Tombola Sold To Flutter

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News today that the UK’s biggest and best bingo site has been sold. Flutter, the parent company that owns Paddy Power Gaming, has bought the Sunderland based online bingo operator for £402m – read more here. The site’s founder Phil Cronin will be leaving the company when the sale completes, after a life-long career in the bingo industry. Phil started Tombola in 1999 printing actual bingo tickets prior to launching the site back in 2006, having worked in the bingo industry for his father’s company prior to that.

With his expert and insightful knowledge of the retail bingo industry, and more importantly, what players wanted and expected, he was able to turn Tombola in to a site that has always stood head and shoulders above its competitors. Tombola has always operated on a solid base of what makes great bingo, and with its ear firmly to the needs and expectations of the players, it often eschewed the perceived and at times incorrect assumptions about the game and its players that other sites continue to perpetuate to this day.

Since its launch, Tomobla has been a beacon of player focused online bingo. From its unparalleled strict low stakes, to its promotions and community events. I put this down to Phil’s background, and having spoken to him in the early days of Tombola, when he demoed the software to me at one of the early Online Bingo Conferences, his love of the game, the culture and its ability to bring people together was clearly evident. For me this is why Tombola has become the biggest, it understands the player, the importance of safe gambling and providing a community environment for everyone to enjoy. In many ways it’s the closet experience online to an actual bingo club vibe, even ahead of the likes of what Mecca and Gala brought to the table, and that for me has always been at the heart of its success.

So, this brings me to my biggest concern about this sale. When Phil leaves Tombola, will the company be able to maintain the player focused, safer gambling ethos it’s held with him at the helm. I really hope so, as what Phil built is something special, and the exemplar that all other online bingo sites should hold themselves to. That is Tombola’s USP, and the second anyone tries to mess with that, it ceases to become the leader it is.

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