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Bingo is not given a statutory definition in the Act other than that it means any version of the game irrespective of by what name it is described. It is to have its ordinary and natural meaning. Two types of bingo are commonly understood:

  • cash bingo, where the stakes paid make up the cash prizes that are won 
  • prize bingo, where various forms of prizes are won, not directly related to the stakes paid

Cash bingo is the main type of bingo played in commercial bingo halls. They also offer prize bingo, largely as interval games. The distinction between the two versions of the game is abolished for commercial operators, and the holder of a bingo operating licence will be able to offer any type of bingo game, whether cash or prize. This means that premises with a bingo premises licence, or a casino premises licence (where the operator holds a bingo as well as a casino operating licence), will be able to offer bingo in all its forms.

Apart from commercial bingo halls, prize bingo is traditionally a game played in arcades, especially seaside amusement arcades, or at travelling funfairs. For these operators, prize bingo is being subsumed within the allowances for prize gaming in the Act. This means that, subject to limits on participation fees and prizes, adult gaming centres, both licensed and unlicensed family entertainment centres, and travelling fairs, (or any premises with a prize gaming permit) are able to offer prize gaming, which includes prize bingo. In this form of gaming, the nature of the prize must not be determined by reference to the number of people playing the game, and the nature or the size of the prize must not be determined by reference to the amount paid for or raised by the gaming.

Licensing authorities need to satisfy themselves that bingo can be played in any bingo premises for which they issue a premises licence. This is a relevant consideration where the operator of an existing bingo premises applies to vary their licence to exclude an area of the existing premises from its ambit and then applies for a new premises licence, or multiple licences, for that or those excluded areas.


Last updated: 26th January 2017