Gambling sectors

Circumstances in which you do not need a bingo operating licence


 

There are some circumstances in which you do not need a bingo operating licence:

At home

You can play bingo at home (including any private house, or a hostel or halls of residence) as long as more than half the people playing live there, and there is no charge for participating.

Fundraising

If you are organising a fundraising or other non-commercial event you can run a bingo game (as long as it is not a remote bingo game) to raise money for a charity or good cause. You need to:

  • tell the players the cause you are raising money for through the bingo game
  • give all the money raised at the event (including any entrance fees, sponsorship, fees for traders stalls, and other fees) to the good cause, minus reasonable costs you have from organising the event.

Reasonable costs include the cost of the prizes.

See our Advice on non-commercial and private gaming and betting - November 2012  for more information.

Pubs (public houses) and clubs

Bingo can be offered on alcohol licence premises, members' clubs, miners welfare institutes and commercial clubs without an operating licence. However, the games must:

  • be for adults only
  • not be linked with games played on other premises.

Clubs must be aware that there are limits on the amount which they can charge for participation:

  Club gaming permit Club machine permit WITHOUT either a club gaming permit or club machine permit
Members' clubs £3 maximum, per person, per day £1 maximum, per person, per day £1 maximum, per person, per day
Miners welfare institutes £3 maximum, per person, per day £1 maximum, per person, per day £1 maximum, per person, per day
Commercial clubs Not available £3 maximum, per person, per day £1 maximum, per person, per day

 

Pubs must ensure that:

  • no participation fee is charged
  • they remain within the stake limit of charging a maximum of £5 per person, per game.

Both alcohol licensed premises and clubs must ensure they do not exceed the maximum of £2,000 per week in stakes/prizes. Those wishing to exceed this limit need to apply for a bingo operating licence.  

Bingo as prize gaming

You can run bingo as a prize game without the need for a bingo operating licence in adult gaming centres, family entertainment centres, unlicensed family entertainment centres and travelling fairs.

To comply with the rules for prize gaming, the bingo games offered in these venues must:

  • have a maximum stake of £1 and a prize worth no more than £70 per game
  • offer no more than £500 of prizes per game 
  • have no more than £500 in stakes per game.

Bingo halls can run prize bingo as an interval game, as long as licensed bingo is played on the same day. To comply with the rules for prize gaming in bingo halls, the bingo games must:

  • have a maximum stake of £1 and a prize worth no more than £70 per game (in a venue where under 18s can take part)
  • have a maximum stake of £1 and a prize worth no more than £100 per game (in a venue where under 18s cannot take part)
  • offer no more than £500 of prizes per game.
  • have no more than £500 in stakes per game.

Bingo machines

Some category D gaming machines are designed or adapted to play bingo as a prize game. If you have prize gaming permit or a family entertainment centre permit you can make these machines available to play. The machines must comply with our Gaming machine permits code of practice - June 2007

 

Page last reviewed: January 2014

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