Costa Bingo was the first bingo site released by Mandalay Media, and it's still the company's most popular site to this day. Powered by 888's Dragonfish software, Costa Bingo has paved the way for Mandalay's entire roster of sites - does it still represent the best that the company has to offer and how does it compare to other player favourites such as Sun Bingo and Foxy?
Not only has Costa's style been adopted by the site’s sister brands - but even 888s own bingo brands; a testament to the quality of the site’s homepage layout.
Costa opts for a warm, mediterranean feel with sandy beaches and a calm inviting sea in the background. Sunny, the site mascot, features in most of the promotional and site artwork. The promotional design assets in particular are creative and fun to look at, featuring Sunny themed in interesting ways.
Joining and logging in are easy enough to locate, but the menu is lacking in clarity with a combination of tabs and cluttered menus. Once you head into the lobby, navigation becomes much easier with the various lobby tabs clearly labelled.
There are 3 ways to get support on Costa Bingo; via phone, email or live chat. The live chat option however is a little misleading, with no dedicated live chat software in place. Instead, Costa recommend you to live chat with CMs. The CMs are responsive and friendly, but some players may find it hard to get a response in busy chats.
In addition, there is also an FAQ and getting started guide; the FAQ would benefit from some kind of search functionality. Finding answers can be challenging and this is mostly down to the formatting. The getting started guide is semi helpful, but the lack of pictures makes it difficult to visualise the experience.
Costa keep their promotions fresh and exciting with cashback offers, prize draws and regular deposit bonuses. The prize draws in particular can have some major prizes to play for - in the past the site has given away holidays, shopping trips and even cars.
These promotions are completely unique to Costa; you won’t even find them on other Mandalay Media brands. Our only slight negative is that some of the promos can have some complicated mechanics.
888’s Dragonfish software is featured on more bingo sites than any other platform right now, and it’s easy to see why. It offers a consistent, reliable experience for players with a number of useful features and personalisation options.
Bingo players that prefer to play on smartphone or tablet will feel welcomed at Costa. Not only can you play on the site via any phone browser, you can also download the iOS app that will allow you to launch Costa with one tap.
The HTML5 Dragonfish mobile software is easy to use and makes for a fluid playing experience. All the same great games are available, with some bonus mobile only rooms and even some exclusive promotions to enjoy.
Costa Bingo is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission - this mean that the site must have mandatory features to keep players safe and in control of their gaming. The site also employs encryption technologies to ensure your online security.
Costa have a number of different bingo rooms that appeal to a variety of different budgets. One of the main events is the free bingo; actual free online bingo for cash. To play in these games, all you need to do is join the site, with no first deposit required. Granted, the jackpot amounts are small - and these games are available on other Mandalay brands, but it is still an appealing aspect of the site.
With Dragonfish technology powering the site, Costa players can access over 200 slot games from providers like Netent and Eyecon. This may seem like a large number of games, but Costa share these games with over 200 different sites.
Cashier wise, this site is limited when compared to other sites running on the same software. In fact, Costa only offer deposits made by credit cards, debit cards, bank transfer and Paysafecard, giving players a limited set of depositing options.
Bonus wagering can be a little steep as well; bingo bonuses are credited with 4 times wagering which is about average for bingo sites. However, the terms state that games bonuses can be as high as 80 times wagering, which is severe. On top of that, in some places, wagering restrictions are put into place. The recent no deposit bonus is a good example, with a maximum of £100 only withdrawable from the bonus. Overall, a disappointing experience.
The Costa Bingo VIP programme at first seems like a fantastic deal. But once you peel back the various layers, you will actually find a programme that encourages huge deposits and wagers for little reward.
There are 5 levels in total: blue, bronze, silver, gold and finally platinum. When you first join the site, you will start off as a blue player. Climbing the ranks means making deposits. To reach the higher levels of the programme, you will need to deposit. A lot. To become a platinum member, you will need to make £5,000 in deposits. Top rank players can expect to receive bigger bonuses, access to all VIP bingo games and even a personalised VIP email service for this small sum.
Outside of the ranks and benefits, there is also the VIP store - the currency of this store is diamonds, which you accumulate through naturally playing on the site. For every £1 wagered on bingo or slots, you will receive 1 diamond. This at first sounds like a good deal, but to get 20 free spins on a game like Twinkle… you will need to make £14,600 in wagers. This kind of wagering for such a miniscule reward is utterly ridiculous. We cannot recommend the Costa Bingo VIP programme.
What starts out as a luxury beach holiday quickly turns into a hellish version of Benidorm. The site design is pleasant and giving players something truly free is refreshing and in a way, almost commendable. However, Costa seem to claw back the freebies with a VIP programme that is more punishing than rewarding and a cashier that is way too short on options.