Charitable Bingo FAQs
Who can conduct a bingo?
The Manitoba Gaming Control Commission (MGCC) may license charitable and religious organizations to conduct a bingo within the Province of Manitoba in accordance with Section 207 (1) (b) of the Criminal Code ( Canada). If your organization has never been licensed by the MGCC, you will be required to submit background documentation on your organization to determine eligibility.
We hold a penny bingo at our seniors’ residence; do we require a lottery licence?
Yes, regardless of the selling price of the cards, the prize or the anticipated revenue, all bingos must be licensed.
Do 50/50 draws need to be licensed at a bingo?
Yes, an organization must obtain a licence for any raffle held in conjunction with a bingo. You can print an application and the terms and conditions for a raffle or contact the licensing department and an application package will be sent to you.
How can our organization volunteer at the bingo events held at the Winnipeg Casinos?
The Manitoba Lotteries Corporation operates the Casinos of Winnipeg. Follow this link, MLC- Bingo Volunteer Program, for more information to find out about volunteering at bingo events at the casinos.
When is a licence not required for a bingo?
A licence is not required if an organization is conducting a “free fun bingo”. A bingo does not require a lottery licence if there is no charge or consideration to play the game. Participants must not be required to make a donation or pay an entry fee to an event in order to play bingo. The bingo must be open to anyone wishing to participate.
How long does it take to obtain a bingo/breakopen licence?
Organizations must allow 4-6 weeks for processing of a complete and accurate package. Applications that are complete (e.g., all information is provided, all required documents are included, signatures, names and addresses are completed) usually are processed more quickly; an incomplete application could result in a longer processing time. The application guide will help you to properly complete and submit your application to us. Bingo events can not be advertised and product can not be ordered prior to a licence being issued.
What is the cost of a bingo licence?
Licence fees are based on anticipated revenue. For bingos with anticipated revenue of $5,000 or less there is no licence fee. For bingos with anticipated revenue over $5,000, organizations will be required to submit a licence fee of 1.5% of the actual gross revenue. Fees are due with your event and financial reports. Reporting requirements are set by the MGCC at the time of your approval.
Where can we get an application for a bingo/breakopen?
A Bingo and Breakopen Application is available from our website or by calling our office at 954-9400 or toll free at 1-800-782-0363. Remember to print, read and ensure you understand the Bingo and Breakopen Terms and Conditions as these will be the terms and conditions which your organization will need to comply with.
Which bingo application do we complete?
Organizations need to select the appropriate application based on the type of bingo they want to hold. The Manitoba Gaming Control Commission issues licences for bingo as well as media bingo.
A Bingo and Breakopen Application is to be completed when:
- the bingo is played in premises that are publicly-owned or owned by the charitable or religious organization provided that the premises referred to is not primarily a business.
A Media Bingo Application is to be completed when:
- the bingo is played using mass media communication. This includes, but is not limited to, radio, newspaper, magazine and television.
Once you have determined the type of bingo you wish to operate, print and complete the correct application and guide.
What do we need to submit with our application?
In order to determine an organization’s eligibility for a licence, first time applicants and organizations not licensed in over three years, must provide as many of the following documents as possible with their application: charter, constitution and by-laws, articles of incorporation (and most recent corporate annual return), minutes of most recent annual general meeting, membership list, most recent financial statement, and bank statements.
Other requirements are clearly listed in the application guide and include such things as; bingo program, House Rules and current bank statement or prize guarantee.
Our organization is very small and we do not have the background documentation you are requesting. Can we still obtain a licence?
Yes, if your organization is a charitable or religious organization. We recognize that many of the smaller clubs are not organized to this extent and may not possess formal documentation. In such cases, minutes from meetings, letters of reference from principals, councilors, priests, or mayors may be acceptable. These references should state:
- that the group is in fact a bonafide organization
- its aims and objectives
- the reasons/need for the raising of funds
What if we don’t have a president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer?
If the titles of your executive members are not consistent with the titles we provide on the application, please indicate the actual organization title on your application. Organizations must adapt their titles to those on the form in a “best fit” manner as necessary, (e.g. Executive Director, Grand Knight, Head Coach, Manager, Principal, or Minister may replace President). The executive members you list on the application must be the actual elected executive of the organization itself and not members of a sub-committee who have been given responsibility for the lottery.
Does the MGCC set an expense limit?
Yes, bingo expenses must not exceed ten percent (10%) of gross bingo revenue. Prizes, cost of product, licence fees and rent are not to be included within this 10% limit.
Are there any limitations to advertising our bingo?
Once a licence has been approved, a bingo can only be advertised in Manitoba. All advertisements must contain the name of the licensed organization and the licence number. Advertisements must adhere to federal, provincial and community advertising laws and standards. If you are advertising on the internet, certain restrictions apply.
Is our organization required to open a separate lottery account?
A separate lottery chequing account must be used to deposit all revenue. If you hold other charitable gaming licences, you may use just one bank account, but separate deposits must be made for each scheme's proceeds. You must not transfer lottery revenue into any of your organization's general operating accounts.
How can the funds generated from our bingo be used?
Eligible organizations must use lottery proceeds generated from lottery activities for the advancement of education, religion, health, the relief of poverty, or must benefit the community through the promotion of sport, recreation, culture, or any other area considered appropriate by the MGCC. This information is to be as detailed as possible. Organizations who find it difficult to indicate where the profits are to be directed, should refer to their last financial statement or their proposed budget. Organizations should then choose area(s) they would like to subsidize with lottery funds.
Is there a limit to prize(s) being offered?
No, the prize(s) offered is up to the organization. The MGCC does not set prize limits however; all prizes offered must be guaranteed.
What if our organization does not have current funds to cover the cost of all prizes being offered?
The total cost of all prizes must be guaranteed before a licence is issued. The MGCC will accept an organization’s current bank statement, an irrevocable standby letter of credit from a financial institution or proof of purchase for any merchandise prize. The MGCC will not accept a third party guarantee for prizes. If all prizes being offered are based on a percentage of sales, or if all prizes are being donated, evidence of sufficient funds is not required. Sample irrevocable standby letter of credit.
What is a contractual agreement and when do we need one?
A contractual agreement is an agreement between the organization and the provider of a prize. Contractual agreements are required for each individual prize valued at $500 or more whether it is donated or purchased. Sample contractual agreement.
Can organizations determine the amount of a prize for a bingo game based on the percentage of sales?
Yes, if the program has been approved by the MGCC.
May an organization reduce the bingo prize(s) for an occasion in the event of inclement weather?
Yes, in the event of reduced attendance, an organization may implement a substitute bingo program if the substitute program has been approved by the MGCC. Upon approval, the organization will be required to notify the MGCC when using the substitute program.
Can door prizes be given away at bingo events?
Yes, door prizes are allowed if there is no charge for a chance to win the prize. The value of the prize is recorded in the expense area of the organization’s application and event report. Do not record it as a prize paid. When giving away a cash door prize, the amount should be recorded in the cash expense area of the event report. When purchasing merchandise to give away as a door prize, the cheque should be recorded in the other expense column of the financial report covering the period in which these prizes were purchased.
Must licensees purchase all bingo paper from the Manitoba Lotteries Corporation?
Yes, the only supplier of bingo paper and breakopen tickets in the province is the Manitoba Lotteries Corporation.
If our organization runs out of a certain product that we need for our bingo can we borrow some from another group?
Bingo paper cannot be shared between organizations. Each group is fully responsible for its own inventory and must ensure that an accurate count is kept in order to maintain adequate stock and ensure proper inventory controls. When supplies begin to get low more product can be ordered from the Manitoba Lotteries Corporation order desk at 957-2579 or toll free at 1-800-782-0367.
How do licensees handle bingo product short shipments and/or damaged paper?
Organizations should contact the MGCC’s Compliance Department to explain the situation. The MGCC follows exactly what you have purchased as recorded inventory on your financial reports. Therefore it is important to notify us of any large damages or missing product. The MGCC will often conduct physical inventory counts during an inspection to help maintain accurate product counts. Manitoba Lotteries Corporation is the supplier of all bingo paper, and any inquires about shortages or damages should be made directly to the Manitoba Lotteries Corporation at 957-2500 or toll free at 1-800-782-0367.
What should be done if a bingo worker discovers a tampered bingo card?
The MGCC recommends that the organization contact the police immediately. Persons who tamper with bingo cards may be committing a criminal offence. Organizations should also contact the MGCC’s Compliance Department.
Where can we purchase or rent bingo equipment?
The MGCC does not provide a listing of places to purchase or rent equipment. Organizations can start by checking the MTS yellow pages under Games and Supplies and/or Bingo Equipment and Supplies. Organizations can also check with local community organizations that operate bingo.
Do we require a bingo verifier before we begin operations?
No. Although these items are frequently used by organizations that conduct bingo, they are not required.
When do we have to replace our bingo balls?
All equipment used for bingo must be in good working order and is subject to inspection and approval by the MGCC. Bingo balls must be free of defects and equal in all characteristics that control their selection. The life span of bingo balls depends on several factors: the amount of use; the type of bingo balls, the bingo ball selection device and how the caller handles them. If there are any concerns about bingo balls in play, they must be replaced immediately.
Are there any limits on the number of bingos our organization can operate?
An organization may hold, or participate in conducting, up to five (5) bingo events per week.
How can our organization change the bingo game format or program, add special games, or change our disbursements?
All changes to a licence must be requested in writing. A Licence Amendment Request Form must be completed and sent to our Licensing Department. These forms are included in the licence package sent to all organizations. Please fax your amendments to 954-9450 or toll free 1-866-999-6688. Changes can not be implemented until approval has been received. Processing time for amendments is 2-4 weeks.
We received forms with our bingo licence package. What do we do with these forms?
All records relating to the conduct and operation of the bingo must be kept by the licensee for at least three (3) years. Organizations with anticipated revenue over $5000 must submit the financial forms. Organizations with anticipated revenue of $5000 or less must simply keep records of the licensed event(s) and are not required to submit the forms. These records may be requested during an inspection, audit or with a subsequent application.
Should House Rules be posted at an event?
The MGCC requires organizations to provide copies of the game program, House Rules and the MGCC’s Standard Rules of Play to players at each event. Many organizations have House Rules printed on the game program.
Can volunteers play bingo?
All volunteers at a bingo may play, with the exception of the caller. Callers at a bingo event may not play bingo at any time during that event, even if they only call for a portion of the event. Organizations must specify in their House Rules if they choose to exclude other workers or volunteers from playing.
What are the rules regarding children playing bingo?
Organizations must include the minimum age requirements in their House Rules. The MGCC does not set a minimum age requirement.
Can players check the bingo balls at any time during an event?
Yes, the Bingo and Breakopen Terms and Conditions state that “Players have the right to confirm the accuracy of the numbers called or displayed against the balls in the tray. If there is discrepancy, only the balls on the tray are considered correct.”
Does an organization have to display the bingo balls prior to the start of the event?
Yes, bingo balls must be displayed on the tray so that they can be inspected by any player before the start of play at each event.
If someone calls bingo immediately after the caller has announced the letter under which the next number will be called, must the caller finish calling that number?
Calling “Bingo” stops the game immediately pending the verification of that bingo. According to the Bingo and Breakopen Terms and Conditions, once “Bingo” has been called, no further numbers can be called. The number on the bingo ball must be called out by the caller before the ball is considered in play. If it is a valid bingo and the game continues for a second pattern, the previously selected ball becomes the next number called. If the balls are to be dropped, all balls including the one removed from the machine should be returned.
What happens if a bingo ball is placed in the wrong slot, or the wrong number is called by accident?
The actual ball that was removed from the machine is the official number called. If a caller makes an error, they should announce the mistake and correct the error immediately. Bingo boards are provided for the convenience of the players only and have no official status. In the event of an error between the bingo board and the bingo balls, the actual balls will be the deciding factor. In the event of discrepancies, players should confirm the accuracy of the balls on the tray.
Can the bingo machine be turned off prior to checking bingo because it is too noisy?
The bingo machine must be left on unless the ball funnel on the bingo machine traps the last bingo ball or the bingo caller captures the top ball.
Does the checker have to use an independent witness?
Yes, the checker must move the bingo sheet or card from in front of the player who has called out “Bingo” and place it so that it is visible to other players. The checker must then call out the covered numbers of the required pattern on the card or sheet or call out the control number in the centre (free space) of the sheet if an electronic bingo verifier is used.
Can callers just call back the numbers that have not been called?
No, the Bingo and Breakopen Terms and Conditions state that the checker must call out the covered numbers of the required pattern on the card or sheet or call out the control number if an electronic verifier is used.
If someone completes two patterns with one number, must you call another number or can that person be awarded both prizes?
Progressive games can be won in any order, therefore, once a person calls bingo and makes the checker aware that they have completed both patterns, and both are valid, there is no need to call another number.
The foregoing are the most commonly asked questions. If you have questions or concerns that are not answered here, please contact the MGCC directly:
954-9400, 1-800-782-0363 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org