National Bingo Game
The National Bingo Game, is a multiple game of bingo operated by the National Bingo Game Association since 1986 and played in some licensed British bingo clubs, every day (except Christmas Day).
Origin of game
It was launched in June 1986 as technology became available whereby clubs were able to connect to a game control centre via modem to receive a preselected list of numbers which were called in the same time window in each participating bingo club.
Clubs then relayed the details of the winner in their club back to the game control, who would then award the National Prize to the club whose winner had claimed in the lowest number of call across the country, and Regional Prizes to the clubs whose winners had claimed in the lowest number of calls in the given regions.
The format and pricing of the game has changed several times since its launch. Originally costing 25 pence per ticket, this has changed to 30 pence, 40 pence, 50 pence and £2 for a set of six tickets amongst others. Prize money has also varied during these changes and the National Prize is presently in the region of £5,000 - £25,000, depending upon the day of the week and session played, plus the Jackpot Prize - See New Game.
Many players prefer to purchase a strip of six tickets, as this guarantees that all numbers 1-90 appear on the strip, so the players know that they will be marking the strip each and every time a number is called.
Technology has improved since the game began in 1986 and currently ADSL secure internet connection is used to collect and distribute data. The game works like this
- Clubs register their ticket sales to game control by the cut-off time
- Approximately 10 minutes before clubs play the game, a list of all 90 call numbers are relayed to the clubs. The clubs must keep a printed list of the numbers so players can check the validity of the game. The numbers are also transmitted to the callers computer so the game can be played.
- After the game is played, each club then inputs their game winner details, the number of calls in which the claim was made and the last number called on the game as a double-check.
- All the winners details are then collated by game control who release the overall winner and results as soon as is viable.
- The national winners then sign paperwork and their claim is verified within approximately ten days when a cheque is issued to them for collection from the winning club. Sometimes presentations are made in the winning club to publicise the win, but some players prefer to remain anonymous.
The National Bingo Game has been in operation for over 25 years and has an unblemished operating record under both The Gaming Board of Great Britain and currently The Gambling Commission.
There have been some controversial incidents with winners in the past, but these have tended to be few and far between. Of these incidents the majority of cases have been related to disagreements between players, where informal agreements between players to each share their winnings with the other/s, have not been honoured. That said there are also cases where some bingo customers share their major winnings with fellow bingo players, even when they are not present in the club. However, as these are independent agreements made between players the National Bingo Game Association, as operator of the game, has no official role in resolving such disputes.
Over the past 25 years there have also been a couple of occasions where underage players have gained admission to a participating club and purchased tickets for the National Bingo Game. As clubs are managed by independent operators the National Bingo Game has no direct control over this issue, however, operators are extremely diligent in trying to ensure no underage gambling takes place. Players participating in the National Bingo Game must be over 18 as an underage player would, by law and under the rules of the game, be ineligible to participate or claim any prize.
Until 1994, the National Bingo Game was the UK’s largest computer controlled game until the National Lottery was launched. The lottery did have a negative impact on attendances at bingo clubs, although the game underwent several changes in attempt to boost prize money and compete with the lottery. Over £1 Billion has been paid out in prize money since the National Bingo Game was launched.
In September 2007, bingo operators were allowed to introduce rollover jackpots for the first time and the National Bingo Game introduced the "Big N" - an optional £1 jackpot charge to players which gave them a chance to play for a gold, silver or platinum jackpot which could exceed £1 million.
Ticket sales for the jackpot were lower than anticipated and the prize was not won for a number of months, before the National Bingo Game decided to reduce the participation charge to 50p, but make it compulsory from January 2008. As a result of this move 3 millionaires were created in the 6 months that followed, but Gala Bingo's decision in September 2008 to withdraw from the National Bingo Game to launch a competing jackpot product meant that further revisions to the game became necessary.
In November 1997, the first Gold Prize winner won the first "Big'N" prize of £556,000 by getting 6 of the 7 Big'N numbers, in Gala Club, East Ham, London. The winner, a married mother of three, used the proceeds to leave Newham and start a new life in suffolk in a three bedroomed house. When she won the prize, the room went wild, with players clapping and cheering while the winner herself, stunned by her success, sat motionless at the table.
In February 2014 a progressive Jackpot element was re-introduced as part of revisions to the game and launched in March 2014, following a period of player and operator research and consultation - see New Format
Following Gala Bingo's withdrawal from the National Bingo Game, the Association and the remaining members needed to make revisions to the game, its prize structure and ticket price. The price of the tickets became 25 pence per ticket each afternoon (£1.50 for a strip of 6) and £1 for a set of 3 or £2 for a set of 6 tickets in the evening.
In February 2014 the Prize structure of the National Bingo Game was revised and formally launched in March. Zone Prizes were removed and a program of ad-hoc prizes and promotions introduced, in addition to a progressive Jackpot Prize rising to £250,000. The special prizes and promotions vary throughout the year and include luxury cruises, additional cash and travel, while the Jackpot remains a constant prize available to be won on every National Bingo Game throughout the year, with the value of the prize varying dependent upon how many tickets have been sold and when it was last won. The current LIVE Jackpot Prize value is displayed on the official National Bingo Game website and is updated regularly.
The National Bingo Game remains a FULL house only game, with a Club Prize going to the winner on the lowest number of calls in the club and the National Prize going to the winner on the lowest number of calls in the country. To successfully claim the Jackpot Prize the winner or winners must have successfully claimed the National Prize and have won on a number highlighted and marked on their winning ticket with a star.
During the first three months of the new National Bingo Game being played the Jackpot Prize was won 7 times, and gave the lucky winners £826,407 in Jackpot winnings, on top of their Club and National Prizes.
The NEW format has proven popular with players and operators, with new clubs joining the Game and increased ticket sales.
- The biggest win ever was on 23 March 2008, when Soraya Lowell from Motherwell, North Lanarkshire scooped GBP £1,167,795. The game was played in the Club 3000 bingo hall in Coatbridge
National Bingo Game Caller of the Year
The National Bingo Game has in the past operated a competition to find the best bingo caller in the UK - the caller of the year competition. Regional heats were held across the country with each winner going forward to the national final. The competition was suspended in 2008
- 2008 competition suspended
- 2007 Blake Robson, Mecca South Shields
- 2006 Brett Hyrjak
- 2005 Karl Seth
- 2004 Mandy Gargan
- 2003 Mike Vyse
- 2002 Peter Lewis
- 2001 Alan Stockdale
- 2000 Phil Groom
- 1999 Steve Linder