Who can play bingo?

When addressing this question, the immediate reaction is to think ‘absolutely anyone!’

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It’s hard to think of a more accessible game that combines entertainment and education so easily. Yes, it’s fun, but it’s been scientifically proven to aid cerebral development and cognitive memory in people with learning difficulties too.

Depending on which variant you play, you can win money playing traditional bingo online, or you can learn new languages using words in Chinese or German. In short, bingo spans mathematics, science, education, and entertainment.

It’s entrenched as part of the culture in so many countries around the world and still going strong after 500 years – also try 7s to Burn slots.

That was easy then – anyone really can play bingo…

Yes, up to a point. If you’re learning languages or aiding people with learning difficulties to improve their cognitive memories, anyone can play bingo.

The format is so simple, it would be madness to police it anyway! Al you need a few words or numbers on a card, and when the caller randomly picks your words or numbers from a hat and shouts them out, you strike them off until you have none left. Whoever finishes first wins. Easy.

However, it does get more nuanced than that when betting for money gets involved.

Here in the United Kingdom, all sites providing bingo as entertainment wherever money is involved should be licenced and regulated by the UKGC (UK Gambling Commission).

You have to be over 18 years of age in order to gamble with money in the UK, so the UKGC monitor who is signing up to online casinos and making sure the gambling sites are operating legally, in full concordance with UK law.

What does UK law say about bingo online?

As mentioned previously, if you are under 18 years of age, you will not be allowed to play bingo on an online casino site. Gambling is deemed as inappropriate for people below the age of maturity as it opens up the doors to many polemic discussions regarding underage gambling issues that can arise.

A description in the 1978 Royal Commission Report states that:

‘Bingo is a lottery played as a game. Each player receives for his stake a set of numbers which he has not chosen. These are marked off against numbers selected at random and announced by a caller, and the winner is the person who can first substantiate a claim to have marked off all those, or a particular section of those, in the set he has been given.’

So, although the UKGC Advice Note from 2014, section 3, clause 3.2, states that bingo is legally separated from casino betting, it still doesn’t mean that this “game” is accessible to all.

Categorising bingo

Although not classed as “betting” in the strictest sense of the word, bingo still falls under the umbrella term “gambling” if played with money.

As the online casino sites provide bingo games where you’ll have to pay to play, you’ll have to be over 18 in order to join!

Sure, you can find bingo sites offering free bingo games, but as they also offer online gambling services, people under the age of 18 are still not permitted to sign up and register in the first place.

Nax R.

Colaboradora do Folha Geral. O conteúdo é de inteira responsabilidade da autora e não expressa a opinião do Folha Geral

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