Statement from Minister Stanton on Concerns of Bingo Hall Operators

 

This is a modest proposal. It will simply ensure that the charities receive a fair share from the bingo operators who act as their agent; that is a minimum of 25% of the proceeds of the bingo.

I don’t accept that bingo halls would be forced to close as a result. It has always been the case under the 1956 Gaming and Lotteries Act that a bingo operator could act as an agent of a lottery licence holder but that licence holder must be a charitable or philanthropic cause.  This is not changing.

 

These measures will increase transparency by placing some additional responsibilities on applicants for lottery licences. It is right and proper that licence holders get an appropriate return to their charity. I am proposing that a maximum of 25% of proceeds can go to bingo operators while a minimum of 25% would go to charity and 50% would go to prize-winners. I don’t accept that these changes will stop anyone playing bingo – a game which is renowned for its social appeal. Given its social appeal, people do not play bingo based solely on the prize level, if they did, they would likely gamble elsewhere.

It will simply ensure that the charitable purposes, such as sports clubs, school renovations etc. – will benefit as intended”.

 

Note for Editors

Over time bingo operators arose to act as agents for charities such as sports clubs.  These agents were allowed by law to take up to 40% of the proceeds and charities frequently ended up with very little. This situation has informed the proposed new payment matrix of:

 

o             a maximum of 50% of the proceeds to prizes,

o             a minimum of 25% to the charity, and

o             a maximum of 25% to expenses incurred in the operation of the lottery.

 

The Bill is an interim reform of our gaming and lotteries legislation. It updates the Gaming and Lotteries Act, 1956.  A comprehensive package of reforms is being planned in the revised and updated Gambling Control Bill 2013. This Bill will introduce a new licensing system for all gambling activities and create an independent gambling regulator.  It is currently being drafted by the Department of Justice & Equality in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General.