Are Bingo Halls Rigged and Use Unfair Practices?



20 Oct, 2023

Well, there have been instances in which bingo halls have been found guilty of cheating – but it was never the company that rigged the bingo games in an organized fashion and instead always single workers who colluded with their friends or family. 

Gala Bingo Cheating Incident in 2009

The most notorious case in which a bingo hall was in the headlines for having had a cheating scandal was in 2009. The incident happened at a hall managed by Gala Bingo, who now also operates one of the largest bingo sites. In this case, the bingo caller has switched off the Random Number Generator of the machine and pronounced numbers he gave his girlfriend in advance, resulting in her winning the main prize of 10,000 pounds. 

One eagle-sighted player noticed the odd behavior of the bingo caller and notified the managers, which caused an inspection and ultimately lead to the fraud being uncovered and the three (one more person was involved) suspects being charged for fraud. None of the involved now work at any bingo hall any longer and allegedly lived on benefits for an undisclosed time shortly after that. There was one more accomplice who also worked at the Gala Bingo Hall, making the team that committed fraud a team of three. None of them received jail sentences after they plead guilty to conspire and defraud the venue.  

This was the only case in the United Kingdom in which a bingo fraud scandal made the headlines, which indicates that these things don’t happen often, at least not at that scale. 

A spokesman from Gala Bingo said that he was relieved that this incident didn’t occur during one of the times in which the prize pool was even higher, as they can reach up to 600,000 pounds.

“There was a lot of money involved and that meant Gala had to report it to the Gaming Commission. It is believed a secret code was used to make a set of numbers come up instead of the ones randomly generated. “The prize was substantial, but could have been more.

The Gala High 5 game has top prizes of up to £600,000.” A Gala spokesman said: “The incident was brought to the attention of the manager, who carried out an investigation. As a result, one member of staff has been dismissed and the other suspended pending further investigation. The Mirror

Bingo Halls don’t cheat

Bingo Halls themselves don’t have reason to cheat as those venues are profitable businesses. The gambling venues, offline and online, are heavily regulated in the United Kingdom – namely by agencies such as the UKGC, among many others, and those are responsible for overseeing that everything goes according to law, to protect consumers. 

Bingo Halls themselves don’t have reason to cheat as those venues are profitable businesses.

If any foul play would be detected by the authorities, the venues’ license to operate would be revoked and business couldn’t continue, which is why the operators do the utmost to adhere to the guidelines and requirements set by them.

Why they don’t have to cheat

Bingo is a game that is developed with a mechanic that ensures the operator makes a profit offering the game, in the long run. Now, in the short term, you can win more often than you are supposed to, which is the reason why it seems that you could win long-term – but that’s not the case. 

The edge bingo operators have by offering the game can be as high as 30% of your stakes, which means you’d lose £3 if you were to stake £10, on average, every time you partake.

So, no – bingo hall operators do not cheat, as they already have a stream of income generated by the edge offering the game gives them. 

What about online bingo operators?

Online bingo is even safer than regular bingo halls because employees can not physically change the machines to influence the outcomes. Online casinos don’t even develop their own games (unless those are independent bingo operators) and instead rent them from game providers, resulting in the games’ code being stored on third-party servers, inaccessible to the casino. And accessing that code would be the only way to manipulate the odds of the game.

The way it works is that game manufactures develop bingo titles which are then tested by third-part agencies who then attest whether the odds are fair and if the games’ outcomes are generated randomly and gives every player the same chance of winning. Once those agencies tested the bingo games and attested that they were developed according the regulatory requirements, online casinos can then lend them for a fee and offer them on their platform. The games are furthermore tested randomly within specific timeframes. If any foul play would be detected, the online casinos would risk losing its license and the right to operate within the UK. 



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