Bigger might not always be better, but when it comes to bingo it usually is.
Bigger prizes? Yes please. Bigger games? Better atmosphere. Bigger bingo hall? More people, which means bigger games and therefore bigger prizes plus an amazing atmosphere, so we come full circle.
Of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with those smaller local venues with capacities of a few hundred, but when you want to celebrate a really big occasion or want to experience the buzz of a 1,000 strong game of bingo, only the mammoth bingo halls will do.
Funnily enough, despite the North of the country having more bingo fans than the South, it is the Southerners who are closest to the very biggest bingo halls, although that’s not to say that the Northerners don’t get a look in.
So below are the biggest bingo halls in the UK, and a little bit of info about them too.
Which ones have you visited?
Mecca Bingo – Camden Town – 1,200 Capacity
It doesn’t look very nice from the outside, but Mecca Bingo in Camden is a huge venue which attracts a regular crowd, probably thanks to being so easily accessible what with London’s excellent transport system.
All of the usual food and drink options are available along with slots and other gaming machines, plus lots of deals and offers since the Mecca brand (and therefore this club) is owned by The Rank Group, one of the biggest gambling groups in the country.
With space for 1,200 people you are sure to find a seat, and they run lots of fun themed evenings and host entertainment to keep the crowds happy too.
If you were planning on visiting though, it would pay to arrive a littler early as on busy nights it can take a while to get served at the single bar.
Merkur Bingo – Northampton – 1,500 Capacity
Formally known as Beacon Bingo for many years, before MERKUR took over and rebranded the company, this place ranks as the second biggest bingo hall in the entire country.
It actually has the London Palace to thank for its silver medal, because that venue previously held the number 2 spot boasting space for 2,000 players
With 2 bars and 2 restaurants you shouldn’t have to wait long to get a drink or a bite to eat, and there is even a smoking balcony which must have helped the club somewhat when the ban came in back in 2007.
The club opened in 1991 so is a real staple for the local bingo community, and they have attracted a younger audience with their regular Meltdown Bingo nights, which are Merkur’s take on Bongo’s Bingo nights from what we can tell, with loud music, drag artists, and neon jewellery all giving the bingo a very different vibe.
If there is a bingo venue that puts on a night to suit everyone, then it’s this one.
Merkur Bingo – Cricklewood – 3,000 Capacity
The goliath bingo hall is an absolute barn, with space for around 3,000 eager beavers to take their seats ready for eyes down – 3,000 people!
The bingo hall’s neighbours can probably hear players dabbing from their living rooms; we can imagine them watching the ripples in their tea caused from all that dabbing action, like that glass of water in Jurassic Park when the T-Rex comes along.
Sorry, went on a bit of a mental detour there, anyway…
The bingo hall in Cricklewood is seen by many as the capital of the bingo world, and it is, in fact, not just the biggest hall in the UK, but in all of Europe, and number 2 in the whole world.
Believe it or not, the hall has only been open since 1995, so it has seen some tough times during its life so far what with the decline of the bingo industry and all, but it has also played host to some prestigious bingo occasions in that time.
For example, it has hosted the Bingo Caller of the Year awards, and entered the Guinness Book of Records in 2014 when it became the first club to give away £100,000 in a single game. Wow!
Oh, and it’s open 24/7, boasts 3 restaurants, 2 bars, and regular entertainment alongside bingo. The likes of East 17 have performed there and tributes are a regular occurrence.
Biggest Bingo Hall in the World
It had to be in America, didn’t it?
Foxwoods is the name of the biggest bingo hall in the world, with a capacity of between 4,000 and 5,000 people.
Although it is now better known as a casino (only the 4th biggest casino in the world), Foxwoods did start life as a high stakes bingo hall and has held on to that side of their business despite other gambling products taking the limelight.
The place is now an entire resort, with six casinos, two hotel towers, and countless restaurants, bars and performance spaces.
But it all started with a bingo hall. In fact, up until 1992 it was known as the Mashantucket Pequot Bingo Hall, before rebranding to Foxwoods.
The resort is located in Mashantucket, Connecticut, on a Native American reservation, and the bingo hall called its first numbers in 1986, adding its first casino in 1992 and a hotel 5 years later in 1997.
It is a real destination for bingo lovers in the US, although with it being on Native American land it doesn’t have to comply with all state smoking regulations, so it can be pretty cloudy in there if you know what we mean.