After earning a nomination for Innovator of the Year at the upcoming International Gaming Awards, Majestic Bingo is continuing to invest in new ideas to bring excitement and theatre to its clubs, with operations director Eric Howell revealing a new development is underway in the form of a fixed odds game with a rollover jackpot.
Majestic Bingo has revealed its next new original game is already under development as plaudits continue to rain on the operator after the success of Don’t Find The 9.
Despite a hard year under the thumb of a virus with another number nobody wants to find in Covid 19, the company has continued to invest in its 13 clubs across the UK, and particularly in the creation of new games. “We have invested in bringing theatre to life in our clubs,” said Eric Howell, operations director at Majestic Bingo. “Working closely with Willow Communications we have developed a suite of games and presentation standards, from our popular Big Wheels Jackpot with an interactive wheel, to using professional entertainers to deliver messages to our customers in exactly the way we want the customers to hear it. I am however particularly excited about a new development launching this year called SHARK which is a full production fixed odds game with a very exciting rollover jackpot.”
Majestic has certainly show itself capable of innovating successful new bingo games – which is no mean feat in such an established market – and it has been recognised for its efforts by the International Gaming Awards, where the operator has been nominated for Innovator of the Year for its Don’t Find The 9 game.
“Jackpot games are always about calling in a certain amount of numbers or a particular number, this game turns this on its head and makes the focus on a number not coming out and plays with those odds,” explained Howell. “As each page is called and the No 9 does not come out, the excitement brings its own theatre to add to the clubs digital displays with customers now tuned into that number, because those who bought the DFTN stamp (which only costs £1) know they share in the jackpot, so in essence you have a game where you can win without actually having to win a game of bingo. The sales speak for themselves with on average a 93 percent take-up. Customers who win love gathering as a large group to show off their winnings, it gets great engagement on our Facebook pages.”
Howell added that despite its history and traditions, “bingo is changing and the way we present our product has to change”, and that operators have to challenge the stereotype that surrounds bingo and its customers.
“The truth is it’s all ages, so we need to cater for all ages in the games that we play, the hours in which we open, and activities (not necessarily bingo) that take place within our buildings,” concluded Howell.
It’s been a long 18 months for Majestic Bingo, but with the UK now all-but fully unlocked, and with the Euro 2020’s and the subsequent heatwave coming to an end, bingo customers are finally coming home to their favourite clubs around the country.
Coinslot: Majestic are a primary flag-bearer for land-based bingo in the UK. How is the land-based sector faring?
Eric Howell, operations director at Majestic Bingo: It’s been tough for sure, and opening up in the hottest weather we’ve had for years, with an England Football team that’s done better than it’s done and customers staying at home to cheer on our boys is not ideal. Thankfully our customers have started to return but we still have a way to go. As confidence increase as we move further out of the pandemic we are confident more and more customers will return
CS: Your customers are key to a club’s success – what are they telling you about land-based bingo and what it adds to their social lives?
EH: Our clubs sit at the heart of our communities, and for many customers this is their one and only social experience.
It’s been well documented that loneliness has been a real issue during the pandemic, but the ability for all ages to visit a venue, in a safe environment, often alone, has been a welcome relief and during lockdown we saw many messages through social media from our customers telling us how much they were missing us, and they are delighted we are back open.
CS: We have a gambling review underway at the moment and Coinslot has featured the political calls such as tax and rates reductions. But what technology changes and customer facing regulations do you think are necessary to help drive bingo on?
EH: In terms of regulations I think there should be some recognition that bingo clubs are a very different environment to casinos, bookmakers and AGC’s – so we should not all be pooled together as a piece of legislation as one size fits all, the gambling review must take this into consideration, and if the legislative review acknowledges this, then we can continue to attract the next generation of retail bingo customer. The last thing the industry needs is unnecessary legislation at what is a low stake operation.
CS: And what about the industry – what do we need to understand?
EH: Bingo is changing and the way we present our product has to change. It’s now more important than ever that we challenge the stereotype of people who visit bingo with the reality of who does. The truth is its all ages, so we need to cater for all ages in the games that we play, the hours in which we open, and activities (not necessarily bingo) that take place within our buildings.