by restricting the number of players allowed per game and requiring everyone to buy the same number of tickets.
The Money Drop Bingo
The Money Drop Bingo is new for 2023. It’s 80 ball bingo with a feature game that takes place at the same time as the main game and can be played by anyone who buys at least 5 tickets to the main game; winners collect a share of the room jackpot.
Many Virtue Fusion bingo sites have their own exclusive bingo games and usually these are a reskin of a game engine already in use:
- 50 ball traditional – e.g. BOB at Mecca
- 50 ball single ticket/multi stake – e.g. Emoji & Burst at Mecca, Brit50 & Mystic Meg at Sun
- 40 ball (Rainbow Riches) – e.g. Tipping Point at Sky
- 36 ball (Cash Cubes) – Winning Headlines at Sun, Buzz Bingo Blast
- 90 ball + bonus game – X-Factor at Mecca
There was even an operator exclusive reskin of DOND bingo (Big Banker Bingo at Gala, when Gala was still on Virtue Fusion) but this never really caught on.
Virtue Fusion Slots
Clover Rollover, Cleopatra’s Chest, Bouncy Balls, Big Top Tombola, Fairest of Them All, Fireworkz Blitz, Mafia Millions and Winnings of Oz are all progressive jackpot slots that are part and parcel of Virtue Fusion bingo and remain popular despite being somewhat old and clunky. Some are original Virtue Fusion slots (which can be played as mini games in the bingo rooms) and others are by other Playtech subsidiaries such as Ash Gaming. A selection of Eyecon slots including Fluffy Favourites and now Bouncy Balls 2 and Clover Rollover 2 can also be played from inside the bingo lobby in regular and jackpot versions .
Almost all Virtue Fusion sites also have a range of Playtech slots. These can’t be played from inside the bingo lobby and in some cases – typically at big bookies such as Paddy Power Bingo – players need to go to a different area of the site to access a Playtech casino that can be played with the same wallet and login. Age of the Gods, Gladiator, Sporting Legends and Kingdoms Rise are some of the games that can be accessed in this way.
Playtech Bingo Promotions
Virtue Fusion bingo sites have many of the very best bingo promotions out there, whether networked or exclusive.
- Guaranteed prize funds
- Escalator jackpots
- Stake & get
- Slot prize draws
- Free daily games
- Free spins
- Free bingo
- Networked or not?
Guaranteed prize funds
These run over the last weekend of every month, at other regular times and as part of seasonal specials. In a guaranteed prize game, the prizes have a minimum but not a maximum level. Let’s take a game with a guaranteed full house prize of £5000. Even if they only sell 50 tickets, the full house prize will still be £5000. But once they sell enough tickets for the prize to be £5000 if it was calculated in the normal way from ticket sales, the prize will start to rise with any further ticket sales. Needless to say the popularity of the Playtech bingo platform means they invariably sell a LOT more than 50 tickets!
In an escalator jackpot, the number of calls within which the full house must be won for the room jackpot to drop is gradually incremented until the jackpot is won. For example, the normal number of calls for the jackpot in the 90 ball network room is 33 (meaning that it’s very unlikely to drop in the normal course of things). Typically when Virtue Fusion run an escalator in this room, it starts at 6pm on the specified day and the ball count is incremented by 2 every hour, on the hour. If the jackpot hasn’t dropped by 11.45pm the ball count goes to 90 ensuring that it will drop in the next game. These jackpots are always split 50/50 between the FH winner or winners and the tickets held by all other players, so whenever this promotion runs the room goes crazy with everyone piling in and maxing out on tickets.
Operators can run escalators in their exclusive rooms too, and some do; Buzz Bingo ran one for their first birthday which was a whopping £100,000.
Stake & get
A stake and get promotion is of the form “spend xxx cash on y game and get z”. This type of promotion is always an operator exclusive. Z could be a bonus but may also be free spins, the opportunity to play a bonus game, a share of a prize pot or – the most common reward these days – entry to a free bingo room with substantial prizes. In its purest form the promotion does not include any requirement to make a deposit but at some sites (Mecca Bingo for instance) it is typically “deposit and spend” rather than just “spend”.
Slot prize draws
Playtech are well known for running vast networked slot prize draws. These used to take place a couple of times a year under the banner “million pound slots prize draw” but for 2023 they are experimenting with a slightly different format and running a £200,000 prize draw each month. Operators can and do run their own exclusive draws from time to time as well. Typically players get one entry for each £10 of play on the slots on the list and one may be designated as a double ticket slot (awarding two entries for £10 of play rather than one for £5 of play).
Free daily games
Many Virtue Fusion sites have free daily games, and most of those also have a premium version which you can qualify for by depositing and/or playing the previous day. In the majority of these games, you spin the wheel for a chance to win a few slot spins, a bingo bonus or small amount of cash. Occasionally there’s a pick a box or match 3 type game instead of a spin the wheel.
Most but not all Virtue Fusion sites pay winnings from free spins in cash with no wagering requirements (check the terms and conditions of the promotion to find out).
Virtue Fusion bingo sites often have substantial amounts of free bingo and not just for newbies. For example, as of January 2023 there’s a bingo room at Paddy Power Bingo which runs free bingo games from noon until 6pm every day. Virtue Fusion free bingo games sometimes have a Superbooks option whereby free tickets can be upgraded to pay tickets for the chance to win a bigger prize; this is rarely worthwhile because of the very large numbers of players in the free rooms.
Networked or not?
No-one can be good at everything, and one thing that Playtech bingo sites are notoriously bad at is making it clear to players when a promotion is networked; to find out, either read the small print in the promotion T&C which will say something along the lines of “These are enhanced schedules run by Virtue Fusion and available to all members of participating Virtue Fusion websites” or simply visit a couple of other Playtech powered sites to check whether they are also running the promotion.
Playtech Bingo – History
Having seen what Virtue Fusion bingo sites are like in 2023, let’s take a dive into the back story of this deservedly very popular bingo product.
Virtue Fusion (Alderney) was originally founded around the turn of the millennium and concentrated on the online bingo product from 2005 onwards, getting a significant boost from the launch of Deal Or No Deal Bingo in partnership with Endemol in 2009. In 2010 Virtue Fusion was bought by Playtech as one in a series of very canny acquisitions by the iGaming giant, later to include ECM systems who make electronic bingo devices for bingo halls and Eyecon, the maker of Fluffy Favourites, the favourite slot of many a bingo player.
A few years later, Virtue Fusion bingo sites were thriving but also facing a bit of a problem. The wildly popular bingo software needed Adobe Flash to run and by that time, Flash was well and truly on the way out. Flash was never available on Apple devices and wasn’t supported on Android devices from 2012 onwards, so the bingo lobby wouldn’t work on mobile devices. Hard as it may be to believe now when 80% of our users are on mobile phones and many own no other device, many Virtue Fusion bingo sites of the 2010s had no mobile bingo whatsoever.
In 2015, the popular browser Mozilla Firefox blocked Flash citing security concerns, rendering the bingo lobby inaccessible to anyone using that browser. It was clearly only a matter of time until other browsers followed suit (in fact, Flash was eventually retired in 2020). It was essential, then, for the Virtue Fusion bingo platform to move on from Flash and in 2016 Playtech launched the new HTML5 lobby which was intended to work seamlessly across all devices.
Unfortunately the shiny new HTML5 bingo lobby went down like a lead balloon with lots of players who were still on desktop and didn’t like the new design. Many established bingo sites gave existing players the choice between Flash and HTML5 but new Virtue Fusion sites launching from summer 2016 onwards were only able to offer HTML5. Eventually Playtech forced the issue by making new games such as Cash Cubes and Age of the Gods Bingo available for the HTML5 lobby only and by the time of the launch of Buzz Bingo in late 2018, Flash was no longer an issue and all Virtue Fusion bingo sites finally had a mobile service.
During this period of transition it became clear that the Virtue Fusion name was going to be gradually phased out and everything rebranded to Playtech, and in fact it was not just the bingo side of things they intended to rebrand, but all of Playtech’s gambling related products, under the banner of Playtech ONE. Playtech ONE means one wallet, one view, one platform for all content, all channels and all devices; in Playtech’s vision of the omni-channel future of iGaming you will be able to use your account to play any of their products on any device anywhere, anytime (and that includes devices such as TVs and games arcade terminals as well as computers and phones).
Fast forward to 2023 and the Virtue Fusion branding has long since been removed from all the remaining Playtech bingo sites but the name lives on in some of the licensing, in the small print of network promotions and – most importantly – in the minds of players.
Playtech’s intention was also to expand the Virtue Fusion bingo product beyond the big name sites with a number of launches of new sites for smaller operators on the HTML platform, but on the whole this was not a success and there are hardly any of these smaller Virtue Fusion bingo sites left in operation today. Aztec Bingo, for example, is now closed and BOGOF Bingo moved to a different platform. The initial unpopularity of the HTML5 lobby with players was certainly a factor but there are several other reasons:
- Opening a Virtue Fusion bingo site is expensive – not only is the Playtech platform itself more expensive than others, but also there is no network chat so the operator has to hire a team of chat hosts.
- Even with the inclusion of Eyecon slots the range of slot games that can be played inside the Virtue Fusion bingo lobby is not great. The big bookies got round this by having lots of other slots products that can be played with the same login and wallet as their bingo product and other large players – Mecca Bingo for instance – had and still have a big selection of slots seamlessly integrated into their site in a separate tab. Smaller operators had the option to add more slots (at a price!) by taking a product called Portal which gave their players access to a wider range of slots but even with this they were not really able to compete with the large sites.
- Smaller sites were also never really able to offer the range of exclusive bingo rooms and exclusive bingo games that the larger operators have.
In 2023, then, the software remains extremely popular with players but there are far fewer Virtue Fusion bingo sites than there once were. The small sites have almost all closed and two very big operators (Entain and bet365) have moved on to less expensive bingo software.
Playtech Bingo – The Future
The potential for future expansion in the UK with the Virtue Fusion bingo product doesn’t look great. As we have seen, to make a success of a bingo site with Playtech requires a BIG organisation with DEEP pockets (a national newspaper, a big bookie, a TV or radio station, a casino giant), but most of the large organisations that might wish to get involved in the online bingo world already operate a Virtue Fusion bingo site (or have gone for a much cheaper solution, the Pragmatic Play bingo product).
We didn’t expect there to be any new Virtue Fusion bingo site launches from 2020 onwards, but in fact we got something that was almost as good when Lucky Pants Bingo and Kitty Bingo dumped their proprietary bingo software in favour of Virtue Fusion (and there was indeed a large organisation involved in the form of Rank Gaming). It could be a long time before there are any more – if indeed there ever are any more – and we certainly don’t expect there to be any new Virtue Fusion sites in 2023.
Indeed, the number of Virtue Fusion bingo sites is going down not up, but even after the loss of Coral Bingo, Ladbrokes Bingo and Gala Bingo to Entain’s own bingo software in 2021 followed by another high profile departure in 2022, the Virtue Fusion network still retains plenty of liquidity enabling Playtech to run the big money games and massive promotions that players love so much – for the time being, at least. Could they withstand any more defections without losing enough liquidity for it to be a problem though? Time will tell!
In the meantime, the 64 million dollar question is….what to do if you’ve already got an account at every single Virtue Fusion bingo site (as we’re pretty sure some of you have)?
As all Virtue Fusion bingo sites are different, the answer is simple. Pick the one you like best for whatever reason – range of games, customer service, promotions, friendly chat hosts, wagering requirements (or lack thereof) – and concentrate your play there to make the most of the promotions and any loyalty scheme they have.
Virtue Fusion is the name of a bingo software provider that was acquired by Playtech in 2010. Virtue Fusion no longer exists as a separate entity but the name is still used to refer to Playtech’s bingo software, especially with regard to network bingo rooms and promotions.
As well as 90 ball, 80 ball and 75 ball bingo rooms, Virtue Fusion bingo sites have exclusive Virtue Fusion bingo games including Deal Or No Deal Bingo, Rainbow Riches Bingo, Age of the Gods Bingo, Fluffy Favourites Bingo, Spirit Twister and The Money Drop Bingo. Some Virtue Fusion sites also have their own unique bingo games.
Most Virtue Fusion bingo sites are run by huge multi product operators like Paddy Power, giving access to a massive range of slot games by Playtech and many other major providers. Virtue Fusion bingo sites also have an exclusive selection of slot games inside the bingo lobby including Clover Rollover, Dynamite Digger, Mafia Millions and Snow Queen’s Magic as well as Fluffy Favourites and all its sequels.