What is Bingo?

The law defines bingo in its commonly understood sense as a game in which each player has a card or board for which a consideration has been paid, containing 5 horizontal rows of spaces, with each row except the central one containing 5 figures. The central row has 4 figures with the center space marked with the word "free" or otherwise designated as a predrawn or "free" space. "Bingo" also includes games that otherwise qualify under this paragraph, except for the use of cards where the figures are not preprinted but are filled in by the players.

In Illinois, whenever consideration is paid for the cards or boards in order to play bingo:

  • It is illegal to operate the game commonly known as "bingo" without first obtaining a Bingo License from the Department.
  • It is also illegal to supply bingo equipment or provide a bingo facility to anyone who does not possess a current Illinois Bingo License.
  • Anyone who operates a game "commonly known as bingo" without being licensed by the Department may also be in violation of the Illinois Criminal Code related to gambling (720 ILCS 5/28-1 et seq.).

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