Online Bingo is a highly competitive market, especially in the United Kingdom where this particular gambling activity is extremely popular. Though the digital bingo market is saturated with a myriad of sites, launching an online bingo brand can still be highly lucrative to new operators who understand what it takes to be successful in the iGaming industry.
If you’re curious as to how to make your own bingo site, TCS is here to help provide you with the fundamental information you need to get started today.
Step 1 – Create a Business Strategy
Before you even begin entertaining the thought of launching an online bingo site, you first need to develop a business strategy. This means analyzing and determining several factors including (but not necessarily limited to):
- Know your total budget (start-up costs, operational costs and marketing, etc.)
- Choose a target market
- Choose a software provider/bingo network
- Choose a suitable domain name
- Research your competition
- Decide how you will make your product and marketing different from other brands
- Devise a marketing strategy (pre-launch, launch, retention marketing, etc.)
- Choose a bingo affiliate community
Essentially, you need to make sure that you have the time and money that is required to invest in an online bingo business venture. You also need to be prepared to research the competition and think about why the bingo skin you intend to launch will be more successful than the hundreds of others that already exist.
What is a bingo skin?
It is important to know that the vast majority of bingo brands on the market are bingo skins, also known as white label bingo sites. To put this into greater perspective, there are over 440 established UK bingo sites and most of them are white labels.
White label/bingo skins are fully licensed “pay-to-play” bingo sites that are connected to a network of other sites with linked bingo games. These sites require no input from their owners to function. In other words, independent operators use ready-made and licensed software. They are responsible for branding and marketing their site, while the white label provider takes care of everything else. White label/bingo skins are the fastest, easiest and cheapest method for launching an online bingo business today.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you cannot build your own bingo site from scratch. However, to do so will require extensive research and a greater understanding of the iGaming industry/bingo market, especially in regard to gambling laws, licensing, regulated market compliance, etc. Moreover, to build and run your operation from scratch you will need to acquire software, games, hosting, payment systems, technical specialists, and so on.
As white labels are typically the preferred and most sensible option for bingo sites today, for the purpose of this how to start your own online bingo site mini guide, we’ll be focusing on the fairly straightforward process of how to set up a bingo skin.
Step 2 – Choose a Reliable Software Provider
Once you have a bingo business plan in mind, the next step is to think about which software provider/bingo network you’d like to partner with. The white label software provider you select should take care of the following:
- Website – A flexible front-end that you can customize to suit the theme of your brand. Usually, different templates are provided for you to choose from. Websites are omni-channel, with many being HTML5 mobile-first platforms.
- Hosting – The website hosting is taken care of for you and can handle bulk traffic with speed, stability and security 24/7/365.
- Games – You don’t need to worry about how to make your own bingo games. All content is provided, including different bingo variants (e.g. 90-Ball Bingo, 75-Ball Bingo, 80-Ball Bingo, 30-Ball Bingo, etc.). In fact, it is also common for casino games like Slots, Scratch Cards and Slingo to be added to the mix as well.
- Game management and scheduling – Bingo sites feature interactive and themed bingo rooms where games and tournaments take place. The platform supplier should provide management and scheduling for games in these rooms.
- Chat management – The best bingo rooms deliver a social experience, which includes live chat among players. The software provider will take care of chat management and supply chat moderators.
- License – The legitimate license your business needs to legally operate is supplied. You don’t need to worry about independently applying for a license or keeping up with changing regulations. The supplier ensures everything is up to code for you.
- Localization – Most bingo software suppliers will provide localization perks (e.g. language, currency, local payment, promotions, etc.), particularly for the markets where their networks are popular. For instance, some of the most popular online bingo markets include the UK, Ireland and Nordic countries, such as Sweden.
- Payment – The payment gateway and payment processor needed to accept and process monetary transactions (deposits, buying bingo cards, withdrawals, etc.) is provided. Usually, all major fiat payments (e.g. credit/debit cards, bank transfers, eWallets, etc.) are supported. Some platform providers offer cryptocurrency options as well.
- Customer support – Customer care (e.g. answering customer queries via email, live chat, etc.) is provided.
- Basic CRM (Customer Relationship Management) – Even though you are in charge of marketing, basic CRM (e.g. welcome emails, general promotions, loyalty programs, etc.) and other retention tools is often included.
Know the major bingo software/network providers
There are several bingo software suppliers available. That being said, today’s major players in terms of popularity and offering bingo skins include:
- Dragonfish – One of the world’s leading bingo networks, Dragonfish supports a skin model with a shared pool of players. It offers customization and segmentation tools, including website customization, retention tools and bingo client customization. 75-Ball and 90-Ball Bingo variants are available as well as hundreds of side games, massive jackpots and a dedicated affiliate program.
- Jumpman Gaming – Jumpman Gaming’s bingo network is known as the “15 Network”. It has 10 exclusive bingo rooms and bingo games include 75-Ball, 80-Ball and 90-Ball variants. The company’s bingo product is flexible, delivering customer support, license, payments, CRM and dedicated chat hosts. There are also hundreds of slots, a variety of promotions and progressive jackpots.
- Playtech Bingo – Playtech Bingo is the world’s largest bingo community and offers the widest selection of omni-channel bingo games. Its UK bingo network is one of the largest of its types and is made up of 100+ different brands (skins), managing over 100,000 daily players and 20,000 daily concurrent players. In addition to bingo games, its portfolio includes 600+ slot games, 300+ side-games and scratch cards.
Do not be surprised if you do not find a wide range of differences across suppliers. Although each software/network will vary its delivery, themes, etc., at the end of the day, the fact is that the game of bingo stays the same.
Still, it is important to choose the one that is best suited for your particular business plan and how you want to stand out from the crowd. For instance, while some providers specialize in additional promotions, others provide jackpot games and other selling points. Ultimately, the idea is to put yourself in the shoes of your potential players and select the software/network that has the selling points that are in line with your brand goals.
Step 3 – Pick Your Theme
As there are hundreds upon hundreds of bingo sites on the market, you need to do everything possible to stand out. One of the primary ways to do this is through the theming of your site. To help generate original theme ideas, consider the following:
- Who is your target market? – What are the top trends in the local market you’re targeting?
- Do you intend to target a certain group of players? – Do you plan to target everyone or are you focusing on specifics (e.g. Gender? Casual players? Millennials? Big spenders? etc.)
- What is the competition doing? Research your competition and see if you can spot common themes and avoid them.
- What do the stats say? What do statistics say about your target market and online bingo? Statistics can give you an idea of the most common types of players (e.g. gender, age, spending, playing frequency, preferred devices, etc.) who play bingo, which can also help you focus your theme.
Once you have selected a theme, you will then want to design your site around it. Your theme needs to be carried across your sites lobby, branding and social media channels. This does not only include visuals, but also the tone of voice you use on the site. That said, take care not to overdo it with theming. Going overboard could result in a cheesy, visually busy and off-putting experience for players. The theme should be clear, enticing and easy on the eyes.
Step 4 – Test Your Site
Before launching your online bingo site, you need to take it for a test drive. After the site is built and everything is in place, thoroughly test it out.
- Go onto each page to ensure everything works as intended
- Address any details that do not meet your exact specifications, no matter how small
- Play the games
- Sign up as a new player and make deposits and withdrawals
- Test it on mobile
It is important to understand the journey your site’s users will take. Never provide players with a second-rate experience. Make any necessary changes before the site is live, no matter how minor or insignificant they may seem. First impressions matter and you want players to stick around. Don’t give them a reason to head to the competition.
Step 5 – Market Your Site and Build Up Your Audience
How you market your bingo skin is also essential to your survival and long-term success. To stand out from the crowd, you will require a strong marketing budget to build up and retain your audience.
There are a number of advertising methods that you can implement as part of your marketing strategy including:
- Social media
- News letter
- Welcome offers/bonuses for new players who sign up
- Loyalty/VIP rewards programs/exclusive offers
- TV campaigns
- PPC campaigns
- Affiliate marketing
Every step on your marketing journey you need to assess whether what you are offering your players is good value and if what your offering is worth it to them to be loyal and/or give your site a chance. Think like a customer. Would your ads entice you to play? Why would you want to deposit and play on your site? If you find it difficult to answer these questions, you need to consider revaluating your marketing strategy.
With that said, no matter the marketing methods you use, keep in mind that all advertising for gambling-based products is highly regulated, especially in markets like the UK. Governed by the Gambling Commission, the UK is known for having some of the strictest marketing rules for gambling. As such, make sure you understand the advertising guidelines that apply to the specific market you’re targeting with your ads. You don’t want to end up on the wrong side of the law.
Now that you have a general idea of how to start an online bingo site, the following are a few more tips that you might also find useful as you embark on building your business:
- Play on sites powered by different networks – To get an idea of which software/network you’d like to partner with, sign up and play at sites powered by each one to get a feel for the offering and the experience it provides players. This can help you decide which one you like better.
- Take your time finding the right supplier – Ask questions, request a demo, get a quote and ask for a copy of the “standard” contract. Find out exactly what you’re getting, how it’s delivered, when you can expect it and how much it will cost you at the start and over the long term.
- Take the time to theme and test your site – Although you may want to launch as quickly as you can, take the time to think about the type of brand you want to create and make sure that once it’s ready to go that it has been thoroughly tested. Only launch when you feel what you have to launch is the best.
- Watch your budget – Set-up costs can be high and you need to keep a watchful eye on how much you spend on marketing. Additionally, remember that affiliate marketing is very important to online bingo brands and you need to choose the best. Therefore, bear in mind that it is difficult to offer an appealing deal to quality affiliates while attempting to leave some profit in it for yourself.
- Be ready for a challenge – Things will not run smoothly all the time. Furthermore, there is a possibility that you may experience periods of financial loss. As much as possible, learn from your mistakes and be prepared to adapt and change whenever you can.
The Bottom Line
Remember, knowing how to make your own bingo site is only the tip of the iceberg. The online bingo industry is a competitive, saturated market. Therefore, if you want to seize the lucrative opportunities that exist, you need to have money, be creative, be ready to face challenges, adapt and be patient.
Launching an online bingo site isn’t for everyone, but if you think it might be for you, get started with TCS platform reviews. We might be able to help you find the best partner for your iGaming business venture.