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Step-by-step: bingo event

A charismatic caller, rhyming numbers and "eyes down, folks!" A bingo event for kids or families is quite simple to put on, and can be a great way to raise money for your association.

  1. Organise a team of volunteers to plan and run the event, and help tidy up afterwards. Set a date and decide whether your event is aimed at children, adults, or families. Create publicity posters - Charity Print Shop charges £9.95 for 10 x A3 posters.
  2. Consider what additional entertainment you will put on for the night. Selling food and refreshments can significantly boost your profits, but if you plan to provide alcohol, you may need a licence. Run a cloakroom-style raffle and sell tickets on the night (no licence required). Or how about a lucky dip? Players put £5 into a pot and pick a lucky number. If the selected number is called during the final full house game, the winner collects a prize.
  3. Purchase bingo equipment and consider what you will need: a cage filled with balls, each showing a different number; a checking board to display the selected numbers; sheets and marker pens; tables and chairs, and a PA system. Ask local community groups if they have any equipment you could borrow.
  4. Secure some prizes. Your prize selection will largely depend on your audience. Ask local businesses to donate prizes - either products or services. Have a big prize for 'house' and smaller ones for a line. Note that there is a limit on the size of cash prizes that can be given away - see the Gambling Commission website for details.
  5. On the night, seat players at tables in front of the caller. Sell bingo sheets for between 20p-£1 per sheet, using different colours for each game. The caller picks numbered balls, randomly selected from a bingo 'cage', (or bingo app) and announces the number. As the numbers are called, the players cross them off their cards. Each game can have up to three winners: first to complete one line, first to complete two lines, first to complete the full sheet and call 'house'.

Bingo tips and advice

Equipment: Depending on your organisation, other equipment can be used for a bingo night, such as a bingo caller app or bingo machine displaying digital numbers. Choose which would best suit you, or what you are able to borrow! Find bingo equipment suppliers in our directory.

Rhyming calls: Calls can vary by region, but we've put together a sheet (page two of the step-by-step bingo event download) you can use as a starting point. Remember to call numbers out like a pro: 'six and three, sixty-three'!

Licensing: No gambling licence is required for a bingo event, as it falls under the terms of 'non-commercial prize gaming', assuming that no proceeds from your event are used for private gain. Admission charges mustn't exceed £8 per person, and prizes must not exceed £600. Read guidance from the Gambling Commission. A TEN may be required if you're planning to run a bar in unlicensed premises.

Theme it: Bingo is an extremely versatile game and can be tweaked to suit any theme or age group. Think Easter, Christmas, Valentine's or even a simple 'chocolate' bingo where you play for chocolate.

Download a step-by-step guide to running a fundraising bingo event

The above is intended as guidance only. We recommend that you contact the relevant organisations with specific reference to insurance, legal, health and safety and child protection requirements. Community Inspired Ltd cannot be held responsible for any decisions or actions taken by an organisation, based on the guidance provided. 

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