Types of Bingo Games

Below you will find the terminology for the different Types of Bingo Games starting with Charitable and ending with Social/Entertainment Bingo.

CharitableTypes of Bingo Games

Charitable bingo is operated by a multitude of non profit organizations.

Historically, the Catholic Church is one of the oldest and best examples of charitable bingo. Many other organizations operate bingo as a fundraiser for charitable purposes such as Moose, Elks and Eagles lodges (benevolent groups), Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legions, and Disabled American Veterans (veteran groups) and service organizations such as Volunteer Fire Departments and high school booster clubs. Many of these organizations have their own building or facilities to conduct “in house” bingo operations.

Some states allow for what is referred to as commercial bingo which allows non profit organizations without adequate facilities to conduct bingo games.

An independent owner landlord (commercial lessor) secures a building, purchases tables, chairs and the bingo equipment and leases the premises to one or more organizations. In some cases, the commercial lessor may be a charitable organization as well. This provides many organizations with the ability to conduct bingo that otherwise could not due to financial limitations and a lack of a facility.

Start up costs for a successful bingo operation can easily exceed several thousand dollars.

Native American

Bingo on Native American Reservations proliferated during the 1980’s and ultimately this activity was affirmed by the Supreme Court in 1987 in a case now referred to as the “Cabazon Decision”.  The state of California had attempted to regulate the gaming activities (bingo) of the Cabazon Tribe located in Indio, California. This decision concluded that the states could not regulate tribal gaming activities on the reservation if that activity was allowed by the state. This permitted many tribes to build and operate large bingo operations, some with a
thousand or more seats and offer large prizes (High Stakes) never before seen in bingo. Many of these types of bingo games still operate today.

For Profit Bingo

Found almost exclusively in Nevada, these types of  bingo games are operated by the large casinos. Nevada operations typically play several brief and relatively inexpensive sessions per day. They are also referred to as “Hour On, Hour Off” bingo for their alternating schedule of sessions (11 AM, 1 PM, 3 PM, 5PM, 7 PM).

A few privately owned for profit operations still exist in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, which offer games similar to High Stakes Tribal Bingo.

Social or Entertainment

Most types of bingo games in this category are conducted by retirement communities, mobile home parks, and senior citizen centers. Prizes are nominal and the cost to participate is very inexpensive or free. Bingo is intended as an activity, not a fundraiser or for profit operation.