Gala is best known for their long-running bingo programme that was formerly broadcast on Sky, and a few years ago made the transition to an online stream with a virtual chat room. In 2016, they established a separate online casino site called Gala Bingo. Confused yet?
We can certainly understand wanting to use the Gala Bingo name given the company's established history as one of the UK's biggest bingo providers. We can't help but wonder if the casino gaming aspect is suffering for it, however, with potential players assuming that Gala Bingo is simply the online bingo game and nothing else. To the contrary, this is a full-fledged online casino with a large selection of slots, table games and scratchers. Of course, numerous bingo options are on the menu as well.
Available Games and Software
Naturally, bingo is a main attraction here, more so than it usually is at other online casinos. You'll find 18 dedicated rooms for different game types; examples include Beat The Chaser, Deal or No Deal and Country Bingo with linked jackpots. Game options range from 40 to 90 balls. A number of these are unique to the property, such as Coconut Island.
The slots collection is quite substantial as well, however. There are over 220 slots with with a whopping 51 having a progressive or daily jackpot feature. That's actually one of the larger jackpot slot collections in the UK market at the moment!
The table game selection is small, but interesting. There are only four table games, but two of them are live! You can play live dealer roulette or blackjack along with a couple of varieties of video roulette.
Finally, you have a pretty large collection of scratchers, which have instant prizes ranging up to 1,000x your card price. 17 are available in total, but a couple are of a rather un-politically correct slant (Girls Just Love To Shop and Soccer Wives) such that we wonder if they might not disappear suddenly in the future - particularly considering that Gala is a Gaming Intelligence Award winner as Socially Responsible Operator of the Year.
Gala's award-winning mobile app makes just about all of this available on your iOS and Android mobile devices. The slots lineup is a little off-beat thanks to a very a la carte approach to game selection that draws on a broad variety of software providers: Playtech, WMS, Quickspin, Amaya and IGT just for some of the more recognizable names. The casino's gaming lineup definitely has a unique feel despite drawing on the catalogues of some of the industry's biggest names.
Deposit and Withdrawal Options
You'll be able to fund your account and make withdrawals with most of the major credit cards at Gala Bingo, along with many e-wallet options: Skrill, PayPal, and Neteller. You can also opt for prepaid PaySafeCards or EcoPayz if you prefer, and bank transfers are also possible. Most deposit options have a minimum transaction amount of £5, with the lone exception of the e-wallet services where you'll need to pony up £10 minimum per account top-up.
We were very pleased with Gala's withdrawal policy, as withdrawal times are about as fast as possible in the industry. E-wallet payouts are processed the same day, and credit card withdrawals go through in the mandatory one to three days it takes for external processing. There is also no minimum withdrawal amount (technically it is £0.01) for each payment method, which is a really rare stipulation in the online casino world.
Safety and Security
Gala Bingo is based in Gibraltar and is overseen by both the Gibraltar Gaming Commission and the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, making it one of the better-regulated properties online. You can add to that the fact that Gala has been a high-profile gaming company in the UK since the 1980s. Current owner GVC Holdings is one of the biggest movers and shakers in the UK online gaming market - they own a number of other high-profile properties such as Ladbrokes, PartyPoker and Foxy. All-in-all, this is about as safe a bet as there is online in the UK.
Bonuses and Player's Club
New players at Gala Bingo can get started with their choice of a casino or bingo welcome. The bingo bonus includes a week of free bingo games, plus £30 for future play. The casino bonus gives you £20 in free play without requiring a deposit.
Here's how the new player bingo bonus works. When you create a new account, you're automatically eligible to play free bingo games in the Newbie Room and the Allsorts Room. You'll be able to do this for your first seven days. The Newbie Room runs 12 games per hour, each with a prize pot of £25. The Allsorts Room runs seven games per hour that have prize pots ranging from £6 to £10. True, it's not huge money, but you don't have to risk a single pence to get it. If you opt to purchase £10 in bingo tickets when you get started, you'll also be rewarded with £30 credit for use in buying even more tickets during your first week!
What if you choose the casino welcome bonus instead? You'll get £20 in your account for use at the slots. Do note that there is a 50x wagering requirement and a £100 winnings cap, however. As with the bingo bonus, you can opt to deposit £10 to get an additional bonus - in this case, £30 for use at the Rainbow Rewards slot (wagering requirements also apply here).
Unless you really don't enjoy bingo, that option seems to be the better value here. The winnings may be small, but they're yours when you get them.
Finally, let's take a quick look at Gala's loyalty program, Gala VIP. This program has five tiers, ranging from bronze to diamond. As with most UK online casinos, you'll receive reward and loyalty points for your various wagers. Loyalty points gradually move you up through these ranks. Each new rank nets you an assortment of benefits that include weekly free bingo games, regular cashback and deposit match offers, and points multipliers. Make it all the way to the top and you can expect access to special VIP rooms, tickets to major events and other elite perks.
Is Gala Bingo Worth It?
Gala Bingo is definitely worthwhile if you're already an established bingo fan - it's one of the largest and most generous options in the UK market. If you've never really given bingo a go, this is also a great place to try it with their initial week of free games that can win you small amounts of real cash.
The casino gaming selection is more of a side dish to the bingo entree here, but the 200+ collection of slots is pretty substantial (particularly if you enjoy progressive jackpots). So if you enjoy bingo and slots, Gala is well worth a look.