Networks - Online Bingo
Networks are an essential part of the online bingo world, they enable a range of people to come together and pool resources. Like link games in the bricks and mortar bingo world, this means prize money can quickly mount up to nice sums when players network.
They also make it possible for new online bingo ventures to flourish, as new sites join existing pools of players. If you're playing bingo online, it's a good idea to learn more about bingo networks, as the chances are, you're already in one.
It's surprising, given the importance of bingo networks that a lot of people playing bingo online don't realise that they are actually taking part in one, why they exist or how it affects them. So, to help you, here's a brief look at some of the ideas and issues behind networks and their relationship to your favourite game.
Find out which bingo sites belong to which network on our network listing page or carry on reading for more background on bingo networks.
What Is An Online Bingo Network?
Simply put, a network is group of bingo sites which pool their players and prize money using services provided by a central location. Let's say site A has 5 players in a game, site B has 10 players and site C has 30 players. Now, if each was a stand-alone bingo provider, each would work its prize money off the total players at the site. So site A would have prize money based on 5 players, site B prize money of 10 players and so on.
Now, if each individual site is part of a network, then for each game they play, the prize money would be based on the sum of players in the network. So in this case, players at site A, B and C would be playing for one prize, based on 45 players' contributions. Each has a chance of winning it, and as there are many more players contributing the prize money is proportionally larger.
In fact, players at site A don't need to know they are playing with players at site C as they all enter the games via their home sites. Most don't realise they are actually going through to the branded version of the game supplied by a central provider - in this case one of the big bingo networks. Everything down to the chat and banking is provided centrally by the bingo network.
This has benefits for everyone. New sites can start off by tapping into an existing pool of players, networks can entice new bingo sites to set up via their 'white label' services and players benefit by playing for larger pots.
The Big Networks And White Label Solutions
Whilst there are now well over 200 online bingo sites offering the UK version of the game online, they are actually in the main powered by a number of big bingo networks and a couple of smaller ones. There are a couple of larger sites that don't rely on networks and offer stand-alone prizes, but they are the exception rather than the rule.
Big networks include the likes of the Cashcade Network, The Better Bingo Network, Globalcom / Dragonfish Network, St Minver, The Gaming Network and Virtue Fusion.
As a good example of a white label bingo solution supplied by a bingo network, Yahoo bingo provides the perfect case study. They are currently a part of the St Minver network and use its white label solution.
At its very simplest, a white label solution is an off-the-shelf, ready to run bingo site and business. In Yahoo's case, they didn't actually have to set up a whole new bingo offering - they teamed up with St Minver and branded their own version of the standard St Minver white label site.
If you compare the Yahoo bingo site to another in the St Minver network who also took the white label solution, in this case my local Castle Bingo, you'll see a similarity in both their layout and sections. This is because both are branded versions of the off-the-shelf white label solution provided by St Minver.
The same is apparent across the other white label providers - Dragonfish Network sites are also in the main re-branded versions of the off-the-shelf version of the site supplied by the network: right down to the folder layout and file names, it's all part of a template system replicated across a whole raft of separately themed sites.
Networks And Software
It's worth mentioning as well, that many of the networks are attached to a specific brand of software. Virtue Fusion and GlobalCom / Dragonfish Network have their own bingo software that sites in its network use. Others like Better Bingo Network partner with third parties to provide the software, such as Virtue Fusion. Each software is unique, some are better than others, but quite often, the first sign of the network you're signing up to is the software in use.
Are Networks Good Or Bad?
There's nothing inherently wrong with sites being in a network - when it's done properly it can be seamless. The St Minver network is a prime example. Each club within the network feels unique, and its players probably don't even realise they are consorting with players at other sites.
For new sites, it provides a quick way of getting a bingo business up and running, and is a big part of why there are so many bingo sites online today. Unfortunately, it has also helped to a lot of people and companies with no real expertise or experience in bingo to set up sites, more because they think there's money in it than because they're able to offer something unique in the marketplace.
There are times when networks can be badly implemented. In my experience, GlobalCom's software has a habit of asking to set cookies and requesting http information from different domains to the one you signed in on. It can be a little worrying if you're not aware of what's happening behind the scenes.
There can also be issues with logins: travelling around clubs with my reviews, it's always a pain to have to pick up a new username when it tells me my last one was already registered at the site, even though I've never been there before. I know why, it's because the network site is pulling its information from the central provider, where I'm already registered at another site.
Overall, I think they are mainly a good thing in the sense that they provide a central location and point of contact for bingo players. However, they do also add to a dilution of the space with endless copies of the same basic site under similar templates. They have enabled a lot of sites that have little to differentiate them other than their name to pollute the marketplace.
The big high street brands in the UK already have the userbase to ensure they can stand alone in the online bingo market place. Some smaller chains that couldn't take that step yet also have the chance to offer an online bingo presence thanks to the cost effective solutions on offer from the networks.
Some of the networks have some work to do and could benefit from limiting their portfolio to more committed suppliers, but on the whole, the networks provide a strong backbone to the world of the online bingo market, and if you're now wondering if the site you play at is part of a network, take a look at our list of bingo sites to see which network they belong to.
Popular Bingo Network Providers
|Networked sites include: Lights Camera Bingo & Showreel Bingo.
More details on: 15 Network.
|Networked sites include: Bingo Hour & Riva Bingo.
More details on: Beast Gaming Network.
|Networked sites include: Bingo Hero, BingoG & Gone Bingo.
More details on: Best Bingo Network.
|Networked sites include: Crown Bingo, Bingolore & Lots Of Bingo.
More details on: The Better Bingo Network.
|Networked sites include: ITV Bingo, Mirror Bingo & Closer Bingo.
More details on: Cashcade Bingo Network.
|Networked sites include: Bingo Anywhere & Landmark Bingo.
More details on: Chelbis Bingo Network.
|Networked sites include: ABC Bingo, Brits Bingo & 888 Bingo.
More details on: Dragonfish Bingo Network.
|Networked sites include: Bingo 9, Naughty Bingo & Zoom Bingo.
More details on: Excess Bingo Network.
|Networked sites include: Budget Bingo, Congo Bingo & Epic Bingo.
More details on: Fun Bingo Network.
|Networked sites include: Utopia Bingo, Hats Off Bingo & Piggy Bingo.
More details on: Functional Games Network.
|Networked sites include: Bingo Joy, Butlins Bingo & Yahoo Bingo
More details on: G2 Gtech Bingo Network.
|Networked sites include: Caesars Bingo, Heart Bingo & Sun Bingo.
More details on: Gamesys Bingo Network.
|Networked sites include: Bingo Giving, Diva Bingo and Gossip Bingo.
More details on: Gossip Bingo Network.
|Networked sites include: Posh Bingo, Tasty Bingo & Wink Bingo.
More details on: Joy Of Bingo Network.
|Networked sites include: Bingo Cafe & Bingo Liner.
More details on: Leapfrog Network.
|Networked sites include: Bingo Bytes & Landmark Bingo.
More details on: Live Bingo Network.
|Networked sites include: 32Red Bingo & Bingo On The Box.
More details on: Microgaming Network.
|Networked sites include: Bingo.Com & Maria Bingo.
More details on: Parabol Network.
|Stand-alone sites include: Moon Bingo, Tombola & Big Brother Bingo.
More details on: Stand-alone Sites.
|Networked sites include: Big Heart Bingo, Busy Bingo & Harry’s Bingo.
More details on: Super Bingo Network.
|Networked sites include: Astro Bingo, Bingo Mania & Bingonanza.
More details on: The Gaming Network/ TGN Bingo Network.
|Networked sites include: Bet365 Bingo, Crown Bingo & Mecca Bingo.
More details on: Virtue Fusion Bingo Network.
|Networked sites include: Bingo Boat, Bingo Flame & Priceless Bingo.
More details on: Winners Bingo Network.