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Gala Sell All Its Land Based Bingo Halls

Wednesday, Oct. 28th 2015 11:28 AM

Over the years we’ve followed the ebb and flow of the retail industry’s biggest players. There’s been a number of purchases and sales, but this latest move from Gala is possibly one of the biggest we’ve seen here. In one fell swoop Gala has sold its entire portfolio of high-street bingo halls. That’s 130 halls with more than 1.1 million members, a snip at £241m.

The halls were bought by the Caledonia investment group, whom also own stakes in other leisure industry businesses such as Park Holidays. The full details of the sale are here so we won’t go into detail on the background of the story, but look at some of the potential implications and speculate on potential issues.

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Now Available – The 1st PlayingBingo.co.uk Anthology Of Bingo

Friday, Aug. 7th 2015 12:33 PM
book-cover

We’re proud to announce that our first ever book is now ready for public consumption. It’s taken a while to come to fruition, but we’re finally able to show off our book. It’s titled The 1st PlayingBingo.co.uk Anthology Of Bingo, and collects together a range of short-stories, poems and photographs all inspired by the game of bingo, and you can buy it right here!

Featuring a diverse range of content, from sci-fi to kitchen sink drama, the book has been compiled from the short-listed and winning entries to the poetry and writing competitions we held a few years back. There’s also a number of full-colour photo pages in the book, featuring the work of Michael Hess and Henry/Bragg. All in all it’s a nice little compilation of content that’s should have a few items to appeal to anyone.

I’m going to call it here and now, this (to my best knowledge) is the world’s first (and only) anthology dedicated to the game of bingo. Why it’s taken this long for someone to create such a compilation I can only guess, but there you go. If anyone out there knows different and would like to quosh my claim, then please feel free to let me know. Until then, I’m sticking with my assertion that there’s never been a collection in print like this one before, and this is a genuine world first. ;)

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Bingo Awards, Recommendations and Seals Of Approval

Wednesday, Jun. 4th 2014 7:56 AM

When you visit a bingo site online you may find that they have a ‘seal of approval’, ‘rating’ or award emblem located somewhere around their home page. Many of these are valid awards and recommendations however do they all carry much value? With so many portal operators now also operating pay to play brands, is it acceptable that they award their own sites the seals of approvals, ratings or awards without actually ‘fessing up’ to being the owner of the portal offering the approval, rating or award too?

For example, Live Bingo boasts a ‘Recommended by Bingo Port’ logo at the bottom of the page – the site is owned by the same people as own Bingo Port. Paddy Bingo, this site although fairly new to the industry has a rating from Two Little Fleas – the same people own both sites. Zingo Bingo sports a ‘Top 5 Placed Winner’ in the Which Bingo Awards 2012, again there is a connection between Which and Zingo.

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Tory Bingo Budget Boo-Boo

Thursday, Mar. 20th 2014 11:02 AM

Well, there’s an old saying about it sometimes being unpleasant to get more than you bargained for than less, and since yesterday’s budget announcement, bingo has been getting a lot more attention than usual and for all the wrong reasons. With the other saying ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’ in mind, bingo is firmly in the public eye, at least until it’s tomorrow’s chip wrappers. Let’s have a quick round-up of what’s been occurring out there, and plant our tongues firmly in our cheeks.

It all started when Tory “PR Genius” Grant Shapps posted this tweet and the below picture.

Tory Bingo Budget

Well, I could barely keep my cloth cap from flying off in rage at the condescending nature of this message. I fed the pigeons, then came in and ate some Hovis to calm down, and thought what would Jeremy Kyle do in this situation? My wife filled up the tin bath and I drank some pale ale, and soon was calm again. We’re all in this together I thought to myself, and all was well with the world again. I could drink 500 pints and save £5 to go and have a game of bingo. Happy days! Thank you masters, we’ll be working extra hard at the coal face today.

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The Results Are In! Poetry Competition Winners Announced

Thursday, Nov. 28th 2013 8:23 PM

It’s been a busy year for our cultural quest to get bingo a body of creative work to be proud of. With the launch of our Creative Corner we’ve had a couple of great projects come to fruition, the latest of which is our 1st Poetry Competition.

The competition closed at the end of October, and since then the staff have been busy judging the entries to create the final shortlist, which went off to our guest judge, Fawzia Kane and she’s gone through the shortlisted poems to pick the winners. I’m pleased to announce the winners are as follows:

  • 1st place: Simon French – Winter’s Lucky Lady – £150 winner.
  • 2nd place: Sadie Few – Bingo Wings – £100 winner.
  • 3rd place: Michael Harrup – Bingo – £50 winner.

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New Gallery – Michael Hess: Bingo And Social Club Five Years On

Monday, Jun. 24th 2013 1:41 PM
Bingo Caller at the Perseverance Social Club - South Shields

Bingo Caller at the Perseverance
Social Club – South Shields

Back in April we announced that Playing Bingo had commissioned the photographer Michael Hess to visit a number of UK bingo halls, in a follow-up to his his excellent book Bingo And Social Club. The original book was a visually stunning document of the players and people in a number of clubs in England, originally published in 2010, and shot over a number of years prior to that.

As an occasional photographer with the odd bit professional work under my belt, I was really impressed with the work Michael did for the book. Not only was it a great series of artful character portraits, but one of the most important social documents the game has. There is little else like it available that records the retail game in the UK in the 21st century. With that in mind, I approached Michael with a mind to commissioning more work along these lines, to help expand on this important visual archive of UK land bingo. The fruits of this partnership can be seen in our new gallery in the Photography section of the Creative Corner – Michael Hess: Bingo And Social Club Five Years On.

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Short Story Competition Winners And A New Poetry Competition

Friday, Mar. 29th 2013 7:05 AM

I’m pleased to announce that we have our winners for our first ever Short Story Competition. We opened the competition back in the spring of 2012, in which time we received 174 qualifying entries, on a range of bingo related subjects. The stories covered a range of styles and ideas including humour, horror, raunch, romance and more. Along the way there was more than the odd murder, a good few laughs and the odd watery eye, all in all the team here were thoroughly entertained during the judging.

We drilled the entries down until we had a short list of 15 stories, when we let our guest judge Rachel Trezise have the tricky job of deciding the final winners. Well, it was no easy task but she placed the winners in to the top 4 prize positions. She also she commented on the high quality of the entries she had to judge and the entertaining range of styles and stories.

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Get Creative!

Friday, Feb. 8th 2013 1:01 PM

I’m happy to announce that there’s a brand new section at Playing Bingo. The Creative Corner has launched, incorporating our old Your Stories section and expanding in it in all new cultural directions. It’s something I’ve been planning to do for a long time and finally been pushed to create ahead of the closure of our first creative competition.

Considering its mainstream popularity, bingo has struggled to inspire much creative work about itself and the culture and people involved with it. Sure there’s been the odd film and comedy series, but beyond that the bingo hall and bingo culture remain fairly under served in the world. Well, no more – I want to change this, I want there to be loads of content related to bingo, be it art, photography, writing, poetry and what’s more, I’m being pro-active about creating it.

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