Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently Asked Questions



Can a customer use a debit or credit card to purchase an instant bingo ticket?
Ohio law does not prohibit a person from purchasing instant bingo tickets by use of debit or credit cards. However, locations selling bingo tickets are not obligated to accept debit or credit cards as payment. Please check with the specific location to determine whether debit or credit cards are accepted.

Can an individual with a felony be on the board of an organization that operates bingo?
Nothing in Ohio Revised Code Chapters 109, 1702, 1716, or 2915 prohibits a person who has been convicted of a felony or gambling offense from being on the board of a charitable organization that operates bingo. However, that person cannot be a bingo operator. Please contact private legal counsel to determine whether any other laws that may apply to your charitable organization would prevent a felon from serving on your charity's board.

Can an individual with a felony operate bingo or sell instant bingo tickets?
No. "Bingo game operator" is defined as any person, except security personnel, who performs work or labor at the site of bingo. Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Section 2915.11 prohibits a person who has been convicted of a felony or a gambling offense in any jurisdiction from being a bingo game operator. In addition, ORC 2915.09(C)(8) and ORC 2915.091(A) prohibit a charitable organization that conducts bingo or instant bingo, respectively, from permitting any person whom the charitable organization knows, or should have known, has been convicted of a felony or gambling offense in any jurisdiction to be a bingo game operator. For that reason, bingo organizations are urged to closely review the list of bingo volunteers, ask whether they have any convictions, and consider conducting background checks.

Can an organization's bingo license be used by or transferred to an affiliated organization?
No. Bingo licenses are issued for the charitable organization and the specific locations listed in the organization's application.

Can bingo operators at an organization that conducts Type II bingo purchase instant bingo tickets while they are working?
No. Ohio Revised Code Section 2915.091(A)(12) prohibits all volunteers and staff members from purchasing tickets while they are working in connection with the bingo game.

Can I conduct a bingo game at a party or event and give out prizes?
Yes, but the strict guidelines established in Ohio Revised Code Section 2915.12(A) for "bingo games conducted for amusement only" must be followed.

Can I give out cash as a door prize at bingo?
Yes, as long as records of the door prize are maintained in accordance with the record-keeping requirements of Ohio Revised Code Section 2915.10.

Can my organization amend the day or time our bingo is conducted?
Yes. Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 2915.09(C)(6), a charitable organization may apply to amend the day or time its bingo is conducted up to two times in each calendar year. Amendments must be completed online in the attorney general's Charitable Registration and Filing System. In most cases, a $250 amendment fee will be assessed after the amendment is submitted.

Can our group pay someone to sell concessions at our organization's bingo session?
No. Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Section 2915.09(C)(3) forbids the payment of concession fees to any person who provides refreshments to the participants in the bingo session, and ORC 2915.09(C)(2) prohibits compensation to any bingo game operator for preparing, selling, or serving food or beverages at the site of the bingo session.

Do I need a license to conduct bingo?
Yes, in most cases. Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Section 2917.07 states that no person, except a charitable organization that has obtained a license pursuant to ORC 2915.08, shall conduct or advertise bingo. There are narrow exceptions in the law for senior centers and bingo for amusement only.

Do the volunteers helping to conduct a bingo session have to be members of the organization?
No. However, the organization's application for a license to conduct bingo must supply information and records related to the charitable organization's trustees, officers, directors, employees, agents, volunteers, bingo operators, anticipated bingo operators, concession workers, anticipated concession workers, and other associated person of the charitable organization. See Ohio Administrative Code Section 109:1-3-01. Charities should be familiar with all individuals who are acting on behalf of the group and handling finances.

Once I have a license to conduct bingo, where may I conduct it?
Bingo licenses are issued for a specific location, and therefore bingo may only be conducted at the location listed in the organization's approved bingo application. See Ohio Revised Code Section 2915.08(A)(2)(c).

Our organization has a Type I (traditional) bingo license. Can we pay our workers for operating bingo?
No. See Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Section 2915.09(C)(1-3) and ORC 2915.09(D). All bingo workers at traditional bingo games must be volunteers. The only exception applies to security personnel, who by definition are not bingo game operators under ORC 2915.01(Q). Please see ORC 2915.01(U) for the definition of security personnel.  An organization may pay the reasonable amount actually expended for audits and accounting services. See ORC 2915.01(GG).  

Whom should I contact with questions about serving alcohol at bingo games?
Please refer to Ohio Administrative Code Section 4301:1-1-53 or contact the Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Liquor Control, with any questions regarding liquor use. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office also offers “Bingo School” for individuals and entities involved in bingo or interested in obtaining a bingo license.