10 Bingo Variant     

10.2Bingo Association and Gambling Commission Agreement on Bingo Variant
10.3Gambling Commission – What Constitutes Bingo?

10.1 Introduction    


Numerous variations on the traditional game of bingo exist. It is the responsibility of the operator to establish the legality of the game being played. This legality can be established through operator experience/ knowledge and/or by seeking reputable legal opinion that supports any new bingo variant format. 


The section (B10.2) below sets out the “Bingo Variant” guidelines agreed by the Bingo Association and the Gambling Commission and which should inform and assist in the creation of new variant games. 

10.2 Gambling Commission Requirements     

Any determinant used in the game of bingo and distributed by any form of network must be transmitted

A bingo variant (“Bingo Variant”) is aimed at enabling bingo operators to run a version of the game of bingo, the prizes for which can be claimed during a wider time window than main session bingo games, prize bingo or mechanised cash bingo. The rules below were agreed between the Bingo Association and the Gambling Commission in 2011 (document no. 4302795_6) 


The games will be called in the normal manner by a caller who may be located away from the stage in a dedicated area. As not all players will necessarily be able to hear the caller the numbers called will be displayed for a minimum and maximum period, such period to end at a fixed time after the end of the calling of the numbers. 


Players will participate by physically marking their bingo cards (or terminals) to ascertain if they have the required winning combination. It is not necessary for a player to stop the calling by making a claim. At the operator’s option the calling will continue until either a predetermined number of calls has been made (whether or not by then a player holds a card (terminal) with a winning combination) or until a point at which the caller knows that there is at least one player holding a card (terminal) with a winning combination. At whichever point is chosen, the caller ends that game himself and begins calling the next game. Numbers called in each game will, however, still be displayed for the period provided for in paragraph 10.2 above. 


Players who believe that they marked sufficient numbers to win a prize must claim such prize by having their bingo card (terminal) checked in a prescribed manner. Such claims for prizes can be made at any time either during the calling of the numbers or up to the prescribed maximum period after a game ceases. 


There will be two categories of prizes for the Bingo Variant game: 

a) One category will be determined by the operator and displayed prior to the sale of tickets. 

b) In the other category the prize will (so as to avoid the Bingo Variant being prize gaming under 5288 Gambling Act 2005) be £X multiplied by the number of tickets sold for that game. The amount of £X, for each game will be determined by the operator. That there will be this variable prize will also be displayed prior to the sale of tickets. 


All players will play for the opportunity to win a prize from both categories. Whatever the outcome the operator will fund the prize(s) and retain all stakes paid by the players. Under the arrangements for calling set out in paragraph 10.2.2 above, there could be more than one player holding a card (terminal) with a winning combination who would win either or both of a prize (i) from both categories or (ii) only from category (a) or there may be no winner at all. 


More than one club may participate so that the operator(s) can offer prizes reflecting the increased scale. Again, such prizes would be determined by the operator(s) in accordance with the arrangements set out in paragraph 10.2.5. 


The Bingo Variant game could be played simultaneously with other games so that players can choose to participate in both (as they will have sufficient time to claim any prize without the need to make a claim 

10.3 Information for Clubs     


The Gambling Commission issued a What constitutes bingo? ‘advice note’ in January 2014 which will either complement, supersede or have a further impact on Bingo Variant games. A link to this advice note will be found in the Resource Centre. As detailed at the beginning of this section, you should consult your Compliance Manager or take legal advice before introducing any Bingo Variant Games.