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Do we need a licence to play bingo in our village hall?

Not if the proceeds are going to a 'good cause' (i.e. they are not being used for private gain). If this is the case, then the bingo is regarded as non-commercial gaming and is exempt from licensing. However, if any individual involved in organising the bingo benefits financially (i.e. there is private gain), then a licence would be required.

There are two ways in which non-commercial bingo may be provided:

Non-commercial Prize Gaming

This is gaming where the nature and size of any prizes are determined by the organiser before play commences.  There are no statutory limits on stakes, prizes, participation fees or other charges for non-commercial prize gaming.  All players must be told what cause the money is being raised for and all the proceeds (once legitimate expenses have been deducted)must be allocated to the specified cause.

Non-commercial Equal Chance Gaming

This is gaming where the chances area equally favourable to all players and is generally the way in which non-commercial bingo is provided.  Funds are raised by way of an entrance fee, participation fee or other payment associated with the gaming.  The following restrictions apply to bingo provided in this way:

  • All players must be told what cause the money is being raised for.
  • All the proceeds (once legitimate expenses have been deducted)must be allocated to the specified cause.
  • The maximum charge to participate in all bingo games is £8.
  • The total value of prizes awarded in all games played must not exceed £600 (£900 if the event is the final in a series of events).

There is no age limit on players taking part in a non-commercial bingo event.