How to spot illegal bingo games


Too many people take online bingo for granted. Since it’s so easy to fire up your Mac or PC and grab a few bingo cards, most people assume it’s just as easy in the real world.

Unfortunately, while online bingo sites are licensed internationally and serve players on a global scale, live bingo halls need to adhere to the laws of a certain state or country. And not all bingo game providers offline are legit.

If you’re concerned whether the bingo game you’re about to play is illegal, follow these tips for spotting illegal bingo.

Find out what charity they support

Most bingo halls that are run throughout the United States exist to support charity. It’s not just the nice thing to do. It’s the law. Most states that allow bingo games restrict them to charity bingo. That means when you play bingo games at a bingo hall, the proceeds must go to charity. This is also true if you’re playing a popup bingo game that happens at a community center or in a church basement. Legitimate charity bingo games will let you know where their money is going. If a bingo hall is reluctant to tell you, chances are the game is illegal.

Ask to see their license

Any bingo operator in the offline world needs to be licensed in the state or district in which they operate. And they can’t hide the license. It should be front and center. It’s the same as going to a licensed restaurant. They usually display their liquor license in the window or somewhere in the bar so you know that they’re legit.

Watch for suspicious traffic

While some illegal bingo games have operated out of bingo halls, some games occur in residential neighborhoods. If you see a large number of people coming and going from a house on a specific day and time, there could be cause for concern. Sure, it’s possible that they might be having a party or doing something not so nefarious. But keep your ears to the ground and listen for clues. There could be an illegal bingo operation in your own backyard.

Find out what kind of cars the bingo operators drive

Bingo operators don’t make a ton of money. Sure, there is some money in operating any business, but if you’re operating a charity bingo hall you like to help various causes. If the owners and operators of your Bingo hall are all driving Teslas or Audi A8s, or flashing Rolexes and diamonds, chances are they’re making loads of cash from some sort of illegal bingo operation.

Ask the state gaming authority: If your bingo hall says they’re on the up and up but you think otherwise, ask the department of gaming. They’ll know if a hall is licensed to offer games in your state.