For the latest in our occasional series of Q&A sessions with operators, we caught up with Clément Le Scanff, Head of Poker and Bingo at bet365.
Q: Nice to meet you, Clément! Please tell us a bit about yourself and your role at bet365.
A: I’ve been working in gaming for around 11 years, starting out as a news writer for a Poker community site. From the affiliate world, I moved to the provider side of things at Playtech, and finally joined the operator world at bet365 in 2018, taking the lead on Poker first and then Bingo. Bingo is such an interesting product in the gaming environment as it has a community aspect that you can’t find elsewhere, and it creates a strong social link. At bet365 we believe that online Bingo will be around for a long time and we’ve been working hard in the last year to grow our product.
Q: At Bet365 bingo you’ve recently migrated from the Virtue Fusion platform to the Pragmatic Play platform. What advantages does the new platform have for players, and how have they reacted to the move?
A: Indeed, we moved to the Pragmatic Play platform at the end of October. It is a big change for us, but also for our players, and we gave them as much notice as possible. Pragmatic Play brings a modern and refreshing software, agility for change and lots of opportunities for the future. Pragmatic network does not yet offer the same liquidity as Virtue Fusion, meaning that our players will see their probability of winning in network rooms increase. This, coupled with lower ticket pricing on the network, makes our site a good value proposition for our community of players. We have also endeavoured to maintain value in our exclusive bet365 rooms by keeping the maximum spend in most games to under £2. And with the move to Pragmatic, we have completely done away with bonus funds – so absolutely no wagering requirements anywhere on our Bingo site!
Such a change is understandably challenging for our players, but after few weeks, most reactions have been positive, and players’ feedback directly from the chat helped us to make the relevant small change to ensure the best player experience.
Q: Many Pragmatic Play bingo sites have no chat, whereas at bet365 you’ve long been known for the quality of your chat hosting. Were players able to keep their chat names during the transition or have they needed to create fresh ones? How have chat hosts been able to assist? And do you think that chat will continue to be important despite so many players now playing on mobile phones and other small screened devices?
A: Our Chat Team is a key part of the changeover, they have been our ‘front liners’ if you will. Our Chat Manager and all the moderators have been on hand at all times to answer any questions and help our players navigate through the new site. They have been really dedicated to supporting our players, and I take this opportunity to thank them all for their recent commitment and hard work. We believe that having a good community spirit is the core of Bingo at bet365, and the interaction between hosts and players is a huge part of maintaining that community. Our players were very happy to see we had not outsourced our Chat Team and even happier to learn that chat game winnings are now being credited as cash. Maintaining a good experience of chat on mobile and small screen devices is challenging, but we know this is of paramount importance for a bingo community, therefore we’ll keep working on improvements in this area.
Q: It’s been reported on industry websites that there’s a new Pragmatic Play bingo game on the way called Diamond Dazzle. When can we expect it to go live and is it going to be exclusive to bet365?
A: Diamond Dazzle is an exciting game developed by Pragmatic Play, and it will be released soon! It will be available across the whole network – which means bigger prizes. It will feature a much loved end game feature, which we’re thrilled to share with our players.
Q: Were there any slot or instant win games that players liked but had to be removed as a result of the software change? If so, what are you putting in their place?
A: We prefer to view the positives of what we’ve brought to the table, rather than dwelling on what we’ve had to remove. Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to some classic Virtue Fusion games such as Bouncy Balls and Rainbow Riches, but we are delighted to deliver Eyecon games to our exclusive portfolio of content. This means our customers will still be able to play the much loved Fluffy Favourites selection of slots, in addition to other Eyecon classics, such as Shaman’s Dream and Temple of Iris.
The migration to Pragmatic Play has also allowed us access to an incredible portfolio of slots, all with fresh, exciting graphics and features. Pragmatic’s big hitters, Big Bass Bonanza, Sweet Bonanza and Gate of Olympus, have all proved to be incredibly popular already. The change of software provider will allow us to release new and modern games on a much more regular basis, allowing bet365 players a larger choice of slots and mini-games.
Q: Currently you don’t have a bingo acquisition offer as such, but instead are running the “Mega Makeover” promotion which rewards new and existing players with free bingo tickets to big prize games when they play in the new rooms. Do you plan to run a welcome offer after that, and if so do you expect it to be another free tickets offer rather than a conventional bingo bonus offer?
A: Our focus around the migration was always aimed at providing a better Bingo experience for our existing community, many of whom are loyal bet365 customers, and we were determined to ensure they still felt at home on our platform, that’s why we rolled out the biggest ever bet365 Bingo promotion. And yes, absolutely, we are working on bringing a welcome offer soon. As we are now a wager free site, we will no longer offer conventional bingo bonuses with wagering requirements. Any offers we
make on site will be fulfilled by cash, and any winnings from free tickets or free spins will be credited directly to the players withdrawable cash balance.
Q: Looking ahead to Christmas, do you have any exciting promotions planned for the festive period?
A: Yes, we have a £20,000 Christmas Cash Draw and a 100,000 Free Spins Draw, as well as increasing our popular Cashback promotion to 5% for the month of December – all of which are exclusive bet365 promotions. There will also be a £23,000 New Years Eve game running on the Network.
We have ambitions for Bingo at bet365, and we believe Pragmatic Play is the best partner to bring Bingo to the next level, with more and better features, new markets and most importantly, the best player experience.
Thank you Clément – lots to look forward to at bet365 bingo then, and it’s great to see an operator so committed to maintaining a strong community and keeping players happy!
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