A while back we reported that Wonder Bingo’s online site had ceased being a stand-alone, and chosen to network as part of TGN – The Gaming Network. It seems this move was not enough to save Wonder Bingo, as the site has now closed its doors following the closure of its Facebook app back in March 2011. Visitors to the site are now being greeted with a big closed sign and told they are being moved over to the Bingo Palace website.
Wonder Bingo were interesting because they bought most of their traffic from the very popular Facebook app, which was free to play. The online site tried to recreate some of this Facebook style interaction with various special features such as buddy lists. At the time their Facebook game was most popular, they had around half a million players signed up. You’d think with those sort of figures they’d have a very good chance of turning their pay to pay site into a winner. However it would seem this is not the case, and as I’ve always thought, proof positive that free bingo will rarely make a big inroad into providing reliable traffic to pay to play bingo.
We’ve seen a similar thing over the last couple of years in the free online bingo world. Whilst initially sites like Cheeky Bingo were hailed as an innovation, it quickly became clear that free bingo was not the great draw for paying players that it was hoped it would be. Whilst the free rooms found themselves with a massive audience, the vast majority of those free players were just that and have never made a big transition to the pay to play rooms. Whilst you’ll see free rooms with thousands of players in, a quick trip over to the pay to play rooms will see players there in far fewer numbers, with 30 in a room being a fairly typical number.
There has been a lot of talk about the threat Facebook poses to the world of online bingo, with the likes of Zynga and other Facebook games providers being held up as the shining new wave of online bingo. Whilst these games provide players the opportunity to spend money on things like power ups, they don’t currently give players the chance of actually winning any money. And herein lies their downfall, in that sense they are not actually proper bingo games just glorified arcade games. For my money I think that this attracts a different market to your typical bingo player.
Changes in regulations could allow the likes of Facebook to offer proper pay to play games in jurisdictions where online gaming is legal like the UK. However for this to be a success they need to offer players the same sort of games prizes and attractions that dedicated standalone bingo sites are already doing to great effect. At the moment there’s no real sign of this happening yet.
Wonder Bingo might just have been ahead of its time, but with their closure they’ve taken one big step backwards. Members of Wonder Bingo have had their accounts migrated to Bingo Palace, which despite its long history has never troubled the more popular brands in the world of online bingo. Anyone visiting the site now is given the message that the site is closed and that they can login to Bingo Palace using their existing user account details. Whilst this might be good for the bingo provider Parley, whom power Bingo Palace, players might care to check out other bingo offerings as what’s on offer are Parley these days is far from the best out there.