“ Address: The Castlegate Leisure Centre, Lombard Street / Newark, NG24 1BE / UK „
Over the past couple of months or so I have decided to take up going to Bingo a couple of nights a week with a close friend of mine. I never used to do this but it can be fun and the chance of winning big is all too appealing right?
I have been to a fair few bingo clubs and one that I have most recently visited is Riva Bingo in Newark, Nottinghamshire. This Bingo hall is situated about 15 miles from my house and I don't mind travelling places if its worth it. This is my genuine opinion on this club only, and not others in any other areas.
Lets get started with where it is.
At first it was a little tricky to find, I am not familiar with Newark itself as such having only been a handful of times over the years, and we did get a little bit lost. I had visions of it being a big club that stood out as I passed by but it is in fact part of a small complex building which includes an all you can eat chinese buffet and a family bowling alley. Riva is on the top floor of this complex and opposite a 24 hour Asda (which is where we can park as the bingo hall itself does not have off street parking facilities). As the bingo doesn't have its own car park due to where it is situated, we were told that if we parked in the Asda across the road and paid the £1 parking charge for the evening, we can claim the £1 back from book sales, I thought that this was a nice gesture and made up for it not having its own parking.
The building itself is easy to get round, an escalator is provided up to the top floor and a stairwell is also available for those feeling a little more fit than myself :P . As of yet, I haven't actually seen a lift or anything for disabled people so I can not comment on that thus far.
Once on the top floor, clear signs show which way to go and as you step foot through the double doors you are in Riva itself. The first thing you will see is a reception desk for which you would swipe your membership card or sign up if you are not already a member. This will probably be done by the person on book sales which is opposite the reception desk as there is never anyone on there. Membership is free but only available to over 18s due to it being a place of gambling.
Once signed up, you will then head over to book sales where you can buy the books for your session. prices are clearly marked on signs, and vary from day to day. Electronic packages are also available which I will mention more about later in the review.
Being new to this club I wasn't sure on what order the books were played in however the lady on book sales explained them all to me and even put them in the correct order for us so that we knew we wouldn't be playing the wrong books. You do not have to play every game, you can pick and choose depending on budgets, and the time you require to leave etc.
Once the books are purchased we then decided to go take a seat and take a look around.
What is there to do?
During interval times there is plenty to do. They have a machines area where about 20 various fruit machines are set up ready to steal your money. These vary from 10p a spin machines up to the big jackpot £500 machines. I am too scared to go on these myself as I know how much money they can take, however people did seem to be winning so good on them.
There is an active bar and diner there too which was very reasonable. A pint of lager was priced at £2.60 which was the cheapest I had seen in a while. A pint of coke was also priced at only £1.
There was a variety of food on offer, all priced at £2.50, this included burger and chips, lasagne, cottage pie etc and they are very big portions too, also really tasty which is always good. Last week when we went we got a voucher for £2.50 for any meal and any drink which included, coke, beer and bottles drinks such as WKD which we thought was a very good deal indeed. Free water is also provided for those who don't have a lot of money or fancy something refreshing.
Whilst the intervals are on, they play cash bingo games on the table tops, you do not have to play these but it can be fun and extra chances to win money. These games are usually priced at 50p or £1 a go. The idea is that you mark off the numbers on your board before any other players and you win the prize money. These games can get up to about £75 prize money. However the more money on offer, the more people who play thus less chance of winning!
For the smokers out there, there is a smoking area, however you do need to walk down 2 flights of stairs to get there and is situated to the right of the stage through the fire doors, it was a little tricky to find at first however and isn't very well signed. We also found that people didn't actually walk all the way down the stairs and were just smoking in the building half way down them as they were either cold or didn't really care, this made it very smelly and also illegal surely? The staff didn't seem to notice this or maybe were just ignoring it, but this is one thing I didn't agree on.
During bingo itself, we found it easy to follow and the called explained what games we were playing as we went along. I have only won once so far, but i don't mind as I just enjoy playing really, surely a big win will come once day right???
I have found the callers are very clear and not too fast and the staff quick to help when needed.
A lot of people seem to play the electronic bingo and if you don't know what that is, I shall explain below...
These cost more to play and you play what looks like a mini computer. The idea with these is that instead of playing just one set of paper books, you can play as many as you like but not have the stress of trying to mark them all off yourself. All you do is tap the computer and it marks the numbers off for you. It tells you what numbers you are waiting for, and even tell you when you win by making some annoying musical noise. The thing i don't like about these is that every time someone playing them is waiting for one, it beeps, and this can put you off if playing paper books/ get annoying when they all start going off.
The packages vary each day in price depending on how much the paper books are. However you can chose from bronze (being the smallest package, usually 12 or 18 books) then silver, gold and super gold which is always the most expensive. Worth a try though if you have a few extra pennies.
This is a big factor when going to bingo isn't it? If its rubbish, why bother? Thankfully the times we have been, the prize money has been very good. Usually around £10 for a line, £15 for two lines and anything from £50-£300 for a house. Well worth winning!
It is possible to ring up the club before hand to check prices and estimated prize money should you need to.
Overall I have enjoyed my visits to this club and will continue to keep going and hopefully win more in future visits. If you are in the area, or live within an area that has a Riva, I would recommend giving it a go. Let me know if you have been. For a small club it is friendly and cheap and a good night out.