The bingo sector has faced many of the same challenges that other verticals have in recent years, with the shift to mobile being the major trend as players look to game on-the-go, and at times that fit into their increasingly busy lives.
However, unlike other verticals, it has been dominated by the adaptation of bingo products to the smaller screen, and little innovation from there on. There is enormous scope in bingo to deliver an engaging, socially-led product that can win back the market share lost to other gaming sectors.
Its foundation is secure in some territories, such as the UK where it continues on a solid trajectory with an in-situ customer base coming from land-based and desktop channels. Online bingo generated 12- month GGY of £162m to March 2017, growing eight percent YoY, according the Gambling Commission, so it remains a significant vertical.
These figures only tell part of the story, however, because an innovative and engaging bingo product will also facilitate a major boost to cross-sell, particularly into casino where operators face challenges associated with rising CPAs.
There is also an opportunity to introduce a social element to improve engagement via community features which translate into increased sessions and frequency of play.
iGAMING TIMES: Why bingo, and why now?
CHRISTOPHER DEAN: Yggdrasil has the right tools in place to deliver a brand new and improved bingo product which can act as a gateway to online casino. We have carefully analysed the bingo market and identified a major opportunity to innovate in the space. Utilising our collection of in- game promotional tools, BOOST, and the mini-slots which will be incorporated into bingo, will help us target the estimated 50 percent of bingo players who also regularly play slots.
This is significant because the power of these tools, combined with the quality of our slots, give us a major advantage on cross-selling that will help drive revenues.
The time is right as we see the bingo increasingly losing market share in territories which are experiencing rapid growth in other verticals. Yggdrasil’s expertise in casino and gaming can reverse this trend and reach the thousands of potential gamers out there who’ve become apathetic to a game that’s seen little innovation in recent years.
iGT: How has the bingo sector been underserved in your view?
CD: Bingo has failed to address the community aspects that other casino games have, whether directly in game or by utilising layered supplier tools around them. Bingo players enjoy the chat amongst one another, but this is being lost as people have their heads down in a mobile device. Current mobile products don’t address this requirement of a successful bingo game, and we believe more resource needs to be invested in the area to provide passionate bingo fans the experience they desire.
iGT: What potential does it hold to capture a different kind of player – and how important is that to operators in this day and age?
CD: Bingo appeals to a disproportionate number of female players with a propensity to filter through to other verticals via the bingo entry point. We’ve also found that the typical CPA for a bingo user is lower than that of casino, and this presents a significant opportunity to bring down acquisition costs.
Attracting these customers not only delivers a diversified base, capable of securing stable future revenues, but they can be reached in ways that casino players may not be. In the UK for example, casino gaming advertisements are banned before the 9pm watershed, whereas bingo is still permitted, in part due to its more positive and social image, which can have further benefits for brand awareness down the line.
iGT: What innovations can Yggdrasil bring to the genre?
CD: Yggdrasil’s bingo development will be mobile-first. This is the future of the sector and we will ensure the product is primed for it. Smaller screens can offer the same immersive experience as larger ones, providing its prioritised in a creative development process.
Our bingo product will have the Yggdrasil feel to its core, working in tandem with the BOOST in-game promotional tools which have proved so popular in casino, and incorporating our leading mini-slots. The quality of our slots and superior BOOST tools will allow operators to maximise the cross-sell value from bingo to slots and games. For instance, Free Spins is one way we will be able to build mechanics that directly encourage cross-sell to slots through bingo games.
Operators won’t be reluctant to put full versions of our mini games into their casino, as the fit is good which will accentuate the cross-sell potential further to other verticals, unlike mini-games provided by several ‘bingo first’ suppliers which are often of low quality and thematically do not fit into a casino.
We will also refocus on the social and chat elements of bingo that have been lost in current products, reinvigorating the fun, enjoyable aspect of bingo which will lengthen player sessions and better engage players.