Fundraising with bingo, casino, poker or race nights
You can raise money for charity by running a poker night or a bingo night, but there are rules you must follow.
A casino, poker or bingo night run as non-commercial equal chance gaming
Equal chance gaming includes games such as poker or bingo, where the chances are equally favourable to all participants and players are not competing against a bank.
In non-commercial equal chance gaming the money is raised for charity by charging an entrance fee, participation fee, or through other payments related to the gaming.
The maximum amount that a player may be charged is £8 per day (this includes entrance or participation fees, stakes and any other payments in relation to the gaming).
You must ensure that the total amount paid out in prizes remains below £600 in total across all players. However, where an event is the final one of a series in which all of the players have previously taken part, a higher prize fund of up to £900 is allowed.
Apart from reasonable costs, proceeds (the money raised from the event):
- must not be used for private gain
- must all be given to a good cause (including any entrance fees, sponsorship, and the difference between stakes placed and payout made).
Reasonable costs would include costs incurred by providing the prizes. If third parties are selling goods or services at your event, for example if someone is selling refreshments, this does not count as money raised for the charity or good cause and can be retained by that third party.
Participation of under 18s
Persons under 18 are allowed to participate in bingo, casino, poker or race nights if they are run as non-commercial gaming as described above.
A non-commercial poker or bingo night can be run without a licence, or any other form of permission, providing it is run as described above or as private gaming.
A casino or bingo night run as non-commercial prize gaming
This is a different way to run your casino or bingo night.
The players must be told what good cause will benefit from the profits of the gaming before play begins. The prizes must be advertised in advance and must not depend on the number of people playing or the stakes raised.
In non-commercial prize gaming, the gaming determines the individual winner or winners, for example by counting who has the most casino chips at a set time. The winners are then awarded the prizes that have been advertised in advance.
Other ways to run race nights
If you are organising a gaming night it is your responsibility to ensure you are compliant with the law. If in doubt, you should seek legal advice.
Advice on non-commercial and private gaming and betting
Gambling Act 2005 statutory conditions for equal chance gaming