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Charity begins at bingo

The origins of bingo can be traced all the way back to the 1530s and was originally developed from the Italian lottery game “Lo Giuoco del Lotto”. Whilst the history of bingo spans many centuries, the modern game of bingo as we now know it was created in the 20th century by American Edwin S. Lowe who adapted the game to be the recognisable version we love to play today.

The first official charity based bingo game occurred in 1950 when Pastor Charles H. Hagus asked Lowe for help in refurbishing his church, called The Annunciation, in northeast Denver. An instant hit, this unusual method of fundraising proved so popular that it soon became a regular occurrence.

The modern game of bingo is the perfect fit for charity; it is sociable, easy to set up and games can be held just about anywhere, making it an ideal fit for an event. Much like most lotteries, many bingo games nowadays are charity based with a large percentage of profits going to worthy causes, there are still prizes to be won of course but these tend to be token pots with the emphasis very much on participation and the giving aspect of the game.

In home of bingo, the US, events traditionally tend to be held in churches or by the charity themselves, although with the advent of online bingo it was always only a matter of time before charity games and profit sharing became more common. With larger audiences and the ability to hold more games, charity bingo online is starting to be seen as the way forward for charity organisations worldwide.

Thinking of setting up a charity bingo event?

Not everyone can hold a charity bingo event, there are certain rules and regulations that must be met in order to make any event legal. The specifics of these will vary depending on which country you are in, however there are a set of general guidelines which can be applied worldwide:

1. To be classed as a charity bingo event, it should not make a profit and be for fundraising purposes only.

2. Staff running the event should be on a voluntary basis only and not be paid.

3. The proceeds of any charity bingo event should go towards the cause it was meant for.

4. Players who attend the charity bingo should be informed and aware of the cause they are playing for.

5. A charity bingo event cannot be held in conjunction with any political interference.

6. Many countries will have a limit of any jackpot prizes allowed, including the value of these, the number of games held how the prize money is distributed.

7. Being a charity bingo event, the majority of any money raised should go to the cause it was being raised for. The Association of Charity Lotteries suggests no more than 20% of the money raised should be used to cover costs, the 80% that is left should then be split 50/50 to the charity and any prize money – “ideally, the operational costs of the lottery do not exceed 20% of turnover, with the remaining 80% equally divided between donations to charities (40%) and prize money (40%)”.

Reasons to attend a charity bingo event

Thinking of attending a charity bingo event? Never been before or still on the fence about whether to go? Well, like any event there are positives and negatives which can help make your mind up.

Positives:
1. Participating in a charity bingo event gives a great sense of self-worth, not only are you having fun with a chance of winning a prize, you are also contributing towards a worthy cause, a win-win situation.

2. Whether you win or lose, the ultimate winner is the charity you are playing for. Sure, you may lose a few pennies playing but in the end everyone is a winner as you have contributed to the charity in question anyway whilst having fun.

3. In some countries gambling is prohibited, unless it is classed as a not for profit game, which technically charity bingo is, and is a way of gambling legally.

Negatives:
1. Hoping to win big? Not likely to happen at a charity bingo event, the idea is to raise money not to make people rich, events are more about taking part and awareness with limited prize funds.

2. Where there are charities there are thieves. Not every organisation is reputable so make sure you know about the charity you contributing to and whether they are legitimate before you end out lining the pockets of someone less charitable than yourself with your generosity.

Playing for charity online

Although charity bingo events have been held since the 1950s, online bingo has been relatively slow in catching onto the idea of donating a portion of their profits to worthy causes.

One such site that has taken this on board is Charity Bingo, an online bingo site we have reviewed which donates a percentage of their profits to a charity of the month. A generous idea which we think other sites should also adopt, not only is Charity Bingo a great online bingo site, but with the knowledge that others less fortunate are also benefiting as you play, means it stands out from a very crowded online market.

Charity Bingo
Charity Bingo is an online bingo site all about making a difference, as the name suggests, by donating a portion of every deposit made to good causes designated as Charity Bingo Heroes. Originally launched towards the end of 2012, the site has subsequently gone through a redesign to the current theme currently in use today…read more

The future of charity bingo

Combining the game of bingo with charitable causes seems like a natural fit; the bingo crowd are a generous, sociable bunch and this gives them even more excuses to dive headlong into their favourite past time whilst helping out those less fortunate than themselves.

With the advent of the internet and the explosion of online bingo sites vying for attention in what is currently a very competitive market, playing for charity was always bound to take hold and you can expect to see more sites adopt this approach in the years to come, which can surely only be a good thing for all those involved, websites, players and charities a like.

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