Myrtle Beach doesn't have the flashy casinos of Las Vegas or Atlantic City, nor the horse racing tracks of Kentucky and California. But for some low-stakes fun with some possible big pay days, bingo is the name of the game on the Grand Strand.
But the term “bingo” might not be what you are accustomed to back home. While many know bingo as the game you grew up playing by using beans to cover lettered and numbered cards chosen by the caller, the game has a much broader definition locally. South Carolina laws prohibit the use of high-stakes video poker machines, but there are automated bingo machines that feature similar games. North Carolina laws are less strict so there are some higher-stakes outlets across the border.
Of course, Myrtle Beach also has the more traditional bingo halls and parlors for those who prefer the old-school game of paper cards and a live caller. This is more as groups can sit together and enjoy some friendly competition against one another, but the prize pools can be big and the daily jackpots can grow even bigger. Only players 18 and older are allowed, and you might want to bring your own marker if you plan to play multiple cards per session.
Here are five of the best places to play bingo on The Grand Strand. Good luck and remember, it takes a bingo winner to B-1:
- Big Bucks Bingo: Located in Myrtle Beach, this bingo hall is the only one to offer jackpots during the daytime. So if you are looking for a fun way to kill a cold or rainy day, this might be your lucky spot. A total of six jackpots are offered daily, beginning with the matinee at 1 p.m., followed by the nightly program that starts at 3:30 p.m. There are also daily drawings and consolation prizes for players.
- Downtown Beach Bingo: Conveniently located in the heart of the downtown district, this bingo hall hosts some large crowds for bigger odds and potential payouts. Open five days a week (Tuesdays through Saturdays), the first program is at 1 p.m. and the first of six daily jackpots open play at 3:30 p.m. Their motto “Play for Money; Entertainment is Free” certainly applies as Downtown Beach Bingo attracts a nice mix of locals and visitors to the games.
- Myrtle Beach Bingo: Despite the title, Myrtle Beach Bingo is actually located in Murrells Inlet, about 15 miles south of Long Bay Resort. But if you want to visit the “Seafood Capital of South Carolina” for a delicious dinner and visit one of the more laid-back places you will ever play bingo at, this is your spot. Small but friendly crowds come to play before or after dinner at the nearby Murrells Inlet Marshwalk.
- North Myrtle Beach Bingo: If you find yourself visiting the north end of the Grand Strand, North Myrtle Beach Bingo is a good way to spend a day or a late night. Hosting games until 1 a.m., this is the preferred bingo parlor for night owls. It also attracts some high rollers who are on their way to and from the nearby Big M Casino Boat, which by the way also offers its own brand of bingo (Keep reading, more info next.).
- The Big M Casino: For groups that have small-stakes bingo players and high-stakes gamblers, here's a nice compromise on the high seas. The Big M departs twice daily (except Mondays) and offers a wide range of games – from blackjack, poker and roulette to slot machines, video poker and even daily bingo. It takes about 45 minutes to get to international waters where gaming is legal, but passengers can pass the time to and from the Little River docks by playing a fun round of bingo.
After your round, return to Long Bay for a relaxing dip in the indoor pool and hot tubs, or go for a nightcap at the Ocean View Cafe or on your own private balcony. Win or lose, you always come out on top when you stay at Long Bay Resort.