Bingo has long been a beloved pastime, offering a blend of excitement, camaraderie and the chance to win enticing prizes. In hospitality venues such as pubs, hotels and entertainment spots, bingo adds an extra layer of enjoyment, attracting patrons and fostering a lively atmosphere. However, while bingo is exempt from the Gaming Act 2005 under certain conditions, it’s crucial for venues to adhere to strict rules to avoid legal issues. Let’s delve into the pros and cons of hosting bingo in hospitality venues and explore what establishments need to be mindful of to ensure compliance with the law.


The Pros of Hosting Bingo:


  1. Inclusive Entertainment: Bingo appeals to a wide demographic, bringing people of all ages together for a fun-filled activity. It’s an excellent way to create a sense of community within hospitality venues.


  1. Low-Cost Option: Compared to other forms of entertainment, hosting bingo requires minimal investment. It offers a high entertainment value relative to its cost, making it an attractive option for venues looking to enhance their offerings without breaking the bank.


  1. Revenue Generation: While bingo itself may not be a significant revenue driver, it can contribute to overall sales by attracting customers to the venue. Patrons are likely to purchase food and beverages while participating in bingo games, boosting the venue’s bottom line.


  1. Charitable Contributions: Excess prize money from bingo games can be directed towards charitable causes, demonstrating the venue’s commitment to social responsibility and community support.


The Cons of Hosting Bingo:


  1. Regulatory Compliance: Despite being exempt from the Gaming Act 2005 under certain conditions, hospitality venues must adhere to strict rules when hosting bingo. Failure to comply with regulations can result in legal consequences or the need to obtain a bingo operating license.


  1. Limited Prize Structure: The Gaming Act imposes restrictions on the prize structure of bingo games in hospitality venues. Stake limits, maximum prizes, and prize determination criteria must be carefully followed to avoid violations.


Adhering to Gaming Act Regulations:


To ensure compliance with the law, hospitality venues must adhere to the following regulations when hosting bingo:


  1. Separate Area Requirement: Bingo games must take place in a separate area from other forms of entertainment to maintain distinction and compliance with regulatory standards.


  1. Adults Only Participation: Bingo games are restricted to adults only, ensuring that the activity remains age-appropriate and compliant with legal requirements.


  1. No Participation Fee: Hospitality venues cannot charge a participation fee for bingo games, keeping the activity accessible to all patrons regardless of their financial means.


  1. Prize Determination: Prizes for bingo games must not be determined by the number of participants or the amount paid for or raised by the game. This ensures fairness and compliance with prize gaming regulations.


  1. Stake Limits and Maximum Prizes: Hospitality venues must adhere to stake limits and maximum prize amounts set forth by the Gaming Act. Stake limits are capped at £5 per person per game, with a maximum prize of £2,000 per week in stakes/prizes for both alcohol licensed premises and clubs.


  1. Prize Gaming Compliance: Bingo games offered as prize gaming must adhere to specific criteria, including maximum stakes, prize values, and total prize and stake amounts, as outlined by the Gaming Act.


Seeking Guidance and Support:


Navigating the regulations surrounding bingo in hospitality venues can be complex, but with the guidance and support of knowledgeable professionals, establishments can ensure compliance while maximising the enjoyment for patrons.   With many years’ experience in the hospitality sector the team at Everett King can provide valuable assistance in helping you understand regulatory requirements, implement appropriate controls and ensure you maintain legal compliance.


Also, it is worth stating that there may be variances to the regulations which vary the guidance.  If, as a hospitality business, you put on Bingo or plan to do so in the future may be contacted for a bespoke review relevant to the type of business you operate.


In conclusion, while hosting bingo in hospitality venues offers numerous benefits, it’s essential for establishments to prioritise regulatory compliance to avoid legal pitfalls. If you are a hospitality venue considering introducing bingo as added entertainment for your clientele and are based within the South West of England why not get in touch for some guidance –  by understanding and adhering to the appropriate rules outlined in the Gaming Act 2005, hospitality venues can provide a safe, enjoyable and legally compliant environment for patrons to indulge in the timeless joy of bingo.