Bingo networks are one of the most important aspects of the online bingo industry – in fact, there wouldn’t be an industry without them – and it’s here where a lot of the magic that you see on the outside happens. You see, the bingo sites don’t actually make the games that you see on the site.
Bingo websites contract in companies to use a list of games that they have already made. It’s a little bit like when you build a house; you can design it how you want, but then you get other companies in to come and build it. You pay them for their work and their skills and then once complete, they hand the keys to you. If anything goes wrong, then you get back in touch and they come and fix it.
Bingo Networks in a Nutshell
Pretty much all bingo sites will use a 3rd party network.
They can choose from a long list of different companies that we have listed below (the list is actually longer than this, but these are the main ones and cover most of the industry) and then from that they are able to use the software on their bingo site.
This may seem strange to those of you who are knew to the bingo industry, but it’s actually very common in all aspects of gambling. The exact same processes are used for casino, poker and even sports betting.
In fact, this is the main reason why you see so many bingo sites at the minute, and if there weren’t as many networks then the number of sites would almost definitely be less.
What Do the Networks Offer?
The main promise from the network is to offer the bingo room a catalogue of games. These are games that they have created in-house and then added to their overall offerings. They tend to keep them fairly fresh, adding games on a frequent basis and then removing games as soon as they become stale or out of date.
We’ve also spoken about how bingo sites are now able to link up with TV programs such as Emmerdale and Coronation Street, then create games that are based on these shows. Well, the bingo site will need someone to make these games for them, so they will approach the network to do this with them.
It’s worth noting that these exclusive games can’t be used as part of their overall catalogue, and other bingo sites can’t use them either. They are made entirely bespoke and the network will likely command a premium for this. For example, Virtue Fusion power Gala Bingo, which means that Gala are able to offer games like The Chase, Coronation Street, and Emmerdale. Virtue Fusion make these games for them, but they won’t offer them to other bingo sites that they also work for.
Are the Games the Same Across Different Sites?
Aside from the sponsored games and the ones that are made on commission, any games from one particular network will be the same across all bingo sites that use them. This can mean a good deal of repetition from one site to the next, but unfortunately that is the nature of the beast.
This is another reason why there are a good number of networks, which means that they can spread out and create variety across the industry.
Are the Games Linked?
We’ve spoken a number of times on site about games being linked from one bingo site to another, and this is done through the network. You tend to find the majority of these are jackpot games, where the jackpots that people are playing for aren’t always distributed by the site you are playing on but rather the network that owns the game.
For example, let’s say that you are playing at Gala Bingo and you are playing on one of their progressive jackpot games where a small percentage of each ticket is placed into a jackpot and the money grows from there.
You then decide to switch bingo sites to Mecca Bingo and again decide to play a similar game. You notice that the jackpot on Mecca is almost identical to that of the one on Gala; this is because they both use the same network (Virtue Fusion in this case) and the jackpot is shared. Your money is entering the jackpot that is actually hosted by Virtue Fusion, so players from both Mecca and Gala are playing for the exact same jackpot, just on different sites.
One thing to note is that you will be paid via the bingo site that you are on, regardless of the network that the jackpot is owned by. Also, not all games are network linked, in fact, the vast majority aren’t. The jackpot and progressive jackpot games will be linked, but the standard games will be run by the bingo site and will also be paid by them.
Do Networks Need a License?
Yes. Each network is seen as their own bingo room in the eyes of the UK Gambling Commission, and they are licensed in the exact same way.
The network will have to go through a similar process that the bingo site will in order to get their license. The main difference is that the UKGC will check each individual game for fairness before the network is offered their license. If a game fails for whatever reason, then the company must go back and fix it as the highest priority, or they must remove it from the catalogue of games that they offer. If they fail to do this, then they would have their gambling license revoked and they won’t legally be allowed to work in the UK.
Advantages of Using a Bingo Network
Of course, the bingo site does not have to use a network to power their games. For example, Kitty Bingo are one of the few bingo sites that have decided to make all of their games in-house in an attempt to offer a bit of diversity to the industry.
However, here are some advantages for companies looking to use bingo networks.
It’s the networks role to make sure that the games are safe and that they work in the way that they are advertised. We’ve spoken about the need for them to be licensed, and the grueling process of getting games approved by the UKGC is one that definitely aids player safety.
The games are going to be some of the most vigorously tested in the world and it only takes one bad egg to ruin a whole network. If you think about a brand like Virtue Fusion who are partnered with multiple bingo sites, then they aren’t going to let the short fallings of a single bingo game ruin a network that is worth millions of pounds.
If something is wrong, it’s in the networks best interest to get rid or repair the game to make sure it works in the correct manner.
Higher Quality of Games
Bingo games are actually quite tough to make, and the process from start to finish takes time and of course, money. If you think that the networks often have upwards of 100 people that are working for them to create their catalogue of games, it becomes obvious that this wouldn’t be viable for most bingo sites.
The network on the other hand only has one purpose, and this is to make great games. They aren’t having to split their time between sorting out customer complaints, marketing for their site or potential problems on site, instead they are just making the best games possible.
Splitting the workload like this means the standard of games is much higher than it might otherwise be. Also, we’ve seen a huge increase in quality over the last decade and the introduction of mobile bingo has meant that the games needed to adapt again. If these were all made in house by each bingo site, then we could be waiting another 10 years or more for the sites to catch up if they had to create these games themselves.
Familiar Games for Players
When someone is looking for a new bingo site, it’s not necessarily the games on offer that draw them in, but factors like better customer service or better bonuses certainly will. A lot of players actually like to jump about from different sites that are on the same network as it means that they are able to play the games that they enjoy, but with a slightly different layout or bonus to work through.
In fact, this is something that we advise a lot of people to do as new accounts are often more lucrative than existing accounts. By moving from a site that you like onto a new site with the same games in the same network, you’re going to be able to take advantage of new player bonuses and in turn, make more money long term.
We’ve spoken about games being linked in terms of the jackpots that are on offer, but actually a lot of these are linked socially as well. You see, the chat box that you are chatting in might not only include players from one bingo site, but players from multiple bingo sites all on the same network.
This means that there are often more people to chat to as a result and with community being such a big part of industry, it means that it’s often much more vibrant as a result.
However, the downside to this is that chat rooms can get very busy, especially at peak times and for the big jackpot games when messages can often get lost, so this can work both ways.
Integrated Bonuses & Loyalty Schemes
Many networks are able to offer their own bonuses and loyalty schemes. We include jackpot games into this as well, as they make up an important part of it all. Given that they are able to cover more people with this, they are often able to offer bigger rewards as a result.
Some networks even allow you to carry your loyalty status over to other sites that are in their network. So this means that if you were to want to move, you could carry your account over and keep your loyalty status providing that the bingo site was on the same network.
Disadvantages of Using Bingo Networks
As ever with these types of things, there are some aspects to networks that aren’t quite as beneficial as they could be:
The biggest and most obvious problem is that bingo sites can start to become pretty repetitive.
These are often when you get two sites that are on the same network and only include games from that one network. You are essentially just playing the same products on a slightly different looking brand.
Ideally, you’d want each to at least have a slightly different layout in terms of the games that are on offer, or even for someone to create a site that includes multiple bingo networks for a wider range of games.
Lack of Transparency
If you are new to online bingo, then you might be learning all of this for the first time. It’s highly possible that most players aren’t aware that the bingo sites don’t create their own games, for example.
It’s also something that is not all that well advertised on the bingo sites either. You can dig around on some sites and get a feel for what’s going on, but only if you know what you are looking for. A lot of sites have no mention of it whatsoever and then you’ve either got to be familiar with the games that they have on offer and link them back to the network, or be able to track down the network and then see if the bingo site is linked to them in any way.
We aren’t saying that the bingo sites are in the wrong here, because you could argue that players don’t really need to know as it makes no difference, but we would guess that most will be surprised as to how these sites are set up.
Lack of innovation
Another point to make is that the games are often very similar. It’s sometimes frustrating when we hear of new games that have been released by a network only to see that it came out on another network a few weeks prior.
This happens quite a lot!
As a result, most networks are offering a similar catalogue of games and it’s hard for any of them to really get creating or innovate. The ones that do are generally the ones that get the commission jobs for the branded games, such as The Chase, I’m a Celebrity, Coronation Street and so on.
These are likely networks that you want to keep an eye on if innovation is your thing.
Most Popular Bingo Networks
It’s easy for us to sit here and say that you need to sign up to a network because we like it, but the reality is that each player is going to be looking to play different games and so different networks will best satisfy their needs.
The good thing is that the networks are open about the games that they provide, and you can jump on their website to not only see what’s on offer but also the bingo rooms that they are linked up to. By doing it this way you’re going to be able to make a much more informed decision about which network is best going to suit you and the type of games that you want to play.
Below we have listed some of the bigger networks in the industry. You will see a short summary of each but click the link and we have full reviews that will highlight everything that’s good and bad about each, allowing you to choose the bingo room that is right for you!
Virtue Fusion is one of the biggest bingo networks in the industry right now. They were actually bought out by PlayTech (a huge casino game developer) and now run from within that company as part of their bingo section. Initially PlayTech were going to migrate the brand to run under their brand, but they were so impressed with the work they were doing that they pretty much just let them get on, with the added financial backing from the takeover of course.
The company have been able to create a really diverse range of games and are now regarded as one of the best. The switch in 2015 from flash-based games to that of HTML5 has improved the design no end and this has also allowed them to embrace mobile bingo as well.
Microgaming have one of the biggest casino networks in the world, and whilst their bingo network isn’t as big in comparison, they are still right up there as one of the best. Microgaming only use a limited number of brands for their bingo sector, so they feel much fresher in terms of their range of games than most others.
Dragonfish are another of the more popular networks, but it’s worth noting that the company is split in two in that they own other bingo sites and they also own their network. To make it a little more confusing, not all of the sites that the company own are on the Dragonfish network, and as a final twist in the tale it’s actually a company called Cassava that own all Dragonfish networks and bingo sites.
Whilst that may seem incredibly confusing (we break it all down in the article), the site are one of the very best for bingo games. They work with some big brands and have been able to create a realty exciting range of games over the last couple of years.
These guys are one of our favourites, and this is because they dared to try something different. They offer up a classic range of bingo games, but to go alongside them and to spice the industry up a little they created a software that allows customers to use their computers’ web cam and then interact face to face with other bingo players.
The network only runs on Bingocams, so it’s very unique, but you have to take your cap off to them for being able to not only try something different, but follow through and see great success from it.
Jumpman Gaming have a huge range of bingo sites that are powered by their network. They differ from most in that they are able to offer a white label solution, which means that not only do they serve up the games, but they take care of everything from the customer service, banking, addition/removal of games, and the everyday running of each site on their network. The only thing the client needs to do is add branding and then market them.
Jumpman has really sprung to life over the last few years, and given that they offer people an affordable route into becoming their own bingo site, they have been able to create a massive number of sites on their network.
Daub have seen a lot of bingo sites come and go in a short period of time. The company have worked in partnership with the likes of Kitty Bingo and Wink bingo at one point, but sales of both companies meant a split from Daub.
They are actually a really exciting brand right now and create a great range of bingo games on site. Its jam packed with features and the fact that the number of bingo sites that seem to be using them increases each year speaks volumes about where they are heading.
Cozy Games are in a similar boat to that of Jumpman Gaming, in that they aren’t just a bingo network but a white label solution as well. The company are actually owned by gambling giants GVC Holdings, who also own brands like Ladbrokes Coral and Bwin, to name just a few.
They have a huge number of sites taking advantage of their white label and their software. The link with GVC is massive for them as well, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see them challenge to be one of the biggest and best bingo networks in the not too distant future.