Is Bingo Considered Gambling

Bingo is a game of chance that can be played either online or in a brick-and-mortar bingo hall. The game is played on a card that contains a grid of numbered squares. A caller then randomly draws numbers, and players mark off any matching numbers on their cards. The first player to mark off a predetermined pattern of numbers wins the game.

Bingo is usually played for fun, but it can also be played for real money. In a gambling setting, players buy bingo cards for a set price with the hopes of winning a bigger prize. Bingo can be enjoyed by players of all ages and is often played in community settings, making it a beloved pastime for many.

What is Bingo?

Bingo is a popular game of chance that has been enjoyed around the world for generations. It involves a group of players who each have a card with a grid of numbered squares. The objective of the game is to be the first player to mark off all the numbers on their card or a set pattern of numbers determined at the start.

Definition of Bingo

Bingo is a game of chance that is played with randomly drawn numbers and a set of numbered cards. Players mark off the numbers on their cards as they are called out, and the first to complete a certain pattern or fill their entire card (known as a “full house”) wins a prize. During a game of Bingo, the caller will draw numbers from a pool of numbered balls and call them out one by one.

History of Bingo

The origins of Bingo can be traced all the way back to the 16th century in Italy. At the time, a game called “Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia” was played, which had similarities to modern-day Bingo. The game eventually spread across Europe and arrived in America in the early 20th century. Initially, it was played in carnivals and fairs, but it quickly became a popular pastime in churches and community centers where it was viewed as a harmless form of fundraising. Through the years, Bingo has continued to evolve and adapt, with new variations and mini-games being introduced to players.

Types of Bingo Games

Bingo has many variations that can be played in different ways, depending on the rules and the number of balls or cards involved in the game. Some of the most popular types of Bingo games include:

  • 75-ball Bingo: The most common variation of Bingo in North America, which is played with a card consisting of five rows and five columns of numbers.
  • 90-ball Bingo: A variation of Bingo that is commonly played in Europe and Australia and involves a card with nine columns and three rows of numbers.
  • Speed Bingo: A fast-paced version of the game that involves calling numbers at a rapid pace, with players trying to keep up and mark off their cards as quickly as possible.
  • Electronics Bingo: An electronic version of the game played on a computer screen or tablet, allowing players to keep track of their cards through a visual interface.
  • Online Bingo: A digital version of the game that is played through a website or mobile app, where players can connect with others from around the world and win real money prizes.

Bingo is a game that has been enjoyed for generations and has a rich history and many variations. It provides players with a chance to have fun, socialize, and, in some cases, win big prizes. Whether it is played in a traditional brick-and-mortar hall or online, Bingo continues to be a beloved game of chance that is enjoyed by millions around the world.

Is Bingo Considered Gambling?

When considering whether or not Bingo is gambling, it is important to first understand the legal definition of gambling. According to the American Gaming Association, gambling is defined as “any game or activity in which the player risks something of value in the hopes of winning something else of value.” Based on this definition, it can be argued that Bingo is indeed a form of gambling.

Factors that Make Bingo a Form of Gambling

There are several reasons why Bingo is considered a form of gambling:

  • Risk and Reward: Like other forms of gambling, Bingo involves a certain level of risk and the potential for a reward. Players must purchase cards and then hope that their numbers are called in order to win a prize.
  • Chances of Winning: The chances of winning in Bingo are based solely on chance, with no skill or strategy involved. Players have no control over which numbers are drawn, and everyone has an equal chance of winning.
  • Financial Investment: Players must spend money to play Bingo, whether it is at a Bingo hall or online. The cost of the cards varies depending on the game, but players must still risk losing their money with the hopes of winning a prize.

Arguments Against Bingo as a Form of Gambling

Despite these factors, some people argue that Bingo is not a form of gambling. Some of the key arguments against Bingo as a form of gambling include:

  • Social Aspect: Unlike other forms of gambling, Bingo is often played in a social setting with friends and family. Many people enjoy the camaraderie and sense of community that comes with playing Bingo, and this social aspect is not found in other types of gambling.
  • Charitable Purposes: Many Bingo games are run by churches and non-profit organizations as a form of fundraising. The money raised from Bingo games is often used to support charitable causes, which some argue makes it a form of philanthropy rather than gambling.
  • Low Stakes: The stakes in Bingo are often much lower than in other forms of gambling, such as casinos or sports betting. Players may only spend a few dollars on cards and have the chance to win modest prizes, making it less risky than other types of gambling.

Ultimately, whether or not Bingo is considered gambling depends on one’s perspective and personal beliefs. While it does involve risk and the potential for reward, it also has a strong social aspect and is often used for charitable purposes. As with all forms of gambling, it is important for individuals to gamble responsibly and only spend what they can afford to lose.

Impact of Bingo

Bingo has been a popular game for decades and has had both positive and negative effects on individuals and communities. In this section, we will explore both the positive and negative impacts of Bingo, as well as the regulations that surround the game.

Positive Effects of Bingo

  • Social Interaction: Bingo is often associated with social gatherings, bringing together people of all ages and backgrounds to socialize and have fun. This can have a positive impact on mental health, reducing social isolation and loneliness.
  • Fundraising: Bingo games are frequently used as a fundraising tool by charities, schools, and other organizations, with the profits going towards a good cause. The game can raise a significant amount of money, while also providing an enjoyable experience for participants.
  • Memory and Cognitive Skills: Playing Bingo requires players to pay attention, concentrate, and remember numbers. These skills may help to improve memory and cognitive function, particularly in older adults.

Negative Effects of Bingo

  • Dependency: Like other forms of gambling, Bingo can be addictive. People may become dependent on the game and spend more money than they can afford to lose, leading to financial problems and emotional distress.
  • Gambling-Related Harm: Some people may experience gambling-related harm as a result of playing Bingo, such as depression, anxiety, or substance abuse. This can have a negative impact on their overall well-being and quality of life.
  • Underage Gambling: Bingo games may be accessible to minors, particularly if they are held in community centers or religious organizations. This can lead to underage gambling, which is illegal and may have negative consequences for young people.

Regulations Surrounding Bingo

The regulation of Bingo varies depending on the location and jurisdiction. In the United States, Bingo is governed by a patchwork of state laws that regulate the game’s operation, prizes, and advertising.

  • Prizes: Most states require Bingo prizes to be limited in value to a certain amount. This is to prevent excessive gambling and promote responsible play.
  • Licensing: Bingo operators may be required to obtain a license to operate in some jurisdictions. This ensures that the game is being run legally and ethically.
  • Taxes: Bingo operators may be required to pay a tax on the profits generated by the game. This revenue is often used to support public services and initiatives.

Overall, Bingo has had both positive and negative impacts on individuals and communities. While it provides a social outlet and fundraising opportunities, it can also lead to addiction and gambling-related harm. Regulations are in place to promote responsible play and ensure that the game is being operated legally and ethically.


Summary of Findings

After exploring the nature of Bingo and its place in society, as well as whether or not it should be classified as a form of gambling, we can draw the following conclusions:

  • Bingo is a popular game that has been enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds for generations.
  • Bingo is considered a form of gambling due to the element of chance involved in the game, despite arguments against this classification.
  • Bingo has both positive and negative impacts on individuals and communities, ranging from social interaction and fundraising opportunities to addictive behavior and gambling-related harm.
  • Regulations exist to promote responsible play and ensure that the game is being operated legally and ethically.

Final Thoughts on Bingo and Gambling

While some may debate whether or not Bingo should be classified as a form of gambling, the fact remains that the game involves an element of chance and provides the opportunity to win money or prizes. As with all forms of gambling, it is important for individuals to play responsibly and within their means.

For those who enjoy Bingo, there are many positive aspects of the game that should not be overlooked, such as social interaction, fundraising opportunities, and the development of cognitive skills. However, it is important to be aware of the potential risks and negative impacts that can result from excessive play or problematic behavior.

Future Implications and Possibilities of Bingo

As society evolves and technology advances, the ways in which Bingo is played and regulated may change as well. Online Bingo and mobile apps have made the game more accessible than ever before, and may continue to grow in popularity.

Additionally, regulations surrounding Bingo and other forms of gambling may continue to evolve. This could include measures aimed at reducing gambling-related harm, such as mandatory responsible gambling education or stricter advertising regulations.

Overall, Bingo is a game that has stood the test of time and remains a popular form of entertainment for many. As long as people continue to play responsibly and within the limits of the law, there is no reason why Bingo cannot continue to be enjoyed for generations to come.


Citations for Sources Used in the Article

  1. Canadian Gaming Association. (2019). What is Gaming? Retrieved from
  2. Legal Match. (2021). What Constitutes Gambling? Retrieved from
  3. Maddox, T.L. (2014). Bingo: A Review of the Literature. Journal of Gambling Studies, 30(1), 1-34.
  4. National Council on Problem Gambling. (2021). Bingo. Retrieved from
  5. Warren, J.I., Gavin, M., Meyers, A.W., & Humphreys, M. (2017). The Relationship Between Bingo Participation and Cognitive Function in Older Adults. Journal of Aging and Health, 29(3), 410-426.

Additional Resources for Readers to Learn More About Gambling and Bingo

Organizations and Associations

  • American Gaming Association –
  • Canadian Gaming Association –
  • National Council on Problem Gambling –

Research and Articles

  • Balsdon, K., Mok, M, & Kaplan, L. (2018). Promoting Safe and Responsible Gaming: The Role of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Journal of Gambling Issues, 38, 95-114.
  • Griffiths, M., Wardle, H., Orford, J., Sproston, K., Erens, B., & Lintonen, T. (2009). Internet Gambling, Health, Smoking and Alcohol Use: Findings from the 2007 British Gambling Prevalence Survey. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 7(4), 369-376.
  • Mooney, M.E. (2007). Comparing the Social Impacts of Casinos and Bingo. Journal of Gambling Issues, 20, 339-362.
  • Wohl, M.J.A., Christie, K.L., Matheson, K., & Anisman, H. (2010). Animation-Based Education as a Gambling Prevention Tool: Correcting Erroneous Beliefs and Reducing the Frequency of Inappropriate Gambling Behaviours. International Gambling Studies, 10(2), 181-195.
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Doug I. Jones

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