Monday 17th May marked a significant date in the calendar this year for Bingo fans; Bingo Halls could finally reopen following the government’s third national lockdown that began in January. Now almost 6 weeks on, Bingo-goers across the country are ramping up for what could be an even bigger day…
Sunday 27th June marks National Bingo Day! This is the first in what could become an annual day dedicated to celebrating the great game of bingo. Whilst the day has been celebrated in the US for years now, 2021 marks the first year for National Bingo Day to be formally recognised in the UK!
Naturally, the team here at OnlineBingo.co.uk wanted to get involved, so we decided to catch up with some of the great people behind the UK’s biggest bingo halls to see how they plan to commemorate the day, after months of uncertainty for the industry.
Buzz Bingo - Nikki Ashby (General Manager at Buzz Bingo Medway) + Ronnie Hall (General Manager at Buzz Bingo Metro Centre)
Buzz Bingo is the largest operator of bingo clubs and halls in the UK after it rebranded from Gala Bingo in 2018. Buzz Bingo champion Bingo across the UK with 92 halls from Aberdeen to Torquay.
Majestic Bingo - Eric Howell (Operations Director)
Majestic Bingo’s journey started in 2014, with the purchase of seven bingo clubs. Since then Majestic Bingo has gone from strength to strength and now has 14 Clubs across the UK.
MrQ - James Booth (Head of Acquisition)
MrQ is one of the UK’s leading online operators. Operating on proprietary software, MrQ has changed the game with its no wagering requirements, meaning players win real cash while playing for free.
Dabbers Social Bingo - Jonny Unknown (Creative Director)
Based in Aldgate, Dabbers Social Bingo claims to be the UK’s first and only purpose-built, contemporary bingo hall; offering bingo-goers huge prizes, delicious food and a ‘one-off custom-built ball machine that must be seen to be believed.
How has Covid-19 impacted the business and how did you adapt?
“COVID-19 has had a huge impact on our business, and over 50% of the bingo sessions we offer our customers were lost in the last 12 months.” - Eric (Majestic Bingo)
“Remote working being forced upon us rather abruptly was a logistical challenge but one which has worked for the business. Trusting employees to work from home isn’t easy but it’s something that provides flexibility and a better work-life balance.” - James (MrQ)
“Throughout the pandemic we started an initiative called ‘Buzz Buddies’ which saw our General Managers call their local players to check up on them. We know that many of our elderly players isolated alone for months, so having a friendly and familiar voice to chat to made all the difference.” - Nikki (Buzz Bingo)
“We created a virtual show called ‘Quingo’ in which we changed the ball's calls to numerical questions. The show was hosted through Zoom and by our brilliant comedians who’d interact with our guests and bring everyone together.” - Jonny (Dabbers)
What has the reception been like since you reopened?
“Once they’re back inside they seem really comfortable and it feels like we’re almost back to normal.” - Eric (Majestic Bingo)
“We’ve had lots of incredible wins at clubs across the country. On our reopening day alone back in May, £506,298 was won! It’s always amazing to see players win big and make lifelong dreams come true.” - Ronnie (Buzz Bingo)
“We’ve been selling out shows and everyone has been very understanding of the social distancing measures we have in place.” - Jonny (Dabbers)
What is your favourite Bingo memory?
“I was the Manager at a Bingo Club in Tooting and having over 1750 people in the building for a single bingo session. I remember standing at the front and seeing everyone look at me as I welcomed them to their night out and I thought to myself, this is what it must be like to be a performer on stage!” - Eric (Majestic)
“My favourite memory has to be the reopening celebration which I hosted in South Shields a while ago – it was newly refurbished and we had visitors from all the other clubs come down to see it.” - Ronnie (Buzz Bingo)
“I love seeing the happiness in our customers' faces when they win big. Being able to be present during these special moments means so much to me and the excitement never lessens or fades away.” - Nikki (Buzz Bingo)
“For our New Year’s Eve show ‘Bingo Voyage’ back in 2019 we gave away a trip to the Caribbean complete with a private villa and pool. The bingo game resulted in two couples having a dance off. The player who got the most cheers then dropped to his knees on stage when he opened the suitcase to reveal he’d won the star prize. He’d recently got married and as the couple couldn’t’ afford a honeymoon. It was a goosebumps moments when the room erupted, I’ve not felt anything like it before.” - Jonny (Dabbers)
How do you plan to celebrate Nation Bingo Day this year?
We’re fully engaged with the initiatives from the Bingo Association and also have a week of celebrations, including money-off vouchers to give to our customers on the day itself to use the following week as a thank-you for you participating in National Bingo Day – meaning everyone will be a winner. - Eric (Majestic)
“We’ve got lots of fun plans in the pipeline – one being giving out our famous chicken basket meals to anyone who calls out ‘house’ on the numbers: 27, 06 or 21 during any main event game in all clubs on Sunday 27th June. We’ll also be welcoming local MPs to clubs to chat about the community feeling bingo brings to their constituencies; there may even be a chance for them to call some of the numbers themselves. Finally, we’ve also got some fun celebrity appearances planned so keep your eyes peeled on our Instagram.” - Ronnie (Buzz Bingo)
“MrQ will be running a special bingo promotion, offering both new and existing customers free bingo for the day. Personally, I’ll be celebrating with the OB team over Skype with a bottle of red wine and bingo-based anecdotes.” - James (MrQ)
You can celebrate National Bingo Day by visiting your favourite online bingo site or going to your local bingo hall this weekend for few games! As for Online Bingo, we'll be celebrating National Bingo day with a continuation of our week of content! Tomorrow we'll be stepping into our time machine to take a look into the future of bingo, and on Friday we'll be giving our readers some exclusive bingo offers to enjoy.
Josh is an Affiliate Manager at Traffic Label and is currently studying for his Master's degree in Marketing Communications, so he knows all the right lingo!
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