2017 was a very bad year for the traditional fixed sum no deposit bonus. Following changes in UK gambling tax laws, operators started to withdraw offers that gave players £5 to £20 to play bingo just for registering as a newbie. These "freebies" always came with wagering terms that confused players.
Back in October 2017, Cozy Games announced that it was withdrawing the £15 and £20 no deposit bonuses that it's sites offered. Others followed suit but we were still left with various brands, such as Jackpot Liner, Lucky Pants Bingo and Costa Bingo, who were still happy to provide players with a decent way to trial their games and bingo rooms.
From £1500+ To Just £50
However, the start of the New Year brings even more bad news for the no deposit bonus! All the Ignite/Mandalay Media brands barring Costa and Sing are to withdraw their £5 no deposit bonuses by the end of this week. That's a total of 11 sites including long term brands like Fancy and City. On a positive note, newbies will still be able to access a free bingo room after registering. Terms will apply.
There's similiar mixed news from the Leapfrog powered sites that include King Jackpot and Bingo Cafe. They've all now reduced their no deposit bonus from £20 down to £5. This means that the biggest no deposit bonus you can receive is £10 from Castle Jackpot Bingo - and we suspect that that particular offer won't last for long.
To put all this in context, just a few months ago you could register at numerous sites and collect well over £1500 in total of no deposit bingo bonuses. As of January 2018 we have just a dozen or so sites offering around a total of £50 in deposit bonuses!
Jackpotjoy Free Bingo
These changes are a far cry from several years back when the likes of Cyberbingo and Daily Express Bingo were offering £100 no deposit bonuses to their players. Big names like Wink and Foxy were also happy to offer no deposit bonuses to new players.
Whilst the no deposit bonus awaits it's final death knell, it's not all bad news. These changes simply mean bingo brands need to get cuter with their incentives and offers to attract new players and re-ignite interest in others. Jackpotjoy for example have just launched a new free bingo room promotion that will last until April 2018. No deposit is needed to play these games.
What Will Come Next?
We anticipate that other brand will look at free bingo and prizes as incentives to encourage new players. In addition the bingo jackpots and offerings will also need to be improved. Too often brands have relied solely on a no deposit bonus or free bingo room to get folks in through the door. Times are tougher now and tougher times means it's time to work harder.
The loss of the fixed sum no deposit bonus will in part shape how online bingo survives in 2018 and beyond. Throw into the mix UKGC guidelines and advertising standards plus affiliate issues and this year could be as stormy as Eleanor currently is today.
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