New sites about bingo come and go – but few stand out. There’s a lot of cookie-cut sites out in internet land about bingo so it’s always good to see a site that does something new. Bingo Port is one such site – it gives users a snapshot of the current levels of prize money and number of players across a range of the best online bingo sites.
The site is the brainchild of a man with a long history in the online gaming world – Scott Logan. We caught up with him shortly after the launch of Bingo Port and posed him a few questions about the site and his opinions on the state of the wider online bingo world.
Playing Bingo: How long have you been involved with bingo and how did you get started?
Scott Logan: I have been in the online gaming industry since 1997 when I started the online gaming portal, WhereToBet.com. It was acquired by an online casino in 2000 at which point I spent some time on a “traditional” internet business start-up but moved back to gaming a couple of years later after the net bubble burst.
In 2004 I took the role of VP Marketing at Winward Gaming Group, which was a primarily online bingo operator with such sites at Bingohall.com and Vicsbingo.com. I then worked for JackpotJoy in 2006 before I came full circle back to running portals when I recently started BingoPort.co.uk.
Playing Bingo: How did you get the idea for Bingo Port?
Scott Logan: There is a lot of information out there about online bingo and where to play, however our research of the online bingo player showed certain aspects in an online bingo site that were important. Ranking highly were features such as average game pot value, number of players in a particular room (funnily enough, bingo rooms packed full of hundreds of players didn’t rank too highly) and size of progressive jackpots. BingoPort.co.uk brings all of this information together in one place and gives potential online bingo players everything they need to make an informed decision.
Playing Bingo: How long did it take you to develop and make?
Scott Logan: From conceptualisation to launch took around 6 months. There are still so many more features to come too.
Playing Bingo: What problems did you face bringing the idea to life, and how did you get over them?
Scott Logan: From a technological standpoint, there are many problems with collecting the data that we collect for each bingo site. This presented the biggest challenges to our overall vision and is also what cost us the most time. Even now, we’re still working on this part of the website on a daily basis.
Playing Bingo: Have you had any problems with online bingo operators who didn’t want you featuring their sites?
Scott Logan: Feedback has been very positive to date, with many operators happy to see some added transparency in the industry. These operators are pretty good at knowing what their players are looking for and most of them are happy that we’re providing a single stop for this information.
Playing Bingo: How often do the site stats update, and how much work does it involve keeping it updated?
Scott Logan: The data for each bingo site is currently updated a few times every hour. Our priority going forward is to improve these times to make the data even more relevant for online bingo players.
Playing Bingo: What excites you about the online bingo market at present?
Scott Logan: The only way is up in the UK and Europe. With the changes taking place in the offline environment (most notably the UK smoking ban), we expect to see more and more online operators spending a lot of money attracting these players online. There is no doubt that 2007 and 2008 will see a sharp rise in the number of online bingo players in the UK.
Playing Bingo: What annoys you about the online bingo market at present?
Scott Logan: As a player talking to other players, many of them seem frustrated at the feeling of being just another number to the operators. As we know, bingo is a very community based game and players like to know that they can make a difference by being part of that community. I think operators need to work at making that difference at the individual player level.
Playing Bingo: How do you think real world bingo has to change to enjoy the sort of growth online bingo is currently enjoying?
Scott Logan: Larger progressive jackpots and promotions would help, but at the end of the day the offline space will struggle to compete with online bingo. Going forward, expect to see the merging of online and offline bingo with the larger operators offering online incentives to visit their local offline halls.
Playing Bingo: Do you think the smoking ban will have an effect on the online game?
Scott Logan: Our opinion is that the smoking ban will have a positive impact in the online world. That being said, we must remember that most surveys completed to date show that online and offline players are not necessarily the same people. The next few months will certainly prove to be an interesting time in both the online and offline space.
Playing Bingo: What can online bingo sites do to make the game more accessible for those who might like to try the game online but are worried about trying it?
Scott Logan: Free bingo games and free bonus cash are a good start, however these are generally fraught with abusers. It’s important that online bingo operators provide players with the highest level of security to make them feel comfortable that their details are safe and that they’ll be paid if and when they win.
Playing Bingo: Now you’ve got Bingo Port up and running, what plans do you have for its future?
Scott Logan: We’re looking at spending time building the site to become a complete resource for online bingo enthusiasts and the industry in general. There is still a long way to go, but we’re definitely on track.