Innovation in iGaming Profiles: Bodog88’s Zone21

TAGs: Bodog88, Ed Pownall, Innovation in iGaming Profiles, innovators, Rebecca Liggero, zappit blackjack, Zone Baccarat, zone21

Innovation in iGaming Profiles: Bodog88’s Zone21Innovation in the online gambling industry is not only found in start-up companies, its also found within more established companies, albeit not as often as some of us would like.  It can be challenging to innovate within a bigger organization, especially the publicly owned ones.  Along with active innovation comes a certain degree of unwanted risk and some feel that dedicating resources to innovation could take away from the company’s bottom line, two roadblocks that can rear their ugly head.

On the other hand, there are a number of big organizations that would like to see more innovation at their core regardless of the risk and are making steps to encourage this internally.  For example, is an online gambling operator based in the Philippines that has been successful in releasing a suite of innovations over the past few years- Bodog Network’s Recreational Poker Model, Zone Baccarat, Zappit Blackjack and the recently launched Zone21.

Zone21 is a blackjack live dealer game offered at, a new product that could become a game changer for the company.  Bodog88’s customers love Blackjack because according to Ed Pownall, Global PR Director for BodogBrand, “the game is quick and simple to play and the odds ratio between the player and the house are very slender (traditionally around 51:49) so players have a strong chance of winning each hand”.

The real innovation behind Zone21 is the ability for Bodog88 to provide blackjack enthusiasts with an opportunity to play the game whenever they want and fast.

“[Zone21] is the only place online that you can play live dealer Blackjack with as many players as you like.  In all other versions when the berths are full, no other players can enjoy the game”, explained Pownall.

When it comes to Asian gamblers, a worst case scenario for them is arriving at a full table when they are ready to play. According to Bodog88’s research, Asian blackjack enthusiasts would prefer a slight variation to the game over the dreaded denial of a seat…and this is where Zone21 comes into play.

“I am guessing that people have been trying to solve this riddle for a while”, said Pownall.  “It was really just a question of honing the game to be as close to normal Blackjack as possible while allowing multiple players access to the tables”.

The Bodog88 team has high expectations for their new Zone21 offering and they are counting on the innovation to serve as a key acquisition tool, similar to the impact Bodog’s anonymous poker tables had on player acquisition.

“Much like poker with online casino the problem and the solution are the same in that most operators are offering pretty much the same product but as a result if you do something unique or different, you can stand out from the competition”, explained Pownall. “In Poker we are the only all-anonymous poker room which makes us a much fairer place to play and means the casual player has a better experience.  We are now a Top 10 ranking poker room”.

He continued, “In casino we now have Zone21, Zone Baccarat and Zappit Blackjack which are totally unique products in the market and we hope will have a similar affect on our casino numbers as anonymous poker has in that product space”.

When asked what advice he has for big online gambling operators who want to innovate like Bodog88 has, Pownall left us with, “I think most operators are constantly trying to innovate their products and think of new ones – its one of the things that makes this industry so exciting to work in”.


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