Dragonfish are undoubtedly one of the biggest bingo networks in the industry right now. They’ve grown bigger than most would have ever predicted when they entered the market in 2007, but this is a testament to the product that they offer, with over 140 bingo sites being powered by their network.
The company are now owned by that of 888 Holdings, who are the brand behind the like of 888 Sport, 888 Casino, and 888 Poker, all hugely successful brands in their respected fields.
The work that’s gone on across the whole business over the last few years has been impressive to say the least, with the bingo industry becoming one of the companies most lucrative marketplaces.
Dragonfish v 888 Holdings v Cassava
There’s a lot of confusion in the bingo industry about the link between these three companies. You’ll often read or hear about one or the other, and whilst they aren’t always directly connected, a lot of what one company does will work through another in some way.
The best place to start is with 888 Holdings. This is the parent business group that basically owns the other two – so Dragonfish and Cassava answer to 888, essentially. 888 have their own bingo sites that run on the Dragonfish network, but these are managed and run by 888 and not Dragonfish.
Dragonfish is a business that was acquired by 888 and became part of their group. The company was bought and set up specifically to act as a network within the 888 Holdings group. It’s Dragonfish’s role to make sure this network ticks over, which includes things like designing new games and creating new designs or layouts for companies who want to join the network to use.
Cassava works under the 888 Holdings branch as well. They actually have a number of roles within the group, but for the purpose of Dragonfish and bingo, they work as part of the payment processing for 888 Holdings bingo sites, and for Dragonfish.
They operate as their own company though and are individually fully licensed by the UK Gambling Commission and eCOGRA to offer companies from all over the world a safe solution to promote their brand with. They also run the operations for 888 Holdings bingo sites, such as Wink Bingo and 888 Ladies Bingo. Even though they run these sites, they do not own these sites.
Just to make things a little more confusing, Cassava is technically the company that owns Dragonfish, but obviously Cassava is then owned by 888 Holdings. Cassava do have a number of bingo sites that they own outright, and they run these on the Dragonfish network.
However, it’s worth noting that even though some sites that are on the Dragonfish network are owned by Cassava (or technically 888 Holdings), not all sites that are owned on the network (as opposed to being white lables) are owned by Cassava.
Got it? Good.
This may seem really confusing, but it’s actually a very common set up for a lot of gambling sites. If you dig a little deeper, not all sites are owned outright by the brand that you see in front of you. The same thing happens in just about all aspects of business to be honest; lots of businesses get acquired by larger companies and are then allowed to run independently. Just to give you a very quick example of this, Ladbrokes Coral are now technically the same company after they merged, but they both operate under their individual brands and are actually owned by GVC Holdings.
Dragonfish are able to offer a series of white label solutions, and they are actually one of the better value packages in the industry. They have over 140 partner brands right now and whilst not all are full white label, it does give you an idea of how widespread the use of their product is, and it also outlines just how good their packages are too.
What’s great about Dragonfish is that they are able to offer up a number of different skins that the bingo sites can use in order to keep them looking a little different from each other. This is something that sounds really obvious but in fact it’s quite rare, and to be honest even Dragonfish have their limits here. This is why you can often tell which network a bingo site is on immediately when you land on the homepage, as it looks so similar to other sites on the same network.
Unfortunately, we’ve been unable to get a quote from Dragonfish about costings for their white label programmes, but given the number of sites they run, you have to assume it’s very competitive. For those that don’t know, it’s pretty common for white labels to take around 30% of the revenue that each brand makes, as well as an upfront fee to use their software. When you’ve got over 140 sites on board you can imagine how the money would really start to add up.
Cassava play a big role in this as well, as they are able to offer up the licensing and cover the payment processing. Again, we aren’t sure how hands on they are with each brand or if they just let Dragonfish do their thing, but as a package it’s pretty formidable given the history and the brand (888 Holdings) that is behind it all.
Network and Software
A key point to make with Dragonfish is that they offer both network and software deals. The first thing to understand about this is that the network links all players from the different sites that use it together. So, you might be playing the exact same game on Bingo Site A as your friend who is playing on Bingo Site B, you could even communicate in the chat room.
The network works great for things like jackpot games as the number of players that take part is greater and so the jackpots rise faster as a result. The sites that are on the same network are all locked in and they will likely look quite similar. Things that will differ include branding and bonuses, but pretty much everything else will be the same.
When a company uses Dragonfish software, they get much more control over what they can and can’t change. Everything from games, bonuses, promotions, jackpots, and design can all be changed. In fact, they will even be allowed to link other software providers into the same bingo room to create variety, which some people do.
What they don’t get included in the package are things like customer service and banking, which they will need to take care themselves. As a result, they will also need to get their own license. Some bingo sites that go down this route include big brands such as Foxy Bingo, Cheeky Bingo, Costa Bingo and Sing Bingo, who are all some of the better brands in the industry.
One thing that we wanted to add in from a player’s point of view as a word of warning is that the Dragonfish network have been known to be pretty tight on the number of bonuses that people are able to claim across the network.
If you do get banned for bonus abuse or even too much or too little play, then as the network is so big, you might be banned from a wide range of other bingo sites on the same network as well. It’s not a massive issue as there are plenty more to choose from, but it’s definitely worth noting as people aren’t always aware that these things are so closely linked together.
As we have stated multiple times already, there are a lot of sites to choose from. The 140+ sites that work with both Dragonfish’s network and their software departments makes up a really impressive accumulation of bingo sites, and whilst some might argue that they are too similar, there are few that can rival the sheer volume of sites that Dragonfish provide.
888 has to be the standout title on the network and this one of the most successful bingo sites online full stop. Given that they are part of the group that own Dragonfish, they are more unique than most, but the principle of what the company offer is definitely still at the heart of the site.
Other notable brands on board the Dragonfish network include Foxy Bingo, Wink Bingo, Glitter Bingo, Lucky Charm Bingo, Robin Hood Bingo, Costa Bingo, Moon bingo, Iceland Bingo and Bingo Hollywood, to name just a few.
We’ve hyped up Dragonfish throughout this review, but the reality is that they don’t have a huge number of games to choose from. In fact, they’ve just got 90-ball and 75-ball games, albeit with variants, across the whole network, which is kind of low.
What they have going for them is that they are able to apply a lot of different themes to these games and this really does set them apart from the rest. It makes them feel fresh, and whilst they aren’t the most innovative they all look really good and we think that this is the reason why so many brands want to use them.
The games also come with a huge number of chat hosts. In fact, there are over 300 that work for Dragonfish, so it’s likely that you’re going to have one in the game that you are playing. For us, the chat host keeps everything moving and feeling fun, as well as encouraging interaction on the site. They also run things like quizzes and competitions in the chat box between games where you can win free tickets which is really cool.
The games have now all made the transition across to HTML5 too, which means that they can also be played on mobile as well as on desktops/laptops. They look really good and you can even integrate the side games pretty well on mobile too, which isn’t always that easy, especially if playing on handsets that are a getting old and have smaller screen sizes.
Jackpots would probably be one of the main reasons for us to recommend someone to use the Dragonfish network. The size alone makes it worthwhile. The fact they’ve over 140 sites means that there is a huge database of players that are putting money into progressive jackpots.
In fact, there is over £1 million in jackpots won per day overall on the Dragonfish network, which makes it the biggest of its kind. The high turnover of players keeps this number high and the huge number of progressive jackpot games means that one could drop at any time.
The ‘regular’ jackpot games are also really impressive. It’s not uncommon for some of the more popular games to have jackpots upwards of £10,000 running throughout the day. But what’s even better here is that the jackpot trigger is just 35 dabs for some games, which is a lot lower than the industry standard of 31 that most bingo networks adopt. This means they are won much more often, and although this limits the amount of time that they have to grow, the sheer volume of people playing offsets this, so the numbers are as high as you will find and they pay out more often than most.
The side games on offer on Dragonfish’s network are based on their link with 888 and their casino room. You will get around 200 side games to choose from in total, but it’s worth noting that not all these games can be played within the bingo rooms, so you will have to leave your bingo game to play some of them just as you would in a regular online casino. It’s a minor point really, but it’s worth knowing.
The games are mainly made up of slots and scratchcards, but they do offer a fairly good range of table games as well. Blackjack is the most common type, but roulette and others can be accessed with some sites.
In a very rare move, they also include live dealer games which gives them extra brownie points. There isn’t a huge range but they work really well, and you can use a separate chat box within the regular bingo chat box to communicate with other live casino players – another fab addition.
Dragonfish have exploded onto the scene since their partnership with 888 and are now as a big a bingo network as you will find. We won’t go out on a limb and say they are the very best (that’s subjective anyway) but they aren’t all that far away.
The only real downside to using a network like Dragonfish is the sheer volume of bingo sites that use them. This means that there are lots of carbon copies out there and it can feel like groundhog day if you play on several sites on the same network.
Overall though, they are one of the biggest for a reason. Their range of games is solid and the packages that they are able to offer bingo brands is clearly popular and affordable or there wouldn’t be so many brands signing up.