Big News Roundup – Closures, SkyBingo, Gala TV, Rank And Callers Competition

With the Online Bingo Summit this week, and the run-up to it previously, I’ve let lots of little stories slide under the radar and go unmentioned. So, to right that wrong, here’s a bit of a headline blast for you. First up I wanted to flag a couple of Bingo hall closures, which as you may know, is always sad news for me to be reporting. This site grew out of my love for small, old style Bingo halls, and to see more of them slip away is a real disappointment for me.

First up is Birmingham’s Gala Bingo club in Great Barr, which will play its final session on the 23rd of June, closing its doors with the loss of 17 jobs. Also, there’s news from Pontypridd that the Stardust club shut its doors on Monday. There are no news stories on the event, but Wikipedia claims the cause was the loss of customers thanks to the opening of a Castle Bingo club nearby.

With all the talk of TV and convergence at the Online Bingo Summit this week, it seems fitting that there’s now a new contender in the TV / online crossover stakes. Sky Bingo has this week announced the launch of Sky Bingo Interactive, the new red button service. If you fancy a game of Bingo, you can access the service by pressing the red button whilst on any of the following channels: Sky One, Sky Two, Sky Three, Sky One High Definition, Sky Real Lives, Sky Active, and Sky Betting and Gaming. Sky Bingo is offered in the menu, and you will need a Sky Bingo account already set up to fund and enjoy the games. I think you can expect to see a lot more services like this start up in the near future, and it won’t be long before TV Bingo is as saturated as online bingo.

Still, a session in front of the TV is a bit more comfy than a session of online bingo, so maybe Sky Bingo could just do the trick. In other satellite channel related Bingo news, Gala TV have taken the opposite step to Sky. Rather than taking their Bingo to the TV, they’ve gone and taken their TV Bingo and put it on the Web. I’ll let Brett tell you more about Gala’s move over on his blog.

There’s also been a couple of stories about Mecca Bingo / The Rank Organisation worth noting. Firstly, the Malaysian gaming group Gucco have increased their stake in the company to a 14.15% stake, following further purchases of stocks in recent weeks. The race to takeover Mecca is still going on, and Gucco seem to be pretty active at the moment in their attempt to acquire Rank Group stocks. In other news, Mecca Bingo are trialling some new coin operated arcade style games and amusements in their clubs in partnership with of Gamestec. It’s interesting to see Mecca go this way, and it should certainly help Mecca gain new revenues with the recent loss of gaming machines. Personally, the chance to go play a 10p coin pusher would be a lot more fun and appealing than a session on the bandits, and I think it could have a much wider appeal.

Finally, although this year’s National Bingo Caller Of The Year has been cancelled, there’s still Gala Bingo’s final to be held. Seven finalists will meet at the Gala Bingo on Kingsbury Road in Birmingham on the 29th of June to find the Gala Bingo Caller Of The Year. There’s been a couple of features I’ve spotted on two of the finalists. Tracey Claire is representing her Birmingham club and there’s a feature on her here. One of her competitors will be Sheffield’s Roger Hartley. You can find out more about him in the piece here.

And there we have it, I think that’s the pick of the stories for me at present. I need another holiday after catching up with all that! I’ll be getting stuck into a report from the Online Bingo Summit the next week, so it’s busy, busy, busy here! If you’re playing this weekend, good luck!

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