It is estimated that Britain has more than 3m bingo players. Gamesys has capitalised on this national pastime by creating Jackpotjoy.com, a “soft gaming” website that specialises in bingo, instant-win games and casino tables. Since its inception in 2001, Jackpotjoy says it has amassed 900,000 subscribers, more than half of whom are women.
The company also operates gaming websites in partnership with well-known consumer brands, such as Orange, GMTV and Tiscali. One example is GMTV Instant Win Games, where players can win anything from a chocolate fountain to a day at the Inside Soap Awards.
Gamesys was founded by Robin Tombs, Andrew Dixon and managing director Noel Hayden. Hayden had previously set up Internet Digital Media, an online gaming company that was sold to Gameplay for £7m in 1999. The proceeds were used as seed capital for Gamesys.
The founders decided to focus on the soft gaming sector, rather than hard gambling activities such as poker, with the belief that they could reach a wider audience. This decision has paid off, with sales rocketing 301% a year from £587,000 in 2003 to £9.5m in 2005, when the company made a healthy profit. Gamesys says it processed 150m cash bets last year and paid out more than £1m a day in prize money.
Gamesys is currently developing new gaming software for mobile phones and interactive television. It also launched an international expansion campaign this year.
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