For many, the best night out possible is a visit to the local bingo hall. After all, it gives visitors the chance to catch up with friends and have loads of fun, while also giving them the chance to win some money in the process!

Bingo halls are part of the UK’s makeup, however they are sadly declining in number recently. Why not learn more about bingo halls by taking a read through this page on the subject?

Bingo Halls

A History of UK Bingo Halls

Something similar to bingo has been played since the 16th century, however the modern form of the game was invented in the 1920s, in the United States. It wasn’t until the 1960s that bingo was made legal in the UK though - something that saw an explosion of bingo clubs being opened throughout the country. Many of these were converted theatres, such as the first bingo club, called the Top Rank Bingo Club.

The 1970s saw bingo increase in popularity massively, as it became one of the most popular ways for many to spend their evenings. By the middle of the decade, there were just under 2,000 bingo clubs in the UK, offering excitement and fun to thousands and thousands. Bingo was also very popular in the 80s, and this decade saw purpose-built bingo halls introduced, which were designed solely for people to play the game. There were fewer places to play bingo by the end of the 1980s, however there were many more large venues, as opposed to small clubs.

The 1990s saw bingo level off in popularity and the bigger names in the business, such as Mecca and Gala, establish their dominance. The 2000s saw the land-based bingo halls take a massive hit though, as online bingo started to become more and more popular. This led to the closure of many bingo venues, as they simply couldn’t match the online game.

Nowadays, there can be no doubting the fact that bingo halls are far less popular than online bingo. Don’t count out the local bingo hall quite yet though, as it’s still a great place to visit for fun and entertainment!

The Future of Bingo Halls

Many people automatically assume that the future of the bingo hall is a bleak one, thinking that it will soon be completely obsolete, thanks to online bingo. This is not the case though. In fact, some new bingo halls have opened recently, targeting a new demographic - younger players, looking for an alternative to the traditional night out on the town.

Hopefully the slight rise in popularity of bingo halls again means that they’ll be able to coexist with the online version of the game. Online bingo will always be the bigger part of the industry, but that doesn’t mean land-based bingo halls will disappear completely.

The UK’s Best Bingo Halls

In the UK there are two main names - Buzz Bingo and Mecca Bingo. They own the vast majority of the land-based bingo halls - although you will find some smaller names still around as well. You might be wondering where Gala Bingo has gone, as they were one of the largest names at one point. They were actually bought by Buzz Bingo, and all their venues were completely rebranded.

You will find that there are a number of flagship bingo venues across the country, usually based in large premises with everything needed for a good night out - including, of course, a well-stocked bar. These larger bingo halls are generally regarded as the best, as they attract the most players and also usually offer the largest prizes.

How Much Can Be Won in Bingo Halls?

This is one of the most important questions, so how much could you walk away with? Well, at the biggest bingo halls, you’ll often find a linked jackpot, meaning that the jackpot is linked throughout all bingo halls from the same company. This is very similar to a progressive jackpot in slots, as the jackpot rises as more people play the game. It can rise to be worth tens of thousands of pounds, however it is rare to see it won. Standard prizes can vary from a couple of pounds through to a few hundred pounds.

Online bingo offers much larger prizes though, with the top prizes sometimes tipping the £1m mark. Land-based bingo halls will never be able to compete with online bingo sites in terms of prizes, so those simply looking to win as much as possible should stick to playing online.

Dos and Don’ts in Bingo Halls

Visiting a bingo hall for the first time? Here are some things to do and not to do when you are there…


  • Feel free to socialise and enjoy yourself
  • Take your own dabber, if you want to
  • Get excited if you manage to win a prize


  • Talk excessively while mid-game
  • Buy too many cards - you might not be able to keep up
  • Spend more money than you can afford to lose

Play Bingo Today!

So, why not head down to your local bingo hall soon? You’ll have a fantastic night, plus you might even win some money! If you’re not able to make it though, just jump online and start playing bingo at one of the many UK online bingo sites we recommend.


How old do I have to be to play?
In the UK, the legal age to gamble is 18. This is the case at most bingo halls, although some only allow those aged 21 and over to play.

Are bingo halls legal in the UK?
Yes, they sure are, and they’ve been legal since back in the 1960s. Online bingo is also perfectly legal in the UK.

How much does it cost to visit a bingo hall?
This really depends. Some charge a small entrance fee, and you then need to buy tickets and, if you’re thirsty, a drink. You can spend from £5 up to hundreds of pounds in a night!

How many bingo halls are in the UK?
According to a report from the Gambling Commission, who oversee the gambling industry in the UK, there are 615 places to play bingo in the UK.

Are bingo halls better than online bingo sites?
This depends on what you’re looking for. Bingo halls are more sociable, however online bingo sites usually offer a bigger selection of games and larger prizes.