History of the Gala Group (Gala Bingo)
Gala Bingo was formed in May 1991 when Bass plc. purchased Granada Theatre Limited's bingo clubs to merge with their existing Coral Social Clubs. Gala was officially launched on 17 October 1991 when 17 clubs re-branded and launched a new image. In 1997 a management buy-in led by John Kelly purchased 130 Gala Bingo clubs from Bass. The deal was backed by PPM Ventures.
In December 2000, the Gala Group made its first move into the casino sector with the acquisition of 26 Ladbrokes casinos from the Hilton Group. This established the Group’s leading position within the high volume, low stake sector of the gaming market.
Private equity firms Candover and Cinven acquired the Group in February 2003 for £1.2 billion and in August 2005 a third investor, Permira, bought a stake in the Company valuing the Group at nearly £1.9 billion.
In October 2005, Gala Group acquired Coral Eurobet in a deal that created a company with strong market positions in bingo, licensed betting shops and casinos.
In 2010 Apollo Management, Cerberus Capital Management and Goldman Sachs invested in a debt for equity swap and the mezzanine debt holders took ownership of the Group.
The new owners refinanced the Group In 2011 and embarked on a break-up disposing of its Casino businesses in 2013 in separate transactions with Rank Group Plc, Double Diamond Gaming Ltd and Gryphon AG.
In the meantime Gala Bingo in 2011 and 2012 acquired to clubs from the Noble Organisation and one from Fraser Capital Management.
In December 2015. Caledonia Investments plc backed a management buy out of the Gala Bingo Division led by Simon Wykes and Alex Wood.
About Gala Bingo
Formed in 1991, Gala Bingo is the UK's largest retail bingo operator with a 38% market share. Headquartered in Nottingham, it operates 131 clubs throughout the UK and has over 1.1 million active members (being customers who have visited a club within a 52 week period).
The bingo clubs trade under the Gala brand through a license agreement entered into with Gala Group Investments. Gala Bingo employs 4,000 people and holds the Investor in People Gold Standard. It is led by Simon Wykes, Chief Executive.
Caledonia Investments Plc, an investment trust company that is listed on the London Stock Exchange, backed a management buyout from the Gala Coral Group in December 2015 for £241m.
Gala Bingo's principle revenue streams are Bingo, slot machines and food & beverage. Whilst the game of Bingo is timeless, the way customers consume it is changing. Currently over 50% of our members choose to play their bingo on digital tablets, as opposed to the traditional paper bingo book. These tablets help the player manage their tickets and keep them up to speed with the game. Customers can buy and play their favourite bingo and slots games and also order something to eat or drink from the tablet, all from the comfort of their seat.
Gala Bingo have 1.2 million active members and welcome some 300,000 members every week to enjoy the game, catch up with friends, grab a drink and have something to eat.
Its newest club is the £5million investment at Southampton, Antelope Park, which opened in January 2016. The club is seen as the latest generation of Bingo clubs, setting the standard for the future development of the brand and layout for Gala clubs and is the first new build club for Gala Bingo in 9 years. Bingo clubs were traditionally built to provide a bingo product; Southampton has been built to provide a leisure experience. This is predominantly achieved by the creation of four zones designed to offer different experiences .
Firstly a traditional bingo club main hall, which is where players can choose to play in quiet intensity, synonymous with the game of bingo.
Secondly they can choose to play in our new Bingo Pub, which offers a more familiar, modern, light, pub-style environment, to leisure consumers, where customers are more likely to chat through the game with friends, whilst enjoying a drink and some food. Thirdly we have a heated “Bingo Garden”, where customers can play the games they love outside, and customers who smoke are able to in this area. Finally our arcade features some of the best known and up to date server-based content available.
For over twenty years, Gala Bingo has been the UK's most loved and trusted Bingo operator, a solid household name in the gaming industry, with over 143 clubs, 5 million members, and paying out prizes across retail and online of over £42million per week.
But what's Gala Bingo REALLY all about?
Well, in a nutshell, we're all about entertainment, a sense of community and having fun... what we call 'Play Happy'
This is what makes us who we are and it's what you love about us.
It's an awesome mix of:
Community: Gala Bingo is about making friends, with our Chat Hosts and members always having a laugh and enjoying the great banter in the chat rooms. It's a warm and friendly place where you'll always be made to feel welcome.
Thrills: There's nothing quite like watching those numbers come up, waiting for the one that's going to have your name flashing as the winner - it really is an eyes-wide-open experience! And at Gala Bingo, there's plenty of ways to taste that thrill with our large selection of jackpots and huge variety of rooms to choose from.
Value: Remember when you could go into a sweet shop with 10p and come out with a bag full of sweets AND change to spare? Here at Gala Bingo, there's games starting at just 0p - how cool is that? Yep, that's free bingo thrills to be had every day! Now that's what we call keeping 'good old days' value alive.
So that's what we're really all about - giving you a warm, welcoming place to play the great bingo games you love, and for much less than you might think!
If you're not part of the Gala Bingo community yet, sign up (it's really quick!) and take a look around - we're waiting to welcome you. :)
Gala Bingo - Play Happy!