9 Prize Gaming     

9.1Bingo Clubs – Meaning of ‘Prize Gaming’
9.2Definition of Conditions
9.3Additional Information
9.4Operating Licence Conditions

9.1 Bingo Clubs – Meaning of ‘Prize Gaming’     


Under a bingo operating licence, any form of bingo may be offered. This means prize bingo and cash bingo, as developed under the Gaming Act 1968, are both permitted by the bingo operating licence. However, section 21 of the 1968 Act conferred certain entitlements to offer gaming for prizes upon premises licensed under Part II of that Act, which are not covered entirely by the terms of the bingo operating licence. 


Section 291 (Gambling Act 2005) permits holders of a bingo premises licence (and necessarily a bingo operating licence) to offer prize gaming, provided the gaming complies with any conditions attached to the relevant bingo operating licence. Such conditions may be added as general conditions by the Commission or imposed by the Secretary of State. In particular, the conditions may restrict the types of games offered under this authorisation. Conditions imposed by the Secretary of State may also relate to any of the matters set out in section 91(1) of the Gambling Act 2005 e.g. impose limits on the size of payments made by players to participate in the gaming, or on the size of prizes. 

9.2 Definition of Conditions      

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

In this sub-section “prescribed” means prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State. 

Prize Gaming, which includes any type of gaming in addition to prize bingo, may take place in licensed bingo clubs subject to the following conditions: 


Neither the nature nor the size of the prize is determined by reference to: 

a) the number of persons playing or 

b) the amount paid for or raised by the gaming 


The spend per person per chance to play does not exceed the prescribed amount. 


The aggregate amount taken by way of the sale of chances in any one game does not exceed the prescribed amount. 


No cash prizes in excess of the prescribed amount(s) are offered or given; but note that there is a higher prescribed amount for premises that do not admit persons under 18 years of age than for premises that do. 


The aggregate value of the prizes (cash and non-cash) for any one game does not exceed the prescribed amount. 

9.3 Additional Information      


The various prescribed amounts may be varied by Order from time to time [see the Monetary Limits in section B6 of the Handbook]. These limits are also set out in s.5 of the Operator’s Licence granted by the Gambling Commission and the Gambling Act (Operating Licence Conditions) (Amendment) Regulations 2010. 


Despite the restriction imposed by condition 9.3.1 above, there is a formula by which the prize in a game of Prize Bingo can be calculated by reference to the number of players and the amount staked in the game before the one being played. Thus, the prize in game 2 can be calculated by reference to the number of players and the amount staked in game 1; game 3 is calculated on game 2 and so on. This formula has been discussed with, and accepted by, the Gambling Commission. 

9.4 Operating Licence Conditions      

Bingo operators have more onerous conditions attached to their ability to offer prize gaming, due to the fact that broadly the same limits for prize gaming which apply to all other sectors of the gambling industry are, for bingo, set out in the mandatory conditions attached to every bingo operating licence. The penalty for breaching a mandatory condition of an operating licence is ultimately the loss of the operating licence. 

The current prescribed amounts for Prize Bingo are:
• £1 participation fee for any one chance to win a prize in a game that constitutes prize gaming
• £100 cash prize per chance where no under 18s are present
• Where under 18s are present maximum cash prize reduces to £70
• Maximum aggregate amount or value of prizes both cash and non-cash £500 in any one game
• Maximum aggregate total of par fees to participate in any one game is £500