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It's a real shame that many people have a pre-conception about 'going to bingo' and visiting a land based bingo club. In these times when everyone is choosing their leisure activities with care to get the best value possible while still having a great time, a night at the bingo should not be overlooked.
We proved this recently with what was regarded as a highly successful visit to the Mecca Mayfair bingo club in the heart of Leeds.
While some of us are bingo veterans we had some true bingo virgins in our midst who had never even seen a 90 ball bingo ticket before and had no clue about the game (that's techie types for you), but the Mecca staff could not have been more willing to help and were so friendly it was a pleasure to deal with them.
From management right down to card checkers, everyone was hands on and nothing was too much trouble and we saw this repeated throughout the club, not just for our little group.
Many people will remember playing bingo in ex-cinemas and sitting in rows with their books on their knees! Modern day bingo clubs are often purpose built and have loads of individual seating, all with their own tables. Most of these have 'Cashline' or 'party' bingo which is fast and furious 80 ball bingo that is played between the main bingo games. Boards cost from 50p each and there are games that are just played within the club you are in offering a great chance to win, to linked countrywide games with prizes worth thousands of pounds.
This also means that customers can take advantage of a drink at the bar or a coffee, tea or a meal from the cafe area without having to try and balance everything like an acrobat on Britain's Got Talent.
Speaking of the food and drink, the quality and pricing of this also makes a trip to the bingo a great option for a night out. There are not many places today where you can pick up a four pint pitcher of lager and a glass of wine for a tenner!
Technology also makes it easier than ever to play the bingo game itself, even for total novices and is great for those that like to chat. While paper books will always be the choice of bingo purists, the new hand held electronic terminals will appeal to the younger market. These have your tickets loaded on to them and you just touch the screen anywhere as the numbers are called and all the books are marked for you. This means that more books can be played giving more chances to win. As you get down to one to go the number you need is shown on screen as you still have to shout to stop the game and claim your prize.
Some Mecca Bingo venues specifically cater for younger patrons with late night 'Bin-glo' sessions that take place after the main evening session and are a bit wilder than normal, while others utilise Rock and Roll Bingo as an alternative to number bingo - you mark off pop songs on your bingo card as you hear them instead.
We had a great night out at Mecca Bingo and our thanks go to all the staff that helped us have such fun. A couple of us enjoyed a bingo win, which also helps, but a great time was had by all. The trip served as a reminder that while online bingo is great to have on hand 24 hours a day there is still a great time to be had actually at a bingo hall and is a great alternative to just going out and sitting in a pub for a couple of hours.
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