After making a huge impact in the affiliate industry through Lindar Media, 2018 saw Savvas Fellas take the plunge to found the bingo brand, MrQ.com.
In 2019 MrQ went on to receive multiple industry accolades from the likes of EGR and BingoPort for its innovative work in creating a seamless customer journey on tablet, mobile or desktop.
But how has the last few months impacted their meteoric rise?
We caught up with Savvas to hear his thoughts on the current landscape and its future implications on the bingo sector.
Can you tell us a little about your history and how you got into online bingo?
“I started off as an affiliate in the gaming space, initially I launched an affiliate site to practice newly found SEO skills.
At the time online bingo was experiencing big growth, it was around the time of the smoking ban which helped give rise to the online side.
This started to take off from both the SEO side and the industry side of things. It started to generate good revenues and I realised it had potential to scale into something special.
I eventually went backpacking around the world and took the work on the road for 14 months. When I came back, I decided to scale the business up more seriously.
The obvious move was to get into the white label space, which I did across multiple providers, from there I realised what was being sold as a service wasn’t as good as it could have been from an end-user and technology point of view.
I decided to build a platform that would resolve these frustrations and one where I answered to myself and no 3rd party software provider. Our platform, which has no name as it stands, powers our B2C brand called MrQ.com. We launched it in August 2018, and it continues to grow beyond expectations each month.”
What are some of the biggest opportunities the pandemic has brought the online bingo market?
“There was a huge spike in playing bingo online and virtual bingo tickets and also raising money for good causes which is where bingo originated from.
It was less of a commercial opportunity. If it was something people wanted to try and benefit from, it was done delicately and sensitively.”
How is this shaping future product offerings?
“The pandemic isn’t shaping things per se and i can’t speak for other operators, but from a bingo perspective it’s making us review the fairly static way in which this game is consumed online.
It’s fair to say that bingo can be quite boring and dry in places, which is why we have variations of the traditional game coming up soon. These variations will inject more entertainment into the product.
I think a lot of attention needs to be paid to the social side too. For years people have harped on about gamification mechanics but not realising that a lot of this overlaps with social too i.e. you want your friends to know you received x, y, z in terms of rewards, badges, stamps, or whatever other social currency you’re trying to give to customers.
It’s about status and I think we need to bring that into the foreground more.”
As landbased bingo operations are returning at limited capacity, what can online do to fill the gap for the more traditional customers?
“The same applies here I think, we need to make it easier, more engaging, more social.
Despite all the focus being on compliance and regulations (which are obviously important pieces of the overall picture) we have to remember that we’re providing an entertainment service and must not lose that element.
Yes, compliance is vital, but the majority of customers are well in control of what they do; so let’s not forget to service them too.”
Can landbased and online bingo work in harmony? Is it possible to create an ecosystem that satisfies the needs of both land based and online customers?
“Anything is possible if you throw enough money at it, and they can.
i think it’s essential that (for anyone trying to pull this off) they must appreciate the nuances and differences between these two audiences. They must appreciate what makes these two sets of customers different from each other.
In my humble opinion, the retail business seem to be taking hit after hit. I can imagine the different growth of online and retail customers will dictate how synergised they can become, the more they grow apart and the more different they behave and what they respond to as consumers, the harder it will be to keep them on the same path.
If you’re pessimistic about the future of retail, where possible, you would be trying to move these customers online. You probably won’t be lucky enough to move 100% over, and I don’t envy the people who are tasked with managing this sort of project.”
Editor’s Note: From talking with Savvas, it seems apparent that there’s still significant room for innovation within the bingo sector; and if their 2019 track record is anything to go by, MrQ.com is perfectly poised to be the driving force.
Whether it’s improving the technology, enhancing the social aspects, or simply making it easier to play, the online bingo sector has significant amounts of potential for future growth.