Mecca Bingo is pushing the boundaries of online bingo with an innovative game concept known as Linka-Balls. Designed to give players more ways to win, while they win, these new games essentially offer bonus prizes that run alongside the main game to offer even more prizes than ever!
Launched at the start of August in conjunction with Virtue Fusion, the 90-ball rooms are just another example of Mecca's bid to bring fresh concepts and opportunities to the online bingo mix. Alongside Mecca Bingo favourites such as 1 and 2 To Go games, where you can still win even if you miss a full house by a number or two, Linka-Ball games are a great way for seasoned bingo fans to get more out of playing.
In basic terms, sessions run in the same way as any other 90-ball game. However, at the side of each game, there will be a six-column card where coloured balls will fall. As the main numbers drop, one of these balls will also drop into the bonus column. As the game progresses, the players who fill the side column with the correct colours in the correct order will win a bonus prize.
In terms of entrance fees and criteria, the new feature will be applied to any standard 90-ball game. This means you'll have dozens of chances to play each day, but only if you enter the game with 12 tickets or more. Put simply, if you purchase a dozen tickets or more, you'll get to take part in the Linka-Ball game alongside the main action.
Then, if you can match colours vertically, horizontally or diagonally (just as you would in a game of Connect 4), you'll win. To kick off the promotion, Mecca Bingo offered up £100,000 in added prize money. Running until August 11, the deal allowed Linka-Ball players to scoop as much as £5,000 for banking one of the latest bonus prizes.
While that promotion has since closed, the games themselves are still going strong, which is something Mecca will be hoping continues over the coming months. The timing of Mecca Bingo's launch couldn't have been better as the company as a whole has faced a tough time in 2017.
According to the latest revenue report, pre-tax profit in the 12 months to June 30, 2017, fell by 7%. Representatives for The Rank Group, Mecca's parent company, cited ‘reduce visits’ across its network of live venues and an increasingly ‘challenging’ UK market for the drop. Pre-tax profit slipped to £79.7 million and revenue fell £709m to £707m.
Fortunately, executives were positive about the company's online performance. Even though visits to Mecca's bingo halls and Grosvenor Casinos were on the decline, the group's online sales increased by 15%. Thanks to this upturn in sales, online operating profit surged by 63% for the year.
In line with this increased internet activity, Rank's chief executive Henry Birch has promised more virtual initiatives in the coming months. Birch explained:
"After a challenging first half of our financial year, we are very pleased with our second-half performance, especially with our digital business which delivered 63% growth in operating profit for the year. Additionally, the group has put in place a number of digital, product and venue-based initiatives launching in the current financial year which we expect to drive top-line revenues."
Linka-Ball games appear to be just the start of a host of additional betting options at Mecca. While year-long promos such as 'deposit £10 and get £50 to play' have clearly brought in additional players, the company will be looking to find ways to keep these punters engaged, so the boost to profit is more than short-term.
As the figures show that revenues are slipping, more emphasis will be placed on virtual platforms such as Mecca Bingo, which is proving so attractive to players. Things are heading in the right direction and Linka-Ball games will certainly help to continue that trend. Even though the early promos have run their course, these games should remain popular with high-volume players throughout the rest of 2017!