9.3.1. Municipal Licensing Policies

The following policies apply to bingo licences issued by municipalities:

  1. A municipal council may issue a licence with maximum prize boards of up to $5,500 where the applicant is eligible and it is in the best interest of the community.
  2. A municipal council is not obliged to issue a licence and may take into account factors such as:
  • the number of licences already issued;
  • existing playing locations;
  • existing playing time slots;
  • the applicant’s ability to conduct and manage the event and to raise sufficient funds;
  • the applicant’s financial need; and
  • community benefit.
  1. A municipal council may attach additional terms and conditions to the licences it issues, provided that they do not conflict with the terms and conditions and the policies established by the Registrar.
  2. Traditionally, eligible organizations have been limited to up to 52 licensed bingo events per year. However, a municipal council has the authority to set the number at greater or lesser maximum bingo events per year.
  3. An eligible charitable organization may be licensed in more than one municipality, if none of the licences run during the same licensing period. The organization must notify each municipality of its licences in other municipalities.


This section contains information on municipally issued licences for the following types of bingo games and events:

  1. Regular Bingo
  2. Merchandise Bingo
  3. Loonie Pot Bingo
  4. Decision Bingo
  5. Table Board Bingo
  6. Media Bingo.

9.3.2 (A) Regular Bingo

Pursuant to the Order-in-Council, a municipality may issue licences allowing eligible charitable organizations to conduct Regular Bingo events with prize boards that do not exceed $5,500.

The licensee’s game schedule may include any combination of fixed prize and variable prize games. Variable prize games must show a minimum and maximum prize payout for each game on the schedule.

If all the games on a licensee’s schedule are variable prize games, the maximum prizes to be awarded cannot exceed 60 per cent of gross sales for each game. The total prizes paid out can never exceed the licensed prize board.

9.3.2 (B) Merchandise Bingo

“Merchandise Bingo” is a bingo game or event where the prize board consists of items of merchandise. An eligible organization may be licensed to conduct Merchandise Bingo as a regular bingo event, as part of a Regular Bingo event or at a “black tie event”.

At a “black tie event”, participants play by invitation only. They pay a fixed amount to participate in the event. The entrance fee covers the cost of playing bingo.

Boards of designated fairs or exhibitions, or concession operators at designated fairs or exhibitions, may apply to the Registrar to conduct Merchandise Bingo events during the fair or exhibition.

See also Chapter 8: Fair and Exhibition Gaming Event.

9.3.2 (b) (i) Merchandise Bingo licensing policies

The following licensing policies apply to Merchandise Bingo games conducted as a Regular Bingo event, as part of a regular bingo event or at a “black tie event”:

  1. The retail value (including taxes and duties) of the merchandise offered at Merchandise Bingo events cannot exceed $5,500.
  2. A receipt or invoice is required for any prize with a retail value of $500 or more, including applicable taxes.
  3. The prizes must be awarded without encumbrances of any kind. For example, the prizes cannot be leased.
  4. If two or more players have a winning combination on the same number called, the game must continue to a full card. If the game is still tied after a full card has been called, the tied participants must be given new cards to play a supplementary game. The supplementary game must be conducted in the same manner as the tied game, until a winner is declared. These rules must be clearly announced before the game begins.
  5. An organization may be licensed for only one Merchandise Bingo event at a time.

9.3.2 (C) Loonie Pot Bingo

A Loonie Pot Bingo is a special, variable prize game within a Regular Bingo game schedule. Bingo patrons pay a dollar to have their bingo paper stamped for the designated Loonie Pot Bingo game. Before the game begins, a number is selected, announced and put back into the machine. If a player with stamped bingo paper calls bingo and their winning number arrangement contains the pre-selected number, they also win the Loonie Pot Bingo prize. (Note that “Loonie Pot Bingo” is different from “Loonie Progressive Bingo”; see 9.4.1(G) Loonie Progressive game, and 9.4.2(E) Loonie Progressive gamefor more information.)

9.3.2 (c) (i) Loonie Pot Bingo licensing

The following licensing policies apply to Loonie Pot Bingo:

  1. The maximum prize payout is $100. Any surplus collected for the Loonie Pot Bingo prize becomes part of the net proceeds to be used for the charitable objects or purposes as approved on the application for licence.
  2. The licensee must determine which game will be played for the regular game prize plus the Loonie Pot Bingo prize, and must have the game approved by the licensing authority as part of the game schedule.
  3. The Loonie Pot Bingo prize cannot be carried over to another bingo event. The licensee must establish a procedure for awarding the Loonie Pot, if the winner of the designated game is not eligible for the Loonie Pot prize.
  4. The Loonie Pot Bingo prize must be part of the up to $5,500 prize board for the regular game schedule.
  5. Only one Loonie Pot Bingo game is allowed per Regular Bingo event.
  1. The terms and conditions for the Regular Bingo and the general licensing policies regarding variable games apply to the Loonie Pot Bingo game.

9.3.2 (D) Decision Bingo

Decision Bingo differs from Regular Bingo in two ways:

  • players use chips to purchase bingo paper, and
  • during each game, players have the option of ending play or continuing to play by using chips to ante.

Players purchase chips at $0.25 each for (a) buying regular bingo paper in single strips and/or books for an amount authorized by the licensing authority, and (b) upping the ante.

Before the start of each game, the caller announces the number of cards in play. After three numbers have been called, the players must decide whether or not to continue playing. If a player continues, the player must ante one chip ($0.25) after each three numbers have been called. The game continues until a one-line bingo winner is declared. The prize awarded is the total value of the antes received during the game, up to a limit of $100.

9.3.2 (d) (i) Decision Bingo licensing

The following licensing policies apply to Decision Bingo:

  1. Municipalities may license Decision Bingo events under a Regular Bingo licence, for prize boards up to $5,500.
  2. Decision Bingo may only be played on a program made up entirely of Decision Bingo games.
  3. The municipality must issue a licence for a specific time period and must indicate the maximum number of games allowed during that period.
  4. Applicants for Decision Bingo licences must submit all documents required for Regular Bingo events.
  5. Municipalities may charge a Decision Bingo licence fee of up to three (3) per cent of the maximum prizes to be awarded.
  6. Decision Bingo may not be conducted in conjunction with any other bingo event.

9.3.2 (d) (ii) Decision Bingo terms and conditions

In addition to the Regular Bingo reporting requirements, the additional terms and conditions require that Decision Bingo financial reports include:

  • the number of players for each game;
  • the number of cards sold for each game; and
  • the amount of antes paid for each game.

9.3.2 (E) Table Board Bingo

Table Board Bingo, also known as “shutter board” bingo, is a bingo game played on a mechanical table board bingo device. This device contains permanent bingo cards and shutters. A player marks a number by covering it with a shutter. The prize amount is variable and is determined by the number of boards in play.

A municipality may license an eligible organization to conduct Table Board Bingo as a Regular Bingo event or as part of a Regular Bingo event, where the total prize board for the event does not exceed $5,500.

See 9.4.1(E) Table Board Bingo, for licences issued by the Registrar.

The following policies apply to municipally issued licences for Regular Bingo events that are made up entirely of Table Board Bingo or include Table Board Bingo games as part of the Regular Bingo prize board:

  1. No limit is set on the number of Table Board Bingo games that may be played within a licensed event, provided that the prizes awarded do not exceed the licensed prize amount.
  2. If a Regular Bingo event is made up entirely of Table Board Bingo games, the prizes paid out cannot exceed 60 per cent of the gross proceeds for the event, up to a maximum of $5,500. If the municipality has set a lower prize limit for Regular Bingo events, the prizes cannot exceed that amount.
  3. Prize amounts for Table Board Bingo games must be based on a percentage of the revenue collected for each game. While the percentage may vary from game to game, the Table Board Bingo prizes paid out cannot exceed 60 per cent of the total revenues collected for the licensed bingo event. The percentage payout for the Table Board Bingo game must be noted on the game schedule and in the licence application.
  4. A Table Board Bingo event must be conducted during the time appearing on the licence.
  5. A licensee may not hold a Super Jackpot game in conjunction with a Regular Bingo event made up entirely of Table Board Bingo games.
  6. All other policies for Regular Bingo events licensed by a municipality, as outlined in Section 9.3.1, apply to Table Board Bingo games.

9.3.2(F) Media Bingo

Pursuant to the Order-in-Council, a municipality may issue licences allowing eligible organizations to conduct a Media Bingo event with prize boards that do not exceed $5,500.

Media Bingo is operated through the public media including radio, newspaper, or television. Media Bingo differs from Regular Bingo in that the licensee may only sell bingo cards that have a clearly visible, consecutively numbered serial number. This is for tracking purposes, as bingo cards are usually distributed to local merchants who sell the bingo cards on behalf of the licensee organization. The licence number must appear on all Media Bingo cards.

Persons who have covered the specified arrangement of numbers required to win would call a local telephone number to register their “bingo” and provide their card to the licensee in order to collect their prize.

Radio Bingo

Games may be aired on the radio in one of two ways:

  1. on a half- to one-hour program, where numbers are called and all games are completed during this time period; or
  2. for a period of two to four weeks on the radio where a few numbers are drawn and called daily at a specified time (for example, three numbers a day are called until a winner is declared).

Newspaper Bingo

The bingo numbers are published in a local newspaper and run for a period of time, usually two to four weeks in length, with a few called numbers being published each day. The game proceeds until a winner has been declared.

Television Bingo

This type of bingo is usually aired over a local cable television station in a half-hour or hour-long program. The winner is the first person to phone in and claim a bingo during the broadcast.

9.3.2 (f) (i) Media Bingo licensing policies

The following licensing policies apply to Media Bingo:

  1. Municipalities may license Media Bingo events for prize boards of up to $5,500.
  2. An eligible organization may be licensed for only one Media Bingo event at a time and the licence cannot be issued for more than six (6) months.
  3. If a licensee wishes to sell its bingo cards in municipalities outside of the one where the bingo is being managed and conducted, the licensee must obtain a letter of approval from each municipality in which it proposes to sell bingo cards.
  4. Licensees must conduct the Media Bingo in accordance with the Media Bingo Licence Terms and Conditions.


Applicants must submit their bingo licence applications to the municipality in which the bingo event is to be held. The following documents must be submitted:

  1. a completed application on a form issued by the Registrar;
  2. the licence fee (a municipality may set its own lottery licensing fee structure, provided the total fees charged do not exceed the amount prescribed by the Registrar);
  3. a game schedule outlining:
  • bingo games to be played;
  • the winning arrangement of numbers for each game;
  • the value of the prize for each game;
  • the minimum and maximum payouts for variable prize games, also known as “share the wealth” games, including any Table Board Bingo games;
  • the set percentage used to calculate the variable prizes for the individual Table Board Bingo games;
  • the price of the bingo paper, if applicable;
  • the total value of all prizes offered for the bingo event;
  • the name and address of the premises where the bingo event is to be held (see also 9.1.2. Bingo hall registration);
  • any special purchase provisions for used bingo paper exchanged for new paper (for example, $0.25 instead of $0.50); and
  • the starting and ending time for the time slot for the licensed Regular Bingo event, and any bingo games played in conjunction with it, including the fixed time slot for any Table Board Bingo games.