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Gala Bingo Verdict
Gala Bingo scores very highly, because they’ve gone to great lengths to provide quality in all aspects of the site. From the site design to the bingo games (such as the fun Emmerdale room with a themed caller), they go one up from the standard templates. No site is ever quite perfect, but Gala only has a few things left to fix to get there. A site for others to follow.
Design & Usability
Gala’s site stands out from others in both layout and art, which is largely photographic. They have animations for loading times and artwork based on the big-name games they carry, such as The Chase. The home page uses slides and videos to give the site a very modern and high-tech feel. There is a seamless style to each page.
Navigation is easy here. The home page has big boxes for you to find the main games, plus some info and social links. Help can be found at any time, on a floating bottom bar. You can clearly see that they’ve thought the design through and not just used a premade template. That’s not to say that the site is flawless; for example, if you go onto the About section, there’s no link to go back to the main site.
Software & Gameplay
The bingo software will give you a choice of a new or classic lobby, which won’t mean much to new players but those who’ve played in the past at least get a choice, which is always a plus. The new look lobby is quite smart and minimalist, though a splash of artwork would be good. You have easy access to the games and banking options.
The bingo console is very smart and easy to use. You can quickly pick your ticket amounts and the game has some animation. Chat gets a good-sized window and finding hosts and chatters is very easy; this site is always populated. You’ll find games and bonus codes in chat. Several games have special features too, so you won’t run out of things to do. Very good software overall.
Safety & Security
Gala Bingo has a full set of licenses and credentials as you’d expect. They are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission and Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner. They also carry the seal of IBAS, an independent body that ensures fair play.
Payments & Withdrawals
Gala Bingo accept a full range of payment methods. MasterCard, Maestro and Visa card are accepted, or you can use various e-wallets such as PayPal, Neteller, Skrill, EcoCard and PaySafeCard. It’s very good to see this broad range, especially PayPal.
Depositing is easy, with a £5 minimum for all methods apart from PayPal which is £10. You use a set of big, bold icons to deposit, built into the main site. The process should only take a few clicks. Withdrawals take a fairly speedy 2-5 working days. Close to being perfect!
Gala’s help section can be found easily form any page. You get a nice, clean blue page with panels for each section; account, about the site and more. This is a very thorough help page which can answer questions quickly, essentially acting as FAQs. They use visual guides for the technical matters, a great touch for customers who aren’t computer savvy.
Contacting customer support is a slightly tricky process, as they make you go through a set of menus first. These are designed to narrow down the problem by first presenting general answers. This is useful, but sometimes you just want to get straight to the contact options. The site offers live chat, phone support and email, 24/7. Overall, a very thorough service.
Bonuses & Promotions
Gala makes an effort with promotions, as you’d expect. They offer both bingo and slot promotions, plus there are some exclusive promos and rooms for ‘chipper’ members, relating to their loyalty scheme. They have some big jackpot events (currently 10k is on offer in their new The Chase room) and prize draws on slots. There are free bingo rooms, chat games and charity tie-ins. There are plenty of things to find on the site, all brightly presented and with clear terms.
The welcome bonus here is fairly modest, set at £30 for a deposit of £10 or more. This needs to be wagered through four times before you can withdraw.
You’ll find a mobile page at Gala when you click on the iOS and Android icons on the home page. They kindly provide a video tutorial to guide you to their mobile bingo, which is a great idea for those who aren’t too savvy with technology.
Android users will definitely need this because they don’t have an app on the actual Google Play store, so you need to install the app file manually. This is a shame and a bit of a clunky procedure, but at least the app is there. iTunes users on the other hand can directly download either the bingo or slots apps separately.
You can play the mobile bingo directly through your browser if you prefer. The mobile site is fairly smart and looks good, but chat could use a bigger window.
Variety & Originality
Gala have a huge bingo variety, including 90 ball, 80 ball, 75 ball, 50 ball and 40 ball! This is a great selection and totals at around 22 rooms, which is fantastic and should keep players busy for a good, long time. This big selection includes several unique rooms themes around popular UK shows like Coronation Street and Emmerdale. The rooms actually reflect these themes once you get in, too, featuring themed bingo callers. A really nice extra touch!
While the slot selection is quite small compared to some sites, the slots they have are high quality and again they include several unique titles based on big brands, like The Chase and Britain’s Got Talent. Having these unusual, new slots is preferable to a host of old, unpopular slots.
Loyalty & Rewards
The VIP scheme at Gala is simply called the VIP Club and involves a four-tier system, from Bronze to Platinum. You can easily see what each tier grants you and each section has its own artwork; you get a lot more than just a reward chart here.
Each level gives you more promotions and benefits, such as free bingo, double loyalty points, deposit bonuses and more. Higher tiers get dedicated account managers and guaranteed prize promos. These are really nice, tangible benefits. There are even VIP slots. You need to be invited to each new tier.
All players earn Happy Points as they play, which are reward points you can convert to cash. There is a separate loyalty ladder to the VIP scheme, rising from Chilled to Chuffed, netting you more points and access to special games.