For years when I was a kid, two weeks every summer were spent with my family, including Grandma Maudie and Grandad Sam at the seaside. Every year, we’d rent a house or occasionally stay in a hotel in somewhere like Poole, Dorset (we stayed many years at Sandbanks, before it was overrun by those pesky millionaires . Grandma and Grandad saved all their change all year, and the first night of the holiday, the massive Quality Street tin of cash was meticulously counted out and shared between us, ready for our nightly visits, usually after fish and chips for supper, to one of the arcades along the seafront.
Another highlight of our stay was the bingo hall. Grandma was a bingo demon, and I loved all the calls: ‘two fat ladies: 88!’ and ‘dancing queen: 17′. Apparently there are still Mecca Bingo Clubs all around the country, but now, of course, the big thing is online bingo. Mecca Bingo invited me to give it a go – something I’ve never done before.
The layout is bright (and very pink – I approve) and quite easy to navigate. There is lots of advice for new players too – you don’t have to be a member – most of the games can be played just for fun, but if you want to try and win, you need to deposit some cash. Mecca double your first deposit (between £5 and £50), so if you start with, say £10, they’ll give you another £10 in site credit when you’ve used your money.
The first thing I noticed was that it’s not just bingo. You can play all sorts of games, like Deal or No Deal and another game based on the X-Factor, but I went for the standard bingo game. You just click on the ‘play bingo’ button and then you have to choose a chat name which will show up and identify you to the other players. You’re then taken into the ‘bingo lobby’ where you choose a ‘room’ to play in, then it’s just a case of buying tickets (from your deposited cash) and you start playing.
Another big part of it seemed to be the chat – you can chat to the other people you’re playing with (no weirdos, happily – all very nice people) and it does actually enhance the game.
The verdict: I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed it! I could see it being a bit addictive and a terrible time waster, but still, good fun, and the chance to win a bit of cash too.
Thanks to Mecca Bingo for inviting me to play!