Land-based bingo halls haven’t had the easiest time in the last few years but there have been reasons for bingo players to celebrate in 2023 as new destinations have opened their doors at various locations around the country.
The sight of a closed-down bingo hall alongside a once bustling high street has been all-too-common in recent times, but there have been positive signals of a mini revival for land-based bingo in 2023 thanks to initiatives across the United Kingdom.
After the hammer blow of the smoking ban back in 2007, bingo halls faced a battle to keep player numbers up amid the growing popularity of online bingo, and then the COVID-19 pandemic kept everyone indoors for a long time, hitting the coffers yet further.
But people far and wide still love for going out for a game of bingo and remain on the lookout for the best places to play, and at WhichBingo we love to celebrate land-based bingo every bit as much as online bingo.
So it is with pleasure that we can report on the following new bingo halls opening their doors and reviving spaces for everyone to come together to meet with likeminded people and play in the very latest cutting-edge bingo facilities, enjoy a few games, and keep the social fabric of the country alive and well.
Club 3000, Mansfield
Located in the former Apollo Bingo Hall in Mansfield Town Centre, Club 3000 bingo has ushered in a new lease of life for local lovers of the game since former owners Majestic Bingo sold the club earlier this year.
Club 3000 has revived a number of much-loved bingo halls around the country in recent years, and the newly opened Mansfield club has already produced some very lucky winners. A 52-year-old club member from Warminster was visiting family in Mansfield when she went down to Club 3000 for a night out and won the National Bingo Game Jackpot prize of £50,000. Club 3000 Mansfield Duty manager Mike Evans described the club’s reaction to her win, saying: “We were all so excited to celebrate the win alongside our winner. The atmosphere in the club was electric, everyone was so happy for her, she made a good choice in visiting our club that evening whilst visiting her family! It is especially special as it is the first time that the club has won the National Bingo Big Prize, under the ownership of Club 3000 Bingo.”
Shorty’s Social Club, Cowdenbeath
The Cowdenbeath community’s love of bingo has helped to revive a local bingo hall after Shorty’s Social Club launched in the former Premier Bingo club on October 15th 2023.
A packed crowd enjoyed bingo, music and dancing long into the night at the new club, which is named after the late mum of club manager Thomas Wilson, who took over the lease when Premier Bingo went into administration and closed the club’s doors.
Thomas told The Courier: “The bingo hall was much more than just a place for gambling. I have been here for 25 years and we had become a family. It is somewhere that people gather and meet and socialise. It’s a place to meet friends and have a good time.”
Shorty was Thomas’s nickname for his mum, and he expressed his amazement at the support he has received from the community in order to give Perth and Cowdenbeath its only land-based bingo destination.
He said: “The support has been incredible. I’m overwhelmed by the fundraising efforts of the community. The money raised so far has paid for all the re-decorating.”
About his mum, he added: “We are big on the family feel of the club and I thought it was only fitting to include this amazing woman in this big chapter of my life since she isn’t here to see it with her own eyes. I’m sure she will be looking down and saying ‘go for it son’.”
Funland Arcade, Portrush
Not every town or city has a building purpose-built for bingo that can house a new club, and in Portrush in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, an application has been approved to repurpose part of an amusement arcade in order to host games of bingo.
The Funland arcade at 12 Dunluce Avenue in Portrush would, according to the proposals, have an area towards the rear of the building converted into a bingo hall by removing a load-bearing wall to create more space, among other refurbishments.
According to the report from the council’s development management officer, the plans are “a part change of use from an existing arcade to a bingo hall”, and local residents and visitors to Portrush can soon look forward to having a new place to play bingo.
“It falls under refurbishment and there are no external alterations, so it is visually acceptable,” the report continues. “There is no increase in street frontage as the front elevation remains the same as existing. There is no increase in gross floorspace as the new bingo hall is contained within the existing floor area of this arcade. The proposed bingo hall is considered appropriate for this site in the town centre of Portrush.”
Club 3000, Blackpool
Blackpool is something of a Mecca for bingo lovers and anyone looking to play there nowadays can visit Club 3000 Blackpool and enjoy the £5 million refurbishment that helped to create a truly luxurious, modern playing environment at the club.
Since opening its doors to the public on Saturday July 1st 2023, Club 3000 has been a big hit, extending the company’s collection of bingo clubs in the northwest to nine destinations.
As we reported back in March, the club has an enthusiastic manager in Sean Connolly, who worked at 24 different clubs around the country before taking on the job at Club 3000 Blackpool, which he said he was “incredibly excited and proud” to accept.
Moss Lane community hub, Orrell Park
The former Carlton Bingo Club on Moss Lane in Orrell Park is steeped in history that stretches all the way back to 1930 when it first opened its doors as the Carlton Cinema.
Its stadium-style auditorium regularly attracted more than 1,000 people for events throughout the decades that followed, before it closed in 1974 and then reopened as Carlton Bingo, under the management of the Coral Leisure Group.
In recent years the club fell on hard times, closing its doors in 2017 before a buyer was sought two years later. The club’s new proprietor is seeking to turn it into a community hub by investing £150,000, and the local authority’s licensing panel is reviewing the proposals.
The proprietors are planning to seek a bingo licence for the building in the future which, if successful, would reconnect a historic building with its illustrious past.
It’s been around a little bit longer than the others in our list, but an honourable mention goes to Club3000 Kilmarnock. The former Buzz Bingo site benefitted from a £3.5 million investment by Club3000 and it opened on 27th August 2022. Since that time the operator is proud to say that they paid out nearly £5million in winnings at that venue alone in its first year of operation.
To us, that means that they are offering a state of the art product with great staff that players want to go back to again and again.
Looking at this list we have to give credit to Club3000 for really taking a pride in the bingo game and having the confidence to invest in state of the art venues when so many other brands on the high street (or your local industrial estate) are closing their doors.