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The information provided herein is intended as an information guide only and is not a substitute for prescribed permit conditions or other legal requirements. The information is accurate at time of publication, however permit conditions and legislation are subject to change. In all cases it is the Permit Holder and beneficiary organisation’s responsibility to ensure compliance with permit conditions and other relevant applicable legislation.

What is Bingo?

Bingo is a numbers game not unlike keno. Players use books containing cards for up to 32 games and each card has 15 numbers. Up to 90 numbers are called out by a caller using either a random number generator or a manual ball drawing device. The first player to have the 15 numbers called (known as full house) wins the major prize. If there is more than one winner, the prize money is divided equally. On occasions, split games may be played where minor prizes are awarded for the first player who completes a pre-determined sequence of lines such as a pattern around the outside (known as “racetrack”). See example of Bingo cards below.

This is a Bingo card. In this example, six cards per sheet equals one Bingo game.

Bingo card example

Bingo cards known as 'flyers' are sometimes used. Generally, the flyer sheet contains 6 cards and is played as one game. In WA, a maximum of 2 flyer games per Bingo session is permitted and these count towards the limit of 32 games allowed to be played.


With regard to the conduct of Bingo in Western Australia, relevant state legislation is:

Legislative requirements — permits

Where Bingo is played for money or money’s worth (for example for prizes), a permit is required and may be applied for via the department. Under the Gaming and Wagering Commission Act 1987, permits may be approved for charities, community groups and other approved organisations to raise funds for approved uses.

An application fee is payable and permits may be approved for either a single event, or for a period of 6 months. Permits will not be approved for fund raising considered to be for purposes of private gain or commercial undertaking as Section 95 of the Act prohibits it. Proceeds raised from Bingo may only be used for the purposes applied for and on which basis the permit was granted.

Senior Citizens organisations

A permit is required and may be approved for up to 12 months. However, no fees are payable. The Gaming and Wagering Commission Regulations 1988 stipulate that where Bingo is conducted by, on behalf of, and at a club the members of which are wholly or mainly senior citizens or pensioners, and the persons participating in the play are members or the guests of members, no fee or other charge is payable. Senior citizens organisations are not required to submit a financial return as no surcharge is payable.

Every Bingo permit has conditions attached. An example of a typical permit is shown below. The conditions specify the minimum standards required for record keeping, controls and various aspects relevant to conduct of the permit. There are significant penalties that may be applied for failing to comply with permit conditions.

Role of permit holder

While a permit is issued to an organisation, the Act requires that an individual, appointed by and on behalf of that organisation, is primarily responsible for the conduct of the Bingo permit. The permit holder is responsible for ensuring that the Bingo is run in accordance with all legislative requirements and permit conditions. The permit holder is not permitted to play Bingo at the sessions run on behalf of his/her organisation for which they hold the permit.

The following is a summary of some of the main requirements contained within the legislation. However, it is important that the Permit Holder read and understand the permit and conditions together with the Rules of Bingo. The department provides a copy of the Rules when a new permit is issued.

Bingo sessions

  • Only 1 Bingo session per week may be played by the organisation holding the permit (unless otherwise provided in the permit).
  • Bingo can only be played on the dates and times authorised and specified in the permit.
  • Premises where Bingo is conducted must be approved by the Gaming and Wagering Commission. An application fee is payable and premises may be approved for either a single date or for a period of 5 years.
  • High Rollers – The requirement to purchase a minimum number of books for entry to a session of Bingo is permitted but such games are limited to one session per month per premise.
  • No charge shall be made for admission to a Bingo session.
  • Purchase of raffle tickets shall not be a prerequisite to participate in the Bingo .
  • A session of Bingo shall be for a period of not more than 3 hours or in which 32 games are played, whichever is the shorter.
  • Each session of Bingo shall be controlled by the Permit Holder or a person appointed by the Permit Holder from a list of persons whom the Permit Holder has had authorised by the Gaming and Wagering Commission. At least 2 other persons appointed by the organisation shall assist.
  • Spotters – where a session has more than 100 participants, at least 2 spotters must be provided and those spotters are not permitted to play Bingo .
  • Prizes – the caller must announce the prizes for each game before the commencement of the game. Prize values cannot be advertised prior to a Bingo session. Refer to permit conditions for prize limits.
  • Serial Numbers – all cards used in any one game must have the same serial number and that number must be announced to players before the commencement of each game (for example playing blue card, serial no. xxxxx )
  • The permit must be displayed in a prominent location on the premises.
  • Rules – a copy of the Rules of Bingo must be displayed in 3 locations at the entrance to the premises, in close proximity to the players, and in close proximity to the caller.

Accountability of Bingo Books and Flyers

  • All Bingo books and flyers must be accounted for. It is important to remember that they have a cash value and should be treated with the same standard of security.
  • A record must be kept of how many Bingo books and flyers are on hand at the beginning and conclusion of each Bingo session. To assist in this regard, book numbers can be found on the back of each book. See example below. It is suggested you institute a system and consistently follow the same method each week, such as - use the lowest bundle first, put out the same number of books and flyers (if used) each session.
    Bingo book numbers
  • The serial numbers of books and flyers on hand must also be recorded. Serial Numbers can be found on the reverse of each Bingo card and should also be listed on your purchasing invoice/receipt. (If 30 games per book purchased for example, the serial numbers may be 915301 – 915330).

Record keeping

In addition to accounting for the total number of books and flyers on hand, as detailed above, for every session of Bingo that is conducted the following information must be recorded:

  1. The number of books sold.
  2. The number of flyers sold.
  3. The amount of proceeds collected from the sale of books.
  4. The amount of proceeds collected from the sale of flyers.
  5. How much money was paid out in prizes.
  6. How many free books (if any) were given away.
  7. The number of unsaleable books from the session and the serial numbers of same. Examples of books considered unsaleable may be where only a handful of a particular series is left over or there are not enough books in that series to use in the next session. Damaged stock would be another example.
  8. The total value of expenses incurred for that session, whether paid in cash on the night or by cheque later. Total expenses must not exceed 20% of Total Gross Proceeds raised during the Bingo session – see explanation below in section titled Financial Returns. Proof of payment for all expenses must be retained (receipts, wages records etc).
  9. How much was banked from the proceeds of the Bingo (for instance Bingo proceeds less prizes less any cash expenses paid at the session).

All records pertaining to the Bingo , including unsaleable books, must be retained for 12 months. The records must be available for inspection by an authorised officer of the Gaming and Wagering Commission at any time.

Financial returns

An information sheet “How to Complete A Bingo Financial Return” is sent out with the Financial Returns by DLGSC each month (see examples at end of this document). You will note that there is provision on the Financial Return to list other proceeds raised during the Bingo session — section 13(a) Raffle Gross Proceeds and 13(b) Continuing Lottery Gross Proceeds. By way of explanation, these items are listed as they are to be included in the TOTAL Gross Proceeds for the purpose of calculating expenses (not to exceed 20% of Total Gross Proceeds, as stipulated in the Gaming and Wagering Commission Regulations 1988).

  • Financial Returns must be submitted to the department within 7 days of the end of the month during which sessions of Bingo were conducted.
  • If a session is not held a nil return is required.
  • For a one-off permit, Financial Returns must be submitted within 7 days of the conclusion of the Bingo session.
  • Senior citizens organisations are not required to submit a Financial Return as no surcharge is payable.
A surcharge of 1% of Gross Bingo Proceeds is payable to the Commission and a cheque for this amount must accompany the Return when submitted.
Page reviewed 11 September 2023