If you have been playing online bingo for a while, you will have noticed the high turnover rate of bingo sites that open and then close within a few years. Brands are being retired all the time, with new ones taking their place just as quickly.
Bucky Bingo is not one of those brands.
A true survivor, Bucky Bingo has been through a few owners already, and it looks like it’s about to get another one.
Betfred have announced that, as of the 29th September, Bucky Bingo will be sold to an as yet unnamed new owner.
For customers, this probably won’t have much of an impact – at least to begin with anyway – other than seeing withdrawals under a different name on your bank statements.
For the long term future of the brand, however, it all depends on who the new owners are and what they do with Bucky.
Bucky Bingo was launched back in 2011 so it is well over a decade old now, but will it still be around in another 10 years?
What Has Happened to Bucky Bingo?
A change in ownership can happen for all sorts of reasons, but with Betfred not disclosing who the new owner is going to be (which is a bit odd), it makes the situation more difficult to work out.
The brand currently runs on the Dragonfish network, which is now owned by Broadway Gaming who bought it from 888 in 2021. Broadway gaming are themselves owned by Grand Battery Holdings.
As well as selling their network to 3rd party companies, like Bucky Bingo, Broadway Gaming/Grand Battery Holdings have a large number of their own bingo sites too, so there is always the possibility that they themselves are going to be the new owners of Bucky.
Players have not been made aware of any changes, which would suggest that the site will remain on the same network, adding more fuel to the idea that Grand battery are taking the reigns.
If they were to switch network then players would have to sign up again, as was the case back in 2020 when Bucky switched from Virtue Fusion to Dragonfish.
The sad thing about a Grand Battery Holdings takeover, is that Bucky would almost certainly be lost in the mass of other bingo sites they own.
Betfred were able to retain some of Bucky Bingo’s individualism, but to go from that to the sort of ‘throw enough mud and see what sticks’ model used by Grand Battery, could reduce Bucky to just another faceless brand.
Only time will tell of course, and it could be someone else entirely taking control – we will just have to wait and see.
History of Bucky Bingo
Veteran bingo players might remember a brick and mortar brand that was called Buckingham Bingo.
It was founded in 1970 by Panico Panayi (try saying that fast 5 times in a row) and headquartered in, no not Buckinghamshire or Buckingham Palace, but in Manchester.
The company grew steadily over the years, building their chain of bingo halls until they were one of the leading bingo operators in the North West, boasting over 20 bingo halls and a strong presence in the industry.
Panayi sold the business to a venture capital firm called Alchemy Partners in 2005, pocketing £90 million for his efforts, but it was not a deal that worked out well for Alchemy.
Buckingham Bingo faced financial challenges almost immediately, ending up in the hands of Barclays bank in 2008, leading to the company gradually selling off their bingo halls until eventually, in 2010, the last bingo hall was sold and the company ceased to exist.
Rising from the ashes, however, came Bucky Bingo.
Buckingham Bingo had launched a website in 2007, so when the rest of the company went down, the website was sold to Betfred and relaunched as Bucky Bingo on the Virtue Fusion (Playtech) network.
In 2020 Betfred switched to Dragonfish, but the brand started to go quiet, which is usually a sign that the owners have lost interest. This in turn means the site becomes less attractive to players, and so a downward spiral can begin.
Hopefully this is not the case for Bucky Bingo, since it is a well established and well loved brand, but my gut instinct says it’s only a matter of time before Bucky bites the dust.