Updated: 15th Dec 2021
Every now and again, a piece of news about mergers and acquisitions sends a seismic shock through the world of online bingo. On 15th December 2021, the biggest shock piece of news of this type broke since Entain (then GVC) bought Cozy all the way back in November 2017. Broadway Gaming, the operators of Butlers Bingo, Dotty Bingo and three other Pragmatic Play bingo sites, have pulled off a huge and brave acquisition. They (or rather Broadway subsidiary Saphalata Holdings) are buying the ENTIRE bingo business of 888 Group!
Reportedly there are several reasons for the sale of the bingo business:
Broadway have many years of experience focusing specifically on bingo and have acquired and turned around bingo sites before (though admittedly not on this kind of a scale) so this is a big opportunity for them to take the Dragonfish product to the next level.
We don’t expect much to happen right away as the sale hasn’t completed yet and is not expected to do so until some time between April and July 2022. After that there will be a transitional period, with 888 providing some services for up to 12 months afterwards.
The first thing that you will probably notice is a change in the licensing arrangements. Currently the UK licence holder for ALL of these sites is 888 UK Limited and obviously this is going to have to change. But what to? Will Broadway (or Saphalata) take all of these licences over, or will the operators of white label Dragonfish sites (some of whom are bigger organisations than Broadway was before the Dragonfish purchase) now need to apply for their own licences (which would solve some of the compliance complexity)?
Another thing to look out for is what happens to player funds protection when the licence change happens; if it’s a simple transfer to Broadway the current level of medium protection will remain but if it’s anything else it may change.
After that, we can only speculate, but here’s just some of the things that could happen:
With so many bingo sites potentially affected, this could end up being a very big deal indeed for the world of online bingo and we’re really excited to see how it pans out.