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July 2021 £250k Escalator Jackpots - IT'S WAR!

Sue Dawson

The extemely popular recurrent Virtue Fusion escalator jackpots promotion is back for July 2021, with a minimum £250,000 in community jackpots to be won over 4 evenings.  This time round, though, it’s extra spicy as there is a RIVAL £250K escalator jackpots promotion going on over the same period!

  1. What’s an escalator jackpot?
  2. £250K to be won at Virtue Fusion – how it works
  3. £250K to be won at Entain – how it works
  4. Where to play

What’s an escalator jackpot?

Many bingo rooms have progressive jackpots that pay out when someone wins bingo within a specified number of calls; a small percentage of the ticket money from each game is added to the jackpot so it gets slowly bigger and bigger until it eventually drops, at which point it is re-seeded at a starting value, again funded by ticket sales.

The ball count (the number of calls within which the game has to be won for the jackpot to drop) is typically set at something extremely unlikely.  For example, in the Virtue Fusion Deal Or No Deal 90 room the ball count is 34.  If you buy one ticket to a game of 90 ball bingo, your chance of completing full house in 34 calls is just 1 in 24.6 million. So even with the thousands of tickets that can be in play at busy times in this room, the chance of the jackpot dropping in any given game is very low indeed and without intervention, it might not drop for literally years.

An escalator jackpot promotion is a way of getting the jackpot to drop in a specified time frame.  The ball count is gradually increased until the jackpot is won, after which the jackpot is re-seeded and the ball count returns to its normal level.  It’s good for players as it makes play mch more exciting while it is going on, and of course someone wins a huge prize.  And it’s good for the operator as it encourages lots of players to pile into the bingo room where the escalator is running and buy lots of tickets.

£250K to be won at Virtue Fusion – how it works

The Virtue Fusion escalators run on Friday and Saturday evenings; at 6pm the jackpot is increased to the minimum in the table (if it’s not already larger) and the number of balls in which bingo has to be called for the jackpot to drop starts to go up.  If the jackpot hasn’t dropped by 23.45 the ball count goes straight to 90 ensuring that it drops in the next game.  Half of the jackpot goes to the full house winner and the other half goes to everyone with tickets in that game, split proportionately according to the number of tickets they bought.

Date Bingo Room Ball Count Minimum Jackpot
23rd July DOND 90 Normally 34, starts at 36 at 6pm, goes up by 2 per hour £50,000
24th July Network 90 Normally 33, starts at 35 at 6pm, goes up by 2 per hour £50,000
30th July Network 90 Normally 33, starts at 35 at 6pm, goes up by 2 per hour £50,000
31st July DOND 90 Normally 34, starts at 36 at 6pm, goes up by 2 per hour £100,000

The sheer number of players across the Virtue Fusion network means that it’s very rare for the jackpot to survive until the last game; it almost always drops some time earlier in the evening and this time round that’s even more likely due to the sheer size of the jackpots which will undoubtedly attract even more players.

£250K to be won at Entain – how it works

On 22nd July 2021, Gala Bingo changed bingo software from Virtue Fusion to Entain’s proprietary bingo platform but as the names of most of the bingo rooms haven’t changed and some of the special games including Bingo Beats and Deal Or No Deal Bingo have been recreated on the Entain software, the true nature of the change may not be immediately obvious to players.

The very next day, “£250 Escalator Bingo” was being advertised on the promotions page, almost as if they wanted to preserve the illusion of still being on Virtue Fusion.  A close reading of the terms and conditions reveals that this is in fact a different promotion to the Virtue Fusion one, running over 9 evenings not 4 and also running at other Entain sites including Coral Bingo and Ladbrokes Bingo.

Just like the Virtue Fusion promotion, the jackpot is a 50/50 split between the full house winner of the game in which it drops and all tickets in the game.  The Entain promotion is slower moving though, firstly because the first increase takes place at 7pm rather than 6pm and secondly (most probably) because the numbers of players at Entain are smaller meaning that bingo in every game is likely to take longer than at Virtue Fusion (but see below).  Another important difference is the time of the game in which the jackpot is guaranteed to drop if it hasn’t done so earlier in the evening; according to the promo page at Gala it’s 23.57.

Date Bingo Room Ball Count Minimum Jackpot
23rd July DOND 90 33 at 6pm, goes up by 2 per hour from 7pm £25,000
24th July Castle 33 at 6pm, goes up by 2 per hour from 7pm £25,000
25th July DOND 90 33 at 6pm, goes up by 2 per hour from 7pm £25,000
26th July Castle 33 at 6pm, goes up by 2 per hour from 7pm £25,000
27th July DOND 90 33 at 6pm, goes up by 2 per hour from 7pm £25,000
28th July Castle 33 at 6pm, goes up by 2 per hour from 7pm £25,000
29th July DOND 90 33 at 6pm, goes up by 2 per hour from 7pm £25,000
30th July Castle 33 at 6pm, goes up by 2 per hour from 7pm £25,000
31st July DOND 90 33 at 6pm, goes up by 2 per hour from 7pm £50,000

So WHY have Entain decided to run a promotion that looks so much like the Virtue Fusion one, at exactly the same time?  It could be either or both of these reasons:

  1. To reassure Gala players that they aren’t missing out after the software move
  2. To get lots of Entain players to use the new Deal Or No Deal 90 bingo room to make it a serious rival to the Virtue Fusion version
Gala Prebuy Screen
Where’s the jackpot, Gala?

Less than 6 hours before the promotion was due to start, though, there was still NO progressive jackpot in the DOND 90 room and it wasn’t visible on the pre-buy either.  The whole thing has clearly had to be rushed so the promotion could start on the same day as the Virtue Fusion promotion – let’s hope the jackpot actually gets added in time!

Equally, it could be that Virtue Fusion decided to run an escalator jackpot promotion at this time precisely BECAUSE of Gala leaving and Entain launching their own version of Deal Or No Deal Bingo – to encourage players to stick with the Virtue Fusion version.

Either way, with £500K of jackpots up for grabs in the course of the two promotions, the next 10 days represent a bonanza for players!

Where To Play

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