Cash bingo is primarily a commercial activity and is regulated by the Gaming Act 1968. A copy can be obtained from the Stationery Office.
Commercial bingo can only be played at premises licensed by the Gaming Board for Great Britain. Cash bingo, however, can also be played in certain circumstances on unlicensed premises.
Ability of social clubs to hold bingo games for their members
Section 40 of the Gaming Act 1968 allows clubs who do not wish to register under the 1968 Act to promote games such as cash bingo, whist and bridge among members and to impose a charge for playing on members and bona fide guests.
To be exempted under section 40, the club must comprise at least 25 members and have been established for a purpose other than gaming. Only club members are allowed to play. Members of the public cannot be admitted.
A charge of no more than 60p per person per day can be levied and the money must be used for the benefit of the club and not for private gain. Although there is no limit on the stakes for this type of bingo, the stakes must be returned in the form of prizes.
Unlike commercial cash bingo games, children are allowed to be present during these games, but cannot take part.
Bingo games for charity
Section 41 of the Gaming Act 1968 allows for bingo to be played for charitable purposes by members clubs. This provides a valuable method for clubs to raise funds for their club or society as a whole by promoting games of equal chance at entertainments to which the public can be admitted. There are no registration requirements.
A club may provide bingo as an entertainment in accordance with s.41 of the Act, providing it is not held for private gain. Proprietary clubs formed for commercial purposes are, therefore, unlikely to qualify.
A single payment of up to £4 may be charged to cover admission and stakes and any other charges for playing. The total value of prizes must not exceed £400 in one day. A series of entertainments over two days can be held. The total prize for the final game in the series cannot exceed £700.
After the deduction of prize money and reasonable expenses, all profits must be applied to purposes other than private gain, such as charity or the funds of a members clubs or sporting or recreational purposes.
Last updated 22 April 2004