Friday, 20 July 2007

Bingo Online – Jackpot Joy By Morgan Collins

Online bingo operators seem to be loosening their purse strings, but bingo players should be cautious before joining a site offering an unrealistic bingo jackpot prize.

While bingo has got bigger and bigger, more and more people played online bingo in 2006 than ever before. This is despite the recent changes to American law and also the proposed changes to the UK Gambling Act which will soon to come into force.

And as bingo gets bigger, and as more people play, this can mean only one thing – bigger jackpot prizes.

In 2006 the size of bingo jackpots grew incredibly, compared to that of 2005. It is now common to see progressive jackpot prizes averaging £30,000, with the St Minver network paying out £91,000 and £32,000 only three weeks apart, toward the end of 2006.

A few years previous, no-one would have thought the online bingo phenomenon would produce such massive jackpots to compete with those in land-based bingo halls, but it seems that they will soon start to take over.

So what are the reasons behind the increase in jackpot sizes? Is it simply down to an increase in player numbers, or is it that bingo operators are loosening their purse strings in order to grab the attention of players in what is a very competitive market.

Well, if a bingo operator is part of a large bingo network, then player liquidity comes into play. A network like St Minver will have players from all around Europe contributing to large pots of money. Experts believe the growth in jackpot prizes simply mirrors the growth in player numbers. The more players playing, the more bingo cards are sold, and therefore the bigger the prizes will be.

However, it is also true that operators may be funding “loss leaders” via their massive marketing budgets, in order to put constant pressure on the competition, in the fight to provide the best sign up bonuses, cash match and jackpot prizes. It seems that this happened when Gala bingo launched its new product after parting company with St Minver not so long ago. It would never have been possible for them to offer the kind of jackpots they were unless they were funding the jackpots themselves.

However, players should be cautious of some of the approaches used by bingo operators. For example, an operator offering a prize of, say, £100,000 to be won with only 33 numbers produces a virtually impossible probability of that prize ever being won. Yet it is not difficult to see how players can be duped into such marketing ploys.

It is far better for a player to look for a jackpot prize which seems attainable and then compare it to the amount of numbers that “BINGO” should be called in, coupled with the number of players actually playing on the site or network. It is not always best to go with the biggest jackpot, but an average across the board for both prize and player numbers.

Offering sign-up bonuses and cash match bonuses is another marketing ploy that has produced good results for bingo operators. It is also one of the most attractive offers when enticing players to your site.

However, keeping players is far more difficult, and that is why some sites try offering such large jackpots. However, offering unrealistic odds of winning might get players through the door, but it will not keep them on the site. Building trust and maintaining players is far more important than offering huge jackpots.

St Minver commissioned its own survey in 2006 and asked nearly 3000 players to rate the most important reasons for preferring one site over another. Jackpot prizes actually came fourth, with ease of deposit and withdrawal, trust and customer service coming way before.

So if you are on the look-out for a giant jackpot prize, be sure to check the competition and be sure that the prize is realistic, and the site you are playing on has already built a level of trust with its pool of players.

Written by Morgan Collins for Juega bingo Ya, a Spanish language online bingo site.

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