4 The Use of Electronic Bingo Terminals (EBTs)
|4.7||Customer Use of EBTs|
|4.9||The Bingo and Casino Equipment Technical Requirements (July 2008)|
|4.10||Ancillary Remote Licence|
This section applies to the use of EBTs in Bingo clubs, whether portable units or fixed installations, when used as an alternative to using paper bingo tickets in the playing of main stage bingo (including link games and games of multiple bingo) or an alternative to using fixed installations in the playing of games of Mechanised Cash Bingo (“MCB”).
Only EBT systems that comply with the Gambling Commission’s Bingo and Casino Equipment Technical Requirements July 2008 may be used in Bingo Clubs. A copy of this is available on the Gambling Commission website (extracts are shown within this section).
In circumstances where the player can choose to play using either an EBT, paper tickets or a fixed MCB position, if a charge is made by the operator for the hire of an EBT, a notice must be displayed at the point of hire which clearly sets out the cost of hire and the circumstances under which the charge is payable.
If an alternative paper ticket or fixed MCB position is not available to the player, any charge made by the operator for the hire of an EBT must be shown as a Charge on the Charges to Play notice.
4.3 Electronic Perm
Wherever EBTs are in use, a section of the perm for every bingo game shall be allocated for the exclusive use of EBTs. This section of the perm must never be printed or used for the MCB boards.
The number of permutations within the EBT perm must be sufficient to ensure that there are no repeated permutations in any session.
The ticket permutations loaded on to EBTs must be compatible with any paper ticket/physical MCB combinations used in the same games.
Operators should take great care to ensure that their perm size is sufficient to prevent the possibility of selling duplicate tickets to customers playing the same game. If, however, due to circumstances beyond the reasonable control of the operator and due to an error, a situation arises whereby duplicate tickets win a game of bingo, then it is suggested that the prize money should be divided equally among the claimants as in the situation where there are multiple winners. Game rules should also reflect this policy. Operators should have a very clear policy on how to avoid this situation, including written procedures to ensure that bingo ticket perm size is large enough to prevent duplicate tickets being in play during the same game and to ensure that bingo tickets are issued and sold in strict sequential order. The operator’s Terms and Conditions should state the procedures to be followed by the operator in the event of this situation arising.
4.4 Customer Information
Players using EBTs must be informed, if appropriate, by a notice of the point of sale that:
Buying 6 tickets in any one main stage bingo game does not necessarily ensure that all 90 numbers are covered and some tickets may have duplicates.
4.5 EBT Failure
In the event of an EBT failure, either the player will be entitled to a full refund of the cost in respect of the game being played at the time of the failure and all remaining unplayed tickets loaded on to the failed EBT, plus any unused MCB credit and credited winning; or
If practicable in the circumstances, the game may be stopped and the ticket details transferred from the failed EBT to a replacement EBT and the game may then be re-commenced.
If an EBT unit failure were to occur close to the point where that player would have won, or if a subsequent check were to show that the player would have won the game but for the failure, the operator may choose to award an ex-gratia payment to the player.
Records of unsold electronic main stage bingo tickets must be retained on the same basis as paper tickets for inspection by officials of the Gambling Commission and HM Revenue and Customs at a later date, if required. Such records should be retained for a minimum of 28 days.
4.7 Customer Use of EBTs
Players must be prohibited from using portable EBT systems outside the licensed gaming area.
Players must have a degree of participation in the bingo game and the equipment (touch the screen, press a button etc.) in order to register the called number, any previously called numbers on the EBT and/or claiming to have won. Fully automated marking or claiming must not be possible.
The EBT cannot alert the player to a close or actual winning combination unless the player has previously accepted the numbers involved in the winning combination.
4.8 Wireless EBTs
The installation must adhere to the following technical points:
There must be no dead spots, i.e. areas within the club where customers are allowed to play bingo on EBTs, that the EBT cannot receive the radio signal, (If ‘dead spots’ exist within the licensed area, there must be notices and procedures in place to prevent play in these areas).
There must be adequate wireless coverage so that the failure of a single transmitter does not significantly reduce the players’ ability to play.
If there is a network failure, all devices must alert the caller and player to the failure as soon as possible. It is permissible for the device to continue with any game if the network connection is restored, provided that the player is not disadvantaged in any way. A manual alternative method of play is permissible where there is no disadvantage to the player and there is adequate time to do so. Catch up facilities may be used where the game that was in play when the network failure occurred has not been completed. The caller must immediately announce to the EBT players that they must manually enter numbers until the signal is restored. The EBTs must alert the player to the loss of signal and allow play to continue in manual mode.
4.9 The Bingo and Casino Equipment Technical Requirements (July 2008)
4.9.1 Service interruption and resumption
Operators must take all reasonable steps to ensure that their policies for dealing with service interruptions are fair and do not systematically disadvantage customers.
4.9.2 Determination of winners
a) Any determinant used in the game of bingo and distributed by any form of network must be transmitted simultaneously to all player devices designed to receive such information within that game. The receiving devices must be able to present the appropriate information such that no player is disadvantaged by the introduction of any delay.
b) This requirement does not apply to different venues involved in ‘non simultaneous linked bingo games’, providing that all players within a single venue receive their determinants simultaneously.
4.9.3 Cashless play
a) Where a gaming device has the facility to accept a stake or participation fee from, and make payment of a prize to, the same medium of cashless payment, for example a smartcard (‘the medium’), then the requirements of this section must be complied with.
b) For the avoidance of doubt, neither ticket in and out (TITO) systems nor tokens are required to comply with this section. For the purposes of this section a ’token’ is an object with a fixed monetary value (whether or not exchangeable for cash) that may be used for the purpose of paying a stake or participation fee or crediting a gaming device.
c) The following will also apply:
- A secure player account database must be held within the system.
- The system must allow the player to retrieve their funds at any reasonable time when the venue is open.
- A facility must be available on the premises which will show the player their current monetary balance held on the medium without the requirement to transfer funds or a game having to be played. Such a facility must not offer any inducements to the player to commit money for play or further play.
- A gaming device must have the facility to enable it to be rendered incapable of accepting funds from the medium at any time when the account holder has entered a self-exclusion agreement in respect of the premises where the device is sited. Activation and de-activation of such facility must require action by the site operator.
- The players must have the facility to track and/or limit the amount of money they are able to deposit onto the medium over a given period of time. The limit that the individual chooses to impose may only be set or modified once in any 24 hour period.
4.10 Ancillary Remote Licence
If you play any game supplied by the National Bingo Game, links or use EBTs you will need an Ancillary Remote Licence.
You may only apply for and be granted an ancillary remote licence, if you are an existing holder of the appropriate non-remote licence. This licence can be held by the holder of a non-remote bingo operating licence and licenses the holder to provide facilities for the playing of bingo, the National Bingo Game, linked games and games on MCB equipment by means of remote communication equipment to people who are situated within licensed bingo premises.