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Gala Leisure has at last revealed the new name and new branding for its high street locations. Buzz Bingo has officially launched in Castleford and Peterborough and the first customers will walk through the doors today (24th May).
This is the first part of the £40m investment that Gala Leisure is pumping into the bingo halls over the next two years in the hope of continuing the growth in revenue seen since the purchase by Caledonia Venus Acquisitions in December 2015. The success will be measured in part by seeing if the new brand will attract new, younger players to the bingo game.
While paper bingo tickets will always be part of a visit to a bingo hall, increased investment in the electronic terminals and what they can do could be a key feature of attracting the very tech-savvy 18-30 brigade to sit alongside the more mature player.
Three more venues will be following Peterborough and Castleford in the next few weeks, then the rest will follow over the coming months.
Why was the name Buzz Bingo chosen?
Chief executive Chris Matthews explained that the choice was made after consulting both players and employees:
"Our unique relationship with customers will always be considered at the core of our offer. There is a sense of nostalgia for a game of bingo and a sense of fun and community spirit that goes hand in hand."
He went on,
Keep up to date with Buzz Bingo here
"Keeping this spirit of community, our customers love, is very important to us as we expand in the future, into the online space and attract a new generation of players. It’s that feeling we want to bring to a wider audience through the launch of Buzz Bingo."
HiJingo! to hit the high street
An interview with forward looking social entertainment entrepreneur Adam Breedon reveals that we may soon be seeing a brand new version of bingo on the high street.
Mr Breedon is the founder of Social Entertainment Ventures (SEV) and he has already brought us All Star Lanes bowling alleys, ping-pong bars Bounce and mini golf clubs Puttshack. Now he is turning his attention to bingo, intending to turn the game on its head by making the new style a fun combination of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, The X Factor and a rock concert, with venues to be known as HiJingo!
This bingo revolution is set to not only offer a night of fun entertainment, but thanks to potential partnerships is also looking to ensure players can have the chance to win flights to Paris and New York, as well as some huge cash prizes.
Mr Breedon said of the project,
“We are in the process of developing technology which runs the bingo, but also choreographs the way the venue sort of pulsates with the emotional flow of the experience of playing bingo.”
He believes there is as much mileage in the basic bingo game as there has been in bowling, darts and mini golf - all much loved passtimes from which he has developed financial successes.
“So what we’re doing is taking something that’s a traditional pastime … (and) creating a massively enhanced product and experience to make it that much more appealing to a wider audience.
“And Bingo, again it’s been around for so long, it’s just the most wonderfully simple compelling experience, which is why it’s stood the test of time.”
The initial plan is for three new HiJingo! bingo bars to open in the first year and a further four by 2021. The first will likely be in London, with other locations to be revealed later.
Mr Breedon certainly has high hopes for the new concept, looking to generate £20m from the venues by the time they are all fully operational. Put together with his other high street entertainment venues you see where the ideology lies -
“Our plan is to own the whole social entertainment, competitive socialising space in the UK and the US, and that is our strategic plan with a view to float on the US stock market in four to five years.”
That's a big vision, with bingo at its core.
LeoVegas is a big brand name when it comes to online gambling and so it comes as no surprise that it came under scrutiny from the UK Gambling Commission. Significant failings were found at the operator itself and among its affiliates relating to misleading advertising and self-exclusion failings resulting in the £600,000 financial penalty.
UKGC reveals that during their investigation, between April 2017 and January 2018, they located 41 misleading adverts, the firm was judged to have sent marketing material to 1,894 people who had previously self-excluded and allowed 413 previously self-excluded customers to gamble without speaking to them first or applying a 24-hour cooling off period before allowing them to gamble. It is said the firm had also failed to return funds to 11,205 customers who had self-excluded.
At the time, Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, suggest that other operators should 'learn lessons' from the LeoVegas failings. It seems that LeoVegas themselves took this warning to heart and the site is one of the first to integrate the UK GAMSTOP self-exclusion scheme during the initial phase of its UK-wide roll-out. There is a link to a whole separate website called LeoSafeplay with all the guidance you could possibly need to ensure you gamble responsibly and they have also cut ties with many affiliate partners and strengthened control procedures regarding what they can publish on behalf of the LeoVegas brand.
LeoVegas is going through a highly acquisitive phase with RocketX and IP&S Limited its latest purchases. The latest figures from May 2018 indicate that this is not hampering the progress of the firm as they reported revenue growth of 76% for Q1 to €77.4m with organic growth, excluding markets closed in 2017, up 61%.Discover more about Leo Vegas
Gran of three Yvette Price-Mear, 56, is to undertake the first ever 'bingo-a-thon' for charity, visiting and playing at 14 Mecca Bingo clubs over just seven days. Yvette lives in Mansfield and will cover more than 600 miles during the seven day challenge.
The event is being sponsored by Pet Crematorium in Nottingham, who are covering her travel costs, and Mecca Bingo, who will provide the bingo cards and food, as the bingo-loving gran aims to raise as much money as possible for her chosen charity, Pet Bereavement Support. Any winnings made from each game will be donated directly to the charity, a listening service that refers bereaved pet owners to local crematoriums.
Yvette is no stranger to fund raising having been active in that area since she was a teenager and has so far raised half a million pounds for various charities.
This fundraiser will see the gran visit the Mecca Bingo halls in Burton, Wednesbury, Acocks Green, Bilston, Stoke on Trent, Leicester, Doncaster, Rotherham, Wakefield, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and Beeston, finally ending the bingo marathon at Mecca Chesterfield on Saturday, 5th May.
Caroline Webb, spokesperson for Mecca Bingo, said:
Click here if you would like to donate to the charity
"We are always happy to support our customers with their ventures and are really pleased that Yvette has chosen our clubs to help raise money and awareness for such a great cause.
"Everyone at Mecca Bingo wishes her luck and we all can’t wait to hear all about it at the end of the tour."
Even though it has not been on our TV screens for a while, there are not many people out there who will not know of the iconic show Who Wants to be a Millionaire hosted by Chris Tarrant. The premise of the show that ran successfully from 1998 to 2014 was that you could walk away a millionaire just by answering 15 questions correctly.
To mark the 20th anniversary of the programme there will be a week-long run of shows starting Saturday 5th May, but this time hosted by Jeremy Clarkson.
The Sun has reported on a bizarre experience for one 'contestant' that occurred during rehearsals recently.
Bingo caller and quiz buff Alan Russell had volunteered to be a stand-in contestant for one of the trial runs that were taking place. He took the experience in his stride, but surprised everyone by answering all 15 questions correctly, which on the real show would have net him a £1 million payday. In this instance though he only received £80 for his time in the studio during the practice session.
It has been reported that Alan was not overly disappointed as he knew it was not for real and that he 'loved sitting in the iconic chair', although he is now considering applying to take part for real should the show return on a permanent basis.Try Who Wants to be a Millionaire Bingo
Brand new format for the National Bingo Game in clubs
The National Bingo Game is an integral part of a night out 'at the bingo' and usually offers the biggest prize pot of the night. Some changes have been announced by the National Bingo Game Association that come into force on 30th April and will result in more winners than ever and a big prize winner in every venue.
The new game will be played twice-a-day at all 275+ member bingo clubs all around the UK, so based on anticipated ticket sales the National Bingo Game Association is expecting to create over 5,000 winners every week. The cost to play the new National Bingo Game will be £1 for 2 tickets or £2 for 5 tickets.
The improvements have been made possible by the new format of the game being 50-ball instead of 90 ball bingo, with bigger, fixed odds jackpot prizes being offered for calling bingo in 16 numbers or less (£50,000), 20 numbers or less (£1,000) or 24 numbers or less (£100).
Being only a 50-ball game means the game is completed more quickly and each venue can now choose themselves when to play the game during the session. Players at Gala Bingo, Beacon Bingo, Carlton Bingo, Castle Bingo and Mecca Bingo will be able to enjoy the new game, plus those at other independent venues that currently take part in the National Link Games.
Miles Baron, chief executive of the National Bingo Game Association, commented,
“We are excited to be launching a new version of one of club bingo’s most well known and loved games. This will only be the third time in over thirty years that the game has had a substantial change: with this latest version of the game we wanted to bring it up to date, with a game that takes less time to play, finds its winners immediately and creates more of them."
He went on,
“Changing to a 50 number fixed odds format has meant that there have had to be substantial changes in the game’s software, which has also enabled us to make the game’s technology web based and in doing so improve future flexibility and lessen technological barriers for operators seeking to offer the game in their clubs and venues.”
It has been announced that one of only two sites operated on the B-Live Gaming platform by Dazzeltag is to move software on 30th April 2018. Bright Bingo is on the move and, surprisingly, the brand is moving from the unique proposition offered by B-Live to the more ubiquitous Dragonfish Network.
Having only two sites to network does make the prizes on B-Live quite small most of the time, so the main reason for the move is being given as being able to offer bigger pots and more prizes, bigger events, offers and promotions that will all benefit players' enjoyment of the site.
If you are already a member of Bright Bingo you will probably receive a communication from the site advising you of the change. The important thing to take from this is that players and their accounts are not being transferred to the new platform and will have to join up again. This might mean a couple of minutes to do the registration again, but at least it means being able to benefit from the welcome offer, which we underdstand is going to be a first deposit bonus of 10 slot spins and £70 of bingo tickets - indicating the site might actually be sitting on the no wagering Real Bingo Network and not the standard Dragonfish Network itself.
That first deposit will also give access to the special free £250 weekly game that takes place on a Friday and looks like it might be unique to Bright Bingo.Keep up with what's going on at Bright Bingo
WhichBingo acquired by XLMedia
As most of you will know WhichBingo has been around for a long time and we pride ourselves on the offers and information we provide. Our innovations within affiliate marketing and the knowledge of the industry built up over 15+ years makes us an award-winning organisation.
The excellent reputation and success of WhichBingo means that it became an attractive target for the leading provider of digital performance marketing, XLMedia, and the business has now been acquired by them for an undisclosed sum.
Thanks to you and the thousands of real player reviews, together with the annual WhichBingo Report and WhichBingo Awards, our comittment to bringing you immediate information about new bingo site openings and the best offers around, the site is perfectly suited to ensure XLMedia has a strong foothold in the UK market.
Ory Weihs, Chief Executive Officer of XLMedia, said of the deal:
“We are delighted to have acquired such a well-regarded UK brand. WhichBingo fits perfectly into our strategy of acquiring high quality assets across regulated markets.
We continue to see a healthy pipeline of acquisition opportunities as we seek to both strengthen and broaden our market reach during 2018.”
The deal also includes Bingo.org.uk, BingoWorld.co.uk and QueBingo.com.
Regular readers can be assured that it is business as usual here and that WhichBingo will continue to thrive and ensure you continue to receive the best offers and most timely bingo news.
As we have been updating WhichBingo with all the required terms and conditions relating to the bingo welcome offers, we noticed that some of the details regarding sites on the 15Network from Jumpman Gaming varied from site to site and were a little puzzled as to why this might be the case.
It seems that the long-awaited updates to the software and the internal features and offers of these sites have now begun rolling out, but with some decent improvements comes some bad news too.
It looks like the major changes that have taken place may be to attract new players, but existing players revisiting the updated sites will have to reset their passwords and re-register any payment cards, but may be able to take advantage of the new player offer of a spin of the Mega Wheel if they wish.
There are some new promotions that look like they are tailored to match those on the Jumpman slots sites and some long overdue additional payment options, with Paysafecard and Paypal now available as well as debit and credit cards.
Lots of new slots have been added with popular games from Microgaming and Quickspin now available as well as those from Eyecon and NetEnt.
However, the focus has moved away from bingo as far as we can see, with most offers being built around the slots. The welcome offer is all slots and you have to go looking for the bingo rooms as bingo is now just part of the All Games section.
The biggest problem as far as we can foresee is that the wagering requirements at these sites are being made more restrictive than ever, with the revamped sites featuring 65x wagering on any bonus received, up from the previous 40x wagering. At a time when most other sites are taking these requirements downwards or removing them altogether this seems like a retrograde step from Jumpman Gaming.See if Showreel Bingo is right for you
Bingo for Nintendo Switch get the thumbs down
We may know all about online bingo, but we know very little about video games and gaming consoles. So when it comes to bingo on a gaming console we have looked to the world of video gaming for an opinion.
Ryan Janes on Nintendo Insider has played the Nintendo Switch Bingo game and it's fair to say he does not rate it very highly. In fact he rated it as a 2 - which in this case translates as 'awful'.
Now, gamers are used to things moving fast and furiously and so coming to a bingo game was never going to end well to be fair. There is not much you can do with this game to make it exciting to people who are used to engaging stories, interactive progression and high adrenaline genre games, although Buzzer Bingo makes an effort by all accounts.
There are a number of options for gameplay, but there is no monetary reward as there would be in normal online bingo. In the words of Ryan, 'BINGO for Nintendo Switch is tedious, repetitive and just plain dull. None of the four available games offer anything close to fun, the constant focus on searching for numbers wearing out its welcome quickly.'
We've had a quick (and very basic) look and the tinny music and Japanese headings that pop up mean that about 3 minutes would be the longest it would be possible to stay on this game.
The established names in bingo continue to strive to keep players interested and the social bingo games on Facebook continue to decline in popularity, so trying to engage young gamers was never going to be an easy task.