Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many clubs participate in The National Bingo Game?

The National Bingo Game is run twice a day (afternoon and evenings) everyday of the year except Christmas day. Some participating clubs join in both sessions each day, others only one. You should check with your club at which sessions they offer The National Bingo Game. On average 260 clubs participate in the afternoon game and 300 clubs in the evening.

2. When did people start playing bingo in Britain?

It was in the 1960s that the British bingo halls became established. The Gaming Act of 1968 meant that games involving betting could only be played in member-only establishments.

The following year bingo began to be popularized across the United Kingdom. The popularity of TV meant that many theatres, cinemas and dancehalls sat empty. It was a masterstroke of bingo clubs to use these locations for bingo as it instantly gave the game an air of glamour, fun and excitement. New bingo halls were luxurious and dramatic, rather than simply drawing balls with numbers on from a bag they installed air filled glass cabinets to shoot out the numbers on a ping pong balls.

The calling itself became a key aspect, with famous phrases such as 'two fat ladies' entering the language.

By the 1980s bingo had moved on and was able to offer life changing amounts of prize money through the creation of The National Bingo Game and offer linked games of bingo. As the level of prize money increased player enthusiasm for the old 'bingo lingo' diminished and the licensed bingo industry was starting to move into purpose built venues, to meet increased customer expectations.

Today more than half of the licensed bingo clubs in the UK are modern purpose built venues, offering food, drinks and alcohol, all delivered with a high level of customer service in modern luxury environments, .

3. Is bingo just for old ladies?

Absolutely NOT! People who play bingo come from all walks of life and all age groups. Many celebrities including Denise Van Outen, Elle MacPherson, Damon Hill, Bianca and Jade Jagger are fans of the game.

The game is enjoyed throughout the United Kingdom by a diverse mix of people. Bingo brings a thrill to anybody who plays and is truly a game that anyone over the age of 18 can play.

4. How much does it cost and how much can I win playing The National Bingo Game?

An average night out at bingo will cost £20, which includes tickets, food and drink, but excludes additional games (machines).  Details of standard ticket prices and prizes can be found in here.

5. Are bingo winnings taxed?

Bingo winnings are tax free.

6. Is there a dress code for getting into bingo clubs?

There is no dress code for bingo clubs as a whole, with most players opting for casual wear. Though lots players will dress up on party nights or for a special occasion – friends birthday, girls night out!

7. Can I make a group booking to play at a bingo club?

Some clubs take group bookings and will do a special party package for large groups so it is always best to check with your local clubs.

8. Do most bingo clubs have good wheelchair access and other facilities for people with disabilities?

The majority of clubs have excellent wheelchair access and assist those with disabilities, but it would be best to check with a club in advance of your visit .

9. How long does it take for me to get my prize money after I win?

Smaller prizes are paid out on the night, but larger prizes may take up to 10 days following the win.

10. How can I find my nearest bingo club?

To find a club that participates in the National Bingo Game use the 'Find A Club' function of the website and simply enter a town or postcode to find the clubs that are nearest.

11. How long does a bingo game take to play?

The average National Bingo Game lasts for under 10 minutes and is part of a number of games of bingo played during a session. However, players often arrive two hours before the game starts, to enjoy a meal or chat with friends.

12. When was The National Bingo Game first played?

The first National Bingo Game was played in July 1986.

13. Does The National Bingo Game Association do anything for charity?

The National Bingo Game works closely with The Bingo Association and supports their national charity, which is currently Variety, the children's charity. For more information on this please visit The Bingo Association's website.
© National Bingo Game Association 2024

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