We have seen operators looking for options that will allow them to continue to offer bingo games to consumers while their bingo premises are closed due to Covid-19 restrictions. These normally include some form of remote communication, for example, broadcasting games over the internet via social media, meeting apps, other websites or via a telephone link for customers to play along at home.
LAs are reminded that if operators wish to do this, they must have a full remote bingo operating licence from the Commission. Many premises-based bingo operators only hold a non-remote and an ancillary remote operating licence. However these do not permit them to provide games outside of their premises. This is because one of the conditions placed on bingo ancillary licences is for the bingo facilities to be provided only to people on the licensed premises, as set out in 16(3)(b)(ii) of the Gambling (Operating Licence and Single-Machine Permit Fees) Regulations 2017.
Bingo can also be offered by alcohol licensed premises (such as pubs) and certain clubs under the rules for exempt gaming, and as non-commercial equal chance or prize gaming by people wishing to fundraise. However, the rules for these types of bingo games mean that they cannot be run via the internet, telephone or any other means of remote communication.