Having broken into the live casino sector only weeks before, Pragmatic Play became a truly “multi-product supplier” at ICE 2019 with the launch of yet another new vertical: Bingo. iGaming Times caught up with Claire McDaid, VP of the new division and previously Head of market-leading UK brand Foxy Bingo, who explained some of the inherent benefits of offering the soft gaming genre – and why Pragmatic Play’s version is a cut above the rest.
Pragmatic Play made its first entry into the bingo sector at ICE 2019, launching its easily-integrated and fully-customizable bingo-on-the-go product, fit for the modern market.
Heading up the new venture, Pragmatic Play’s new VP of Bingo, Claire McDaid, explains that the classic soft gaming genre has a lot to offer, but hasn’t been treated with the level of innovation it deserves – until now.
“I’ve been in the bingo industry for ten years, and I wasn’t seeing anything exciting coming out – just the same-old, same-old with a couple of tweaks,” McDaid explains. “From a supplier’s point of view, it felt a bit stale.”
With the market dominated by a couple of large companies, innovation in the sector has naturally been neglected, she adds. But this is precisely where Pragmatic Play can “break the mould” where others haven’t. “We’re big enough to have the resources but we’re small enough to remain agile. And this is the reason why, in contrast to our competitors, we can deliver products to our market much quicker.”
It’s a claim borne out by the figures. “In 2018 we signed more than 20 T1 operators,” she reminds. “That’s a massive achievement.”
Since McDaid joined in November she’s been working with the design team to ensure Pragmatic’s bingo product genuinely shakes up the competition, by giving primacy to a “really simple and clean UI experience for the player.”
“For me, I needed to make sure that the product was able to compete – not just fill the gaps,” she adds. “Bingo has a tendency to look a bit dated in its UI, and we needed to bring it up to Pragmatic’s standards.”
“What you can really see in people’s faces and in the feedback that we’ve got from them is that the lobby is such a simple layout for the player. It looks new.”
Coming from an operator back- ground, McDaid also knows the “bug- bears” that operators have when working with suppliers. Beyond a modern UI, she says, being able to differentiate and lead with their own brand is paramount.
“The way we arranged our product is completely customisable, so an operator is not forced to take something that looks and feels like every other operator on the scene. Right down to CTA buttons and icons.”
A third major selling point is the simplicity of integrating bingo into a site. “In the past year you had to take a platform, and get locked into a back- end. With Pragmatic, anyone is getting our slot games directly, so there’s no development work needed anymore, you can simply switch bingo on.” Dispelling any doubts about the genre, McDaid assures there is plenty of demand for bingo in itself – but it also comes with many ancillary benefits that are often overlooked.
Not only does Bingo allow operators to advertise on UK TV in the day- time, but bingo players are far cheaper to acquire – and can then easily be cross sold into slots where most of the revenues are likely to be made.
“It’s stigmatised as an older female demographic, but there’s a younger demographic coming on board as well,” she adds. “A player that plays more than one product is without a doubt more valuable.”
For Pragmatic Play the initial focus is on the UK “because it’s such a mature market and that’s where the demand is,” but is already in talks with Scandinavian clients, and some much further afield.
“We’re also speaking to a lot of Latam-based clients. Everyone talks of Brazil as a sleeping giant – we’ve known that bingo is a popular game there – and in Mexico there’s an appetite for it as well.”
“So it’s exciting to be able to branch out. There’s so much opportunity out there. We’re multijurisdiction in slots, so we want to be multijurisdiction in bingo as well.”