My name is Ian Walshaw and I want to welcome you to the tombola operations blog. Our aim with this blog is to share with everyone out there what we’re all about -from our perspectives, decisions. the challenges which keep us up at night and the accomplishments we’re most proud to shout about.

I joined tombola in 2008 and from day one I’ve tried to surround myself with the best and brightest technologists who would help me turn the vision of the businesses owner (global domination from the banks of the River Wear) into a reality.


tombola is the leading online bingo operator in Europe and number one in each market where it operates (UK, Italy and Spain) with more players and more bingo revenue than any other operator.

We consider ourselves an entertainment provider. A company who offers a gaming experience for fun, not as a money-gaining exercise. All games are chance-based and player loyalty in terms of activity (spend and frequency) is never rewarded or encouraged.


So much of tombola is the operations department –­ in fact we’re very much a software company, but we don’t sell our software. Unlike the rest of the marketplace we do everything in-house, and this gives us the ability to create the wonderfully bespoke and unique games and features which help to set tombola aside from our competitors. No white labelling here.

Within Operations we’re loosely aligned to the two main product verticals, that being Game development and Web Application development with a healthy dose of infrastructure and database binding it together. The department is focused on working in partnership with the business to develop innovating and exciting games, features and products for our tens of thousands customers.

The recent past

It wasn’t that long ago we had to only worry about ‘web customers’ but things really started changing a few years ago with the advent of smart phones and tablets. We saw a noticeable drop in customers one January and we put that down to customers moving from laptops for shiny tablets over the festive break. It was a bit of a game changer for us.

Now it’s a mobile first mentality when it comes to designing and thinking up anything new. Its now in our DNA.

The future

After a tussle with native and Unity3d we’re now committed to a future where our games will be created in JavaScript, there are lots of challenges to overcome but our roadmap is clear.

Finally, we’re moving more and more into a DevOps mentality and structure which is aligned as closely as possible to the product we create.

We’re really excited about what the future holds for us and we’d love to hear from you on twitter if you think tombola sounds like the place for you @tombolaOps


Ian Walshaw