Bingo for fundraising
You can raise money for charity by running a bingo night or bingo fundraiser, however you must follow the relevant rules.
Where it can take place
Anywhere which does not have a gambling premises licence. For example, this can include things like school halls, places of worship and community spaces.
However, the gaming must take place at a non-commercial event at one of these venues.
The event is non-commercial if all the proceeds from the event are used for fundraising and the reasonable costs of organising the event.
This includes money from:
- entrance and participation fees
- commission from traders
- any other source.
Under 18s can take part in the following kinds of 'non-commercial gaming'.
There are specific rules for this kind of gaming if you want to hold it at a racetrack.
You do not need a licence for this kind of gaming. However, you must make sure you follow all of these rules.
What you must do
- make sure the game is played as an equal chance game (essentially all players must have the same chance of winning)
- tell everyone who is playing what good cause you’re raising money for in advance. For example, tell players you’re raising money for Cancer Research UK before the bingo night.
What you can't do
- use the profits from any gaming for private gain
- use any of the proceeds from your non-commercial event for private gain.
You can only use the profits raised from bingo to give to the good cause you’ve advertised.
You can only deduct (take away) money from the total raised to pay for reasonable costs. For example, costs for prizes, printing bingo cards or providing refreshments.
You cannot make money for yourself or for your business from the event.
What’s classed as profits
Money raised from the bingo by stakes, entry or participation fees, minus costs from giving prizes or other reasonable costs.
If a third party is selling good or services at the bingo night, for example refreshments, this won’t count as money raised for charity and can be kept by the third party. For example, if a local baker has a stand at the bingo night selling homemade cakes, they can keep any money raised from sales on the night.
There are two ways to run bingo for fundraising
1. Non-commercial equal chance gaming
You can charge players a maximum amount of £8 per person for all the games at the event per day. This includes entrance or participation fees, stakes and any other payments linked to the gaming.
Make sure that the amount or value paid out in prizes is below £600 in total across all players, unless the event is the final in a series in which all of the players have previously taken part. In this case, a higher prize fund of up to £900 is allowed.
A wheelchair basketball club want to run a bingo night to raise money to buy one of their members a custom-built racing wheelchair. The organisers will let everyone taking part know the good cause the event is raising money for in advance.
Players are charged no more than £8 in total to take part.
All the players will physically play the game of bingo together, at the local church hall which they have hired for the evening. After the event, the organisers will deduct a small amount of money to pay for the costs of buying the bingo cards and pens. The rest of the money raised will all go to the good cause.
2. Non-commercial prize gaming
You must tell everyone who is playing what good cause you’re raising money for in advance. For example, tell players you’re raising money for Cancer Research UK before the bingo night.
There are no limits on stakes, prizes, participation fees or any other charges for this type of gaming.
However, you must not base the value of the prizes on the number of people playing, or the amount raised by the game.
The PTA of a primary school want to hold a bingo night for parents, to raise money to buy kit for their athletics team. The organisers will let everyone taking part know the charity the event is raising money for in advance.
They'll also advertise all the prizes in advance. As there are no limits on the value of the prizes, local businesses have donated prizes which include a luxury hamper and a spa day.
All the parents will physically play the game of bingo together, in the school’s hall. After the event, the organisers deduct a small amount of money to pay for the costs of buying the bingo cards and pens. The rest of the money raised will all go to the good cause.Previous page
Bingo at a premises: prize gaming
Last updated: 7 July 2021
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