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Should I attend my next bingo social event?

Bingo is a wonderful game for sociability. If you’re in a traditional bricks and mortar bingo hall, it’s likely that there are hundreds of people around either playing or watching the excitement – check out storbonus.com.

There’s always a good vibe in-house and bingo nights are very sociable occasions indeed. Similarly, online bingo has stepped up its efforts to be a sociable event too. When bingo first transitioned online in the mid-1990s, many fans were worried that the social aspect of the game would be lost.

The opposite has been the case, however. With in-game chat functions between the players, you’re free to write to each other as much as you like during play, letting the others know how you’re doing and what you still need.

However, there’s more to social bingo events than you may think.

Bingo social events

Playing online bingo as a ‘social club’ is great. Normally, the group members will all sign up to the same site and log in to play at the same time. That way, wherever you’re based, in Newcastle or Newquay, you’re all together playing the same game. This would be an impossibility in a traditional bricks and mortar establishment.

Sometimes though, groups like to form external bingo social events, and this is where the UKGC get involved in the rules. Some “social bingo” events take place in pubs and clubs where alcohol is served.

The UKGC stipulates that:

“Both alcohol licensed premises and clubs must ensure they do not exceed the maximum of £2000 per week in stakes / prizes. Those wishing to exceed this limit need to apply for a bingo operating licence”

Who’s playing social bingo?

Over the last few years, there has been a significant increase in a new format for playing bingo. It’s fair to say that it’s aimed at a younger age demographic like students and young professionals.

These events combine bingo with various other forms of entertainment like fancy dressed themes, quizzes and party games.

The UKGC has to work extremely hard in tandem with local authorities in the towns and cities where these bingo social events take place in order to combat the serious concerns about non-compliance with the statutory regulations.

The UKGC website www.gamblingcommision.go.uk/for-licencing-authorities states that:

  1. Bingo can only be offered within an alcohol-licensed premises.
  2. No profit can be made from the bingo itself. This means they cannot charge a fee for participating in bingo – nor can they take a cut from either the money paid to play bingo (stakes), or from the prize amounts awarded.
  3. It must be possible for bingo players to gain entry to the premises without paying an admission fee. This is because admission fees to premises where bingo takes place are treated as participation fees i.e. profit.
  4. All stakes for bingo games must be returned as prizes. So, if they raise £500 in total from all bingo players, they must return the whole £500 in prizes.
  5. The maximum stake they can charge is £5 per person per game.
  6. The chances of winning a prize must be equally favourable to all players. 
  7. The operator can’t link up the bingo games with other bingo games taking place on a different set of premises.
  8. No under 18s can be allowed to play. They must have controls are in place to prevent underage gambling.
  9. The bingo must comply with the Code of Practice for equal chance gaming in club and premises with an alcohol licence – this includes compliance with the maximum stakes of £5 per person per game.
  10. They must notify the Commission – and may need to apply for an operating licence – if the bingo involves more than £2000 in stakes, or they award more than £2000 in prizes, in any seven-day period.

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