You may be familiar with some land based halls such as Gala Bingo and Mecca Bingo, but did you know that they also have online versions too?
Most brands these days have online sites as well as physical bingo halls, giving you the chance to play along online with them too. The main UK branded bingo halls all have online sites too including:
- Gala Bingo
- Mecca Bingo
- Castle Bingo
- Beacon Bingo
Gala Bingo was founded in 1991. Bass PLC merged the Granada Theatre Limited’s bingo clubs with their existing Coral social clubs and just like that, Gala was born. Over the years the Gala group opened 174 clubs in total all over UK, 140 of which are still open and operational, and Gala is now the largest chain of bingo clubs in the UK and definitely one of the most popular.
For a great night’s entertainment, simply head along to your chosen club and a member of staff will be on hand to welcome you and guide you through the free registration process. You just need to fill out your name, date of birth and address to get started, then once you’ve signed up, you’re officially part of the Gala family.
Every club offers great hospitality, gaming machines and most importantly, bingo games. However there is a huge difference with playing at a Gala Bingo land based club and at Gala Bingo online. For a start there are only 90-ball games available at the clubs, and you will only be playing against the players there that evening. When you play at Gala online, there are a huge variety of bingo games to choose from, and as the site spans all across the UK, there will be tons more players involved and therefore jackpots and prizes could be much higher in general.
When you register in a club, you won’t receive anything, but when you register online as a new player you will qualify for a welcome bonus and ongoing promotions such as cashback, free bingo games, a loyalty club that allows you to collect points on purchases and exchange for special bonuses. In a club, you will have set promotions, such as special prices on books, big houses on certain days of the week and bargain prices on the buffet.
Mecca Bingo was founded in 1961 and over time opened 95 clubs up and down the UK. The brand is still extremely strong, and 86 land based clubs are still in operation.
Unlike Gala Bingo, Mecca have a slightly stronger connection between their land based clubs and playing online. If you are registered at a club already then you will get an extra bonus when you register online, and also if you win online you can actually pop along to your local club to pick up your winnings straight away.
As with Gala Bingo, the bingo that’s played online and in the clubs are not linked, these are completely different. When you play online, you play against online players and when you’re in a Mecca Bingo club, you play against the other people in the club.
Mecca Bingo offers a loyalty scheme to online players, this means that every time you buy a bingo ticket you will earn points. When you have accumulated the stated amount of points, you can exchange these for goodies in the Play Points Store. When you play at a land based Mecca Bingo club, you can’t collect points as this is a promotion offered to online players only. The clubs have set promotions, such as a set price on books, free jackpot tickets and other promotions.
The Castle Leisure chain was founded in Cardiff in 1856, and the brand went on to open 11 land based bingo halls across the UK. All of these clubs are still in operation with 8 in Wales and 3 in Birmingham, Liverpool and Corby.
The chain are extremely small compared to Gala and Mecca, however all of their clubs are still going strong and the brand still manages to maintain an excellent reputation. In 2006, Castle ventured into online bingo, and they opened their site to much success.
Castle Bingo online has seen quite a few makeovers in its time, but now runs on a really classy and modern software powered by Playtech. Again like Gala Bingo, there isn’t much cohesion between the site and land based halls, and all games, bonuses and promotions etc can differ.
Beacon Bingo was founded in 1963, and the company still operate their original 9 land based clubs in Northampton, Ilkeston, Lowestoft, Redcar, Cricklewood, Loughborough and Margate.
In 2000, Beacon Bingo opened their online site and it’s still going strong today but it’s known as Beaky Bingo. Quite similar to Castle Bingo, there is little cohesion between the land based halls and the online site, and most games and offers and even the name are very different.
The online site now has totally different branding compared to the land based halls, and it’s mainly themed around the site’s mascot Beaky the Parrot. He used to live at Beacon Bingo’s first online site, but as the brand has transitioned over the years, they closed down the Beacon Bingo site altogether and now Beaky the Parrot has a site all of his own.
Is Online Bingo Better?
That is a question only you can answer! Sometimes it’s great to just get out of the house and play bingo with your friends and family, but other times you may want to slip into your pyjamas and play online. The vast majority of time, you are offered much bigger prizes, games and jackpots when you play bingo online, and there is so much more choice in terms of bingo styles, offers and payment options.
Apart from Mecca Bingo, most land based hall brands don’t have much unity between their online sites, so all in all you’ll get an entirely different experience when visiting both.
Some benefits to the online versions of these brands include:
- More choice of bingo styles
- Play anytime, anywhere
- Bigger bonuses, prizes and jackpots
- Chat rooms and social media hubs
- Great welcome/sign up offers
- Additional slots and casino games available
- Community jackpots
- Physical prizes up for grabs
- Bigger community of players, so bigger prizes and more people to meet along the way