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Since the Act came into force we have received many enquires from both the traditional bingo industry and new or potential entrants around new game formats proposed to be offered as bingo in bingo licensed premises. We have also had correspondence with The Bingo Association about how bingo is defined.

Although only the courts can provide a definitive interpretation of the law, we think it helpful to publish this advice setting out our views on the essential requirements for a gambling product recognised as bingo.

Under section 291 of the Gambling Act 2005 (opens in a new tab), as well as providing bingo, holders of bingo premises licences may also offer facilities for prize gaming1 as long as the gambling complies with the conditions attached to all bingo operating licences by the Gambling Act 2005 (Operating Licence Conditions) Regulations 2007 (SI 2007 No. 2257) which impose limits on both participation fees and prizes.

Although bingo is traditionally played for a prize pool comprising players' stakes less participation fees, it may also be played for a set of prizes. These prizes are not determined by the number of people playing or the amount paid or raised by the game, therefore they are in a format which meets the definition of 'prize gaming'. This type of bingo format is often referred to as 'prize bingo', especially when played for modest prizes.

Bingo of this type also meets the essential following requirements and may be offered in bingo licensed premises without relying on the specific permission contained in section 291 of the Gambling Act 2005 (opens in a new tab). It also does not have to comply with the participation fee and prize limits laid down in the 2007 Regulations.

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How bingo is defined
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