The Etiquette and Rules of Bingo

 

When someone completes the pattern on their card, the customary way to let the caller know is to shout “Bingo!”.  Once that happens, an assistant, referred to as a floorwalker, will immediately verify that the bingo is correct.

 

The winning numbers on the card are read back to the caller for verification.  Some bingo halls have a setup that will allow for the caller to enter and identification number from the card into a computer which will validate or reject the bingo.  Some areas will post the winning bingo card so the other players can examine it for the rest of the evening.  While it is uncommon, occasionally a dispute will arise over the card, in which case the final decision is left to the bingo manager.
It is possible for more than one person to win the jackpot.  If multiple people call bingo on the same number, and they have all been verified, then the jackpot is split evenly between them.

The Common Rule of Bingo

 

It is important to know and follow the rules of the bingo hall you will be using.  Since most bingo halls operate independently and have their own unique rules, make sure that you locate and thoroughly read any posted rules before the start of a session.

There are plenty of rules you will need to follow.  However, there is one that particular that we are going to stress; DO NOT ATTEMPT TO MAKE ALTERATIONS TO A BINGO CARD!  First off, it simply isn’t worth the risk.  Secondly, any bingo manager or the caller at any hall you may attend will be more than happy to prosecute anyone that they catch cheating to the full extent of the law.  Follow the rules and be honest.  Here are some of the more common rules you will more than likely encounter at a bingo hall:

 

  • Card reserving is prohibited.
  • It is the player’s responsibility to stop play before the next number is called when they have bingo.  Announcing “Bingo!” in a loud and clear voice so that the caller can hear you.  This must be done prior to the announcement of the next number or else the bingo is invalid.
  • Non-playing friends and relatives are typically not allowed to sit and watch others play.  In most bingo halls, anyone that is seated will have to have their own buy-in and may also require than an attendance ticket be placed in clear view throughout the game.
  • You must be at least 18 years of age to play.
  • Management may prevent people from entering or leaving the hall during high-stakes bingo games.
  • Some halls will sell beer along with other refreshments, while some prohibit alcohol. Additionally, since these establishments want you to buy their snacks and drinks, outside refreshments are typically not allowed.

Here is an important point to bring up.  Make sure you take a valid photo ID and you Social Security card.  If you hit the jackpot, you will be required to fill out tax reporting forms and earnings forms before you can claim your winnings.

Etiquette in Bingo

You will find that bingo players are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet and will happily help you with any issues you are having with your bingo experience.  However, you have to remember that you are in their “house” and a certain etiquette must be followed.  Here are some tips you can use to avoid any issues on your visit to the bingo hall.


Shut your mouth when the caller opens theirs. This is probably the quickest way to get on other players bad-side, talking too much or too loudly when the caller is announcing numbers.  When the game starts, quiet down.

The seat you pick might not be yours.  You will find that there are many superstitions floating around the bingo hall.  One of these is a lucky seat.  If you find a seat that no one is in and are asked to move because it is someone’s lucky seat, your best bet is to graciously move.

Try to keep your kids quiet.  If you have to bring your children with you to the hall, most people will understand and usually won’t mind.  However, they don’t want your children running around and creating all types of distractions when they are trying to focus on the game.  Bring something with you that will help to keep them occupied for a few hours.  Some halls offer “fun” bingo cards that are designed to help occupy children.
Don’t constantly repeat numbers too loudly.  There are a lot of people that will continually repeat the last number that was called in order to help them concentrate.  However, it can prove to be a serious distraction to the others around you.  If you find that you are this type of person, make sure you do it in a manner that does not distract the other players.

 

Make sure you actually have bingo before you call it.  It is easy to get carried away and over excited when you think you have a bingo.  However, calling bingo interrupts the game’s flow and if you called bingo without having it, you could quickly find yourself on the bad side of your fellow players.


If you are frustrated with the game, don’t take it out on the caller.  When a player is on a significant losing streak, they will sometimes take it out on the caller by making sarcastic or insulting comments.  The caller has no control over which number is going to come out of the chute so leave them alone.  If you are having an issue, such as going too fast or not being loud enough, simply ask them politely to slow down or speed up.  If the issue continues, speak with the bingo manager.

Smoke only where you supposed to smoke.  If you are a smoker, respect the non-smokers that are trying to enjoy the game by only smoking in designated areas.

 

These common rules and bingo etiquette tips can help the beginner bingo play to quickly get a feel for the environment.  By reading and following them, you will have problems with fitting in and can enjoy yourself that much more.