Top tips on pub bingo

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Gambling in the united kingdom Gambling commission

The maximum stake per customer for any game of pub bingo is £5
The maximum stake per customer for any game of pub bingo is £5
Bingo in pubs is becoming increasingly popular and can be a way of providing a fun, alternative form of entertainment for your customers while potentially increasing food and drink sales. Eyes down for some top tips from licensing specialists Poppleston Allen.

Bingo is permitted in pubs under ‘exempt gaming’ provisions within the Gambling Act 2005. However, it is important to bear in mind that there are strict limits on stakes and prizes, which must be adhered to.

Here are our tips for providing bingo within your premises:

  • Ensure that you stick to the permitted limits for stakes and prizes. The maximum stake per customer on any game of bingo is £5 and you must ensure that no more than £2,000 per week is paid out in prizes. Under the exempt gaming provisions, no levies or deductions are permitted from stakes and no participation fees may be charged. Also, games of bingo in your premises cannot be linked to games taking place in other premises. If you intend to make a profit from bingo in the form of a levy or rake, or to provide linked bingo, you must apply for a bingo operating licence from the Gambling Commission and a bingo premises licence from your local authority.
  • There is a code of practice for equal chance gaming in pubs, which is issued by the Gambling Commission and applies to bingo. The designated premises supervisor of any premises has a responsibility to ensure that the code of practice is adhered to. The responsibilities contained within the code include supervision of games, ensuring that age-verification measures are in place, and — bizarrely — ensuring a ‘pleasant atmosphere’ for players.
  • Your customers can use your Wi-Fi to connect to the internet via their mobile phone, tablet or other mobile devices in order to use bingo websites. In this instance, the limits on stakes and prizes would not apply. However, customers must use their own account to play bingo.
  • You must be vigilant if customers organise and play their own games of bingo while on your premises. Even though their bingo games may not be organised by you, customers must still stick to the stake and prize limits. If the limits are exceeded, you would be facilitating illegal bingo and could face prosecution or a review of your premises licence on the grounds of crime and disorder.

Bingo in pubs is regulated under the same regime as poker in pubs. It is important to ensure compliance with the rules and regulations, as both the Gambling Commission and local authorities are proactive in terms of detecting and stopping illegal gambling.

If you are convicted of facilitating illegal gambling, you could face up to 51 weeks’ jail (or six months if convicted in Scotland) and/or a fine of up to £5,000 for each incidence of illegal gambling.

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