A charismatic caller, rhyming numbers and 'eyes down
folks!'. A bingo event, either for children or families, is quite
simple to put on and can be a great way to raise money for your
- Organise a team of volunteers to help plan, run the event and
tidy up afterwards. Set a date and decide whether your event is
aimed at children, adults, or families. Publicise your event with
high-quality, editable A3 posters from ptaprintshop.co.uk.
- 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 identify a lucky number. If the selected number is
called during the final full house game, the winner collects a
- Source bingo equipment and whatever else you will need: a cage
filled with balls, a bingo caller app or digital bingo machine, a
checking board for presenting 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.
- Secure prizes. Your prize selection will largely depend on your
audience. Run a non-uniform day in return for donations, or ask
local businesses to provide prizes - either products or services.
Have a big prize for 'house' and smaller ones for a line, per game.
Note that there is a limit on the size of cash prizes that can be
given away - visit the Gambling Commission website for more
- On the night, players sit at tables in front of a caller. Sell
bingo sheets to players (usually for between 20p-£1 per sheet). Use
a different colour for each game. The caller picks numbered balls,
randomly selected, out of a bingo 'cage', (or from a Bingo app) and
announces the number. As the numbers are called, the players cross
the corresponding number 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'.
Tips and advice for running a bingo event
- Equipment: Keep it traditional with a cage full of numbered
balls, or bring things up to date by using a Bingo Caller app or a
digital bingo machine. Choose which would best suit you, or what
you are able to borrow! Bingo sheets can be bought in books or
printed from websites. Find bingo equipment suppliers in our
- Rhyming calls: Calls can vary by region, but we've put together
a sheet you can download to use as a starting point. Remember
to call numbers out like a pro: 'six and three, sixty-three'!
- Licensing: No gambling licence applies 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 an £8 per person limit and prizes
must not exceed £600. A TEN is required if you plan to run a
- 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
- Timings: Allow 15-20 minutes for each full house game
(including time to award a prize for a line).
- Charging: Most PTAs charge around £1 for four games. Or for
family events, £5 entry to include eight games, a snack (hot dogs
and a dessert) and soft drinks.
print-friendly PDF version of our step-by-step guide to running a
Bingo success story
Louise Newman, PTA Chair, Patcham Infant School,
Brighton and Hove, East Sussex (319 pupils): 'We
wanted to hold a social event which allowed the children and their
parents, carers and grandparents to participate. Bingo fitted the
bill - it would be fun, involved minimal effort and could help
boost numeracy! We ran two 1½-hour sessions on the same day - the
first straight after school at 3:30pm and the second at 5:30pm. We
played four bingo games per session, with each person receiving one
card per game. We hired an electronic bingo machine from another
local school for £10 and had a volunteer bingo caller. Tickets were
sold for £3 per person. To give it an Easter theme, we gave
chocolate bars as the prize for winning a line and an Easter egg
for a full house. We also asked for donations of Easter eggs for a
raffle - with tickets available to all pupils for £2 per strip. We
obtained a TEN so were able to sell wine and beer along with other
refreshments. We sold about 60 tickets for the bingo event and with
raffle ticket sales as well, our total profit was £410.'
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 a PTA, based on
the guidance provided.
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