The return of  land-based Bingo

Following a lull in recent years, land-based Bingo is making a comeback with bingo events being held across the country.  There is no doubt that it can be a great social pastime getting together with others to have a drink and chat and have the opportunity to win some money.  However Bingo is covered in the Gambling Act 2005; and organisers offering it on a regular commercial basis must hold an Operating Licence issued by the Gambling Commission.


Bingo for charity

It is possible to offer Bingo on a small scale if for example it is classes as non-commercial gaming for a good cause such as at a charity event.  The Gambling Commission has issued a guidance note on the conditions that will apply to such events; a copy can be viewed by clicking here

In summary:-

  • No one under 18 can play and there must be measures in place to prevent this happening
  • All players must know what the profits from the Bingo games will be used for.
  • Profits in this case are the total stakes paid less the total prizes paid out and other reasonable costs for organising the event
  • The Stake or payment to play is restricted to £8 per player per game
  • The total value of prizes cannot exceed £600 except where it is a final event where all players have participated in a previous event on a previous day; in such case the value of the prizes cannot exceed £900

Bingo in pubs and bars

It is also possible to offer Bingo where the organiser holds an alcohol licence. Again there are restrictions on how such games are played and this has now been covered by an advice note set out on the Gambling Commission website and can be viewed by clicking here.

In summary:-

  • No one under 18 can play and there must be measures in place to prevent this happening
  • Profits cannot be made from the Bingo games itself ie there can be no participation fee (or entrance fee) or a cut from either the stakes or from the prizes.
  • Any money paid to play must be included in the prize money.
  • Stakes are restricted to £5 per player per game.
  • Every player must have an equal chance of winning a prize (no offers of free games for multiple plays).
  • The Bingo games cannot be linked to Bingo games played at other premises.
  • If the maximum stakes or prizes n a 7 day period exceed £2000 the Gambling Commission must be notified.

For further advice on gambling law in the UK including providing facilities to play Bingo call our Gambling Licensing expert Debbie Hough Bollard today 01526 341162

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