Where can I conduct Bingo?
A licensed authorized organization may conduct bingo in the county of their primary
business office or an adjacent county.
My organization just started conducting bingo. How do I learn how to keep accurate
Please read the Bingo Enabling Act and Charitable Bingo Administrative Rules, and
review the Quarterly Report forms. Also please see the Minimum Internal Control Standards for
the Proper Accounting of Revenue and Expenses, Guidelines for Additional Bingo Records, and
Guidelines for House Rules before you
start conducting bingo. All are available on this Web site. We also suggest that you attend
Bingo Training Class
conducted by the Commission, or take the class
to learn more about bingo bookkeeping.
We no longer play bingo. What do we do with the funds in our bingo
A licensed authorized organization that has ceased to conduct bingo for any reason
and that has unexpended bingo funds shall disburse those funds before the end of the next calendar
quarter after the calendar quarter in which the organization ceases to conduct bingo.
We no longer play bingo. Can I sell / donate equipment, unused paper, pull-tabs? How do I
destroy equipment or supplies?
Any remaining, unopened bingo supplies and equipment may be returned to the
distributor for a refund. You may also request written permission from the Charitable Bingo
Operations Division to sell or donate supplies or equipment to a specific licensed organization.
For your convenience, you may complete the following forms as required:
Supplies or equipment that cannot be
returned, sold, or donated can only be destroyed in the presence of a commission employee.
The following forms are available on our website:
Form 3-406 – Surrendered Bingo Property, Single Sheet,
Form 3-407 – Surrendered Bingo Property, UPS Pads and
Form 3-408 – Surrendered Bingo Property, Instant Bingo.
These forms should be prepared by your organization and the
completed forms should be submitted to our office for our review. After our office reviews
the forms for completeness, a date will be scheduled for a Charitable Bingo Division representative
to observe the destruction of your bingo supplies.
The destruction and the disposal of the bingo paper or pull-tabs
will be your organization’s responsibility and the Charitable Bingo Division representative's
function will be to verify the inventory counts and observe the destruction only.
The Lottery Commission requires all bingo records to be retained
for four years. After four years, a witnessed destruction is not required.
Any refunds obtained for unused
bingo material must be accounted for and distributed with other remaining funds. Contact our office
for more detailed information.
How does a telephone or fax amendment work?
An organization that holds a license to conduct bingo may change only their licensed
days and times through use of a telephone or fax amendment. The telephone amendment requires the
caller to use the Personal Identification Number (PIN#) that is issued to the organization and
mailed in a letter at the time of original licensing. Both fax and telephone amendments require
that the $10 amendment fee which must be previously deposited into an amendment fee escrow account.
No license can be issued without the required license fee being paid. Contact the licensing staff
for more details at 1-800-246-4677 (BINGO77).
How do I calculate the 35% charitable distribution?
On October 1, 2009 the manner for which the amount of required charitable
distributions is calculated changed.
Under the amended Section 2001.457 of the Bingo Enable Act, a
licensed authorized organization MUST disburse ALL net proceeds from the preceding quarter less the
retained operating capital in lieu of the 35% formula.
What exactly is the Operating Capital Limit?
for a good explanation and example
of the Operating Capital Limit.
What is the late penalty fee that is charged if a quarterly return is filed after the due
The late penalty fee is charged for unpaid balances of prize fees or gross rental
tax due. If your payment of prize fees or gross rental tax is 1 to 30 days late, the penalty is 5%
of the unpaid balance due. If your payment is paid 31 to 60 days late, the penalty is 10% of the
unpaid balance due. If your unpaid prize fee or gross rental tax balance exceeds $100.00 and the
payment is more than 20 days after a notice of determination penalty has been issued, an additional
10% jeopardy determination penalty must be added to the amount due. If a determination penalty
becomes final your organization may also be required to post a bond or increase the amount of an
We have not received our license renewal paperwork and our license expires in two
days. Do we have to stop playing bingo?
Please call our office 1-800-246-4677 (BINGO77) immediately. We mail the
renewal notices approximately 30 to 45 days in advance of the license expiration date. We can fax a
copy to you in an emergency. The forms must be postmarked on or before the license expiration
date. Should your organization miss the deadline, you may renew your license up to 60 days
after the license expiration date by paying an additional late renewal fee.
To renew a license after the 60
th day after the date the license expires, the organization must file an original
application and cease all bingo activities for which the license is required as of the 61
st day after the date the license expires until a new license is issued.
Why can't we drop off the applications at the regional offices? Why can't the regional
office give me my license?
The regional offices are not set up to receive applications and license fee checks.
All licenses are issued and printed in Austin. If needed, the application may be faxed to
(512) 344-5142, but we are unable to process the application until sufficient payment is
I did not receive my temporary license Monday. Today is Tuesday and the game is Wednesday.
Can you fax a copy of the license? Can I play without it?
We cannot fax a license. An organization must have the actual license or a Letter of
Authority from our office posted at the playing location to conduct the game. A Letter of
Authority states the same information found on the license and is issued only when the license will
not reach the organization by mail before the bingo occasion. The Letter of Authority will be faxed
to the organization and is to be displayed as a license. It is the organization's responsibility to
get the temporary application in to our office to allow a minimum of 7 working days process
Can I get copies of previously filed quarterly reports or copies of applications for my
organization that I have misplaced?
Yes, quarterly report information and applications are available:
If you only need the financial data that was previously filed in a quarterly report,
authorized users may access and log-in to the Bingo Services Center (from our website at
, or directly from the URL:
) and look at the applicable quarterly report(s) for their organization(s) under the
Financial Reports column. (Authorized users are individuals named on the current bingo license for
an organization or given access by the Bingo Chairperson or business contact, as applicable, for
If you need a printed copy of the original quarterly report previously filed, you
will need to make an Open Records request in writing.
Copies of Applications
If you need a copy of an application previously filed by your organization (renewal,
amendment, temporary license, etc.), you will need to make an Open Records request in
To make an Open Records Request
You may mail or fax your request to our open records coordinator in our Legal
Services Division. Please be as specific as possible as to which documents you are requesting.
There may be a charge for this service depending on number of printed pages and/or amount of staff
processing time involved.
Open Records Coordinator
Texas Lottery Commission
P.O. Box 16630
Austin, TX 78761-6630
Tel: (512) 344-5420
Fax: (512) 344-5189
Is there a limit on how much money my organization can have in its bingo
Organizations are allowed to keep the average of their actual expenses per quarter
based on the preceding four quarters from their license end date, excluding prizes paid, not to
exceed $50,000. Each organization will be notified by the commission of this operating capital
A licensed authorized organization may apply to the Commission for a waiver of this
operating capital limit.
Can I change the previous proceeds undistributed on line 36 on my quarterly report; it is
not even close to the balance in my check book?
A Reconciliation of Undistributed Net Proceeds form was mailed with your Quarterly
Report for the third quarter of 2009 and due on October 26, 2009. You can correct the
undistributed net proceeds with this form at that time. After that time, yes you can send in
an amended return. If you have reconciled your bingo checking account and savings account (if
you have a bingo savings account) and added your petty cash as of the end of the previous quarter,
you may enter this amount on line 36 of your current report, with the notation to the left of the
amount entered explaining the reason for the change. After doing so, do not adjust the previous
proceeds undistributed figure for subsequent quarters because it most likely is an error in
bookkeeping. You should go back to the beginning of the quarter and recheck your bookkeeping and
posting to determine why the undistributed proceeds do not balance with your checkbook and petty
How much prize fees does the organization collect from winners?
A licensed authorized organization must remit a 5% prize fee for all prizes awarded.
Prizes of $5 or less may be paid by the organization directly or collected from the prize
If I file and pay my prize fees or rental tax after the due date can I have the penalties
waived for various reasons?
The Charitable Bingo Operations Director, for good cause shown, may waive a penalty
if a licensee holding a license to conduct bingo or license to lease bingo premises exercised
reasonable diligence to comply with Occupations Code, Section 2001.504. The Division will not
consider a request for a penalty or interest waiver until the principal related to the specific
request is paid in full. To be considered, a written request stating the reason(s) penalty should
be waived must be sent to the Charitable Bingo Operations Division within 14 days of the date the
quarterly report or prize fees or rental taxes were due. For more information, consult Section
2001.504 of the Bingo Enabling Act and Administrative Rule 402.602.
How do I come into compliance with our organization’s charitable distribution obligation
before my assigned hearing date if I can’t get a copy of the canceled check before the
If you purchase a cashier’s check with money from the bingo checking account, you
may mail or fax a copy of the cashier’s check with the notation on the cashier’s check that it is
for a charitable distribution and the period(s) that it is to be applied to. The check should be
made payable to your general fund account or to a qualified charity. You will also need to submit a
copy of the deposit slip and amended quarterly report(s) revealing the total charitable
distribution(s) for the quarterly period(s) that the distribution(s) was due.
Can we pay for door prizes from the bingo account?
A door prize, a giveaway, or any
promotion for that matter may be paid from the bingo account only if it can be shown that the
promotion financially benefited the organization or unit. If not, it must come from non-bingo
This is not to say that you cannot
try the door prize or other promotion a few times to see if it will work for your organization and
be profitable. If you look at the results and decide that it isn’t worth the investment
because it is not increasing sales and abandon the door prize promotion, the expense would almost
always be permissible and therefore may be paid from the bingo account. Remember,
documentation must be kept for all expenses paid from the bingo bank
How much may I pay workers, callers, and cashiers?
There is no limit on wages for callers, cashiers, and ushers; however, you may only
pay what is "reasonable or necessary" (§ 2001.458, Bingo Enabling Act). Factors that
determine reasonable or necessary may include attendance and sales amounts.
May I pull a box of instant bingo pull tabs before the entire box is sold out?
A licensed organization may not withdraw a series of cards from play until the
series is completely sold out or all winning cards of $5.00 or more have been cashed or the bingo
occasion ends (Rule 402.300, Charitable Bingo Administrative Rules). Therefore, you may pull
a box of instant bingo pull tabs before the entire box is sold out if the occasion has ended or if
all winners greater than $5.00 have been redeemed.
What is this required Bingo Training Program? Can we conduct bingo without it? We can't
afford to go.
As of October 1, 2009, all Bingo Chairpersons, Designated Agents and Unit Manager
must attended the Bingo Training Program and maintain a certificate of completion at all
times. A certificate of completion from the Bingo Training Program is valid for two years so
the individual must retake the training before the expiration date of the certificate.
Attendance at the Bingo Training Program is optional for the organization’s
officers, directors, operators and workers however the commission highly recommends that these
persons attend to help ensure that the organization remains in compliant with the Bingo Enabling
Act and Charitable Bingo Administrative Rules.
The following topics will be covered in the training program: Introduction, General
Information, Conducting a Bingo Game, Record-keeping Requirements, Administration and Operation of
a Bingo Game and Promoting a Bingo Game.
All reasonably or necessary expenses or costs of attendance may be paid from the
licensed authorized organization's bingo bank account. Expenses and costs are limited to
travel, lodging, meals, and materials.
Bingo Chairpersons, Designated Agents and Unit Managers any other individual wishing
to attend the class may sign up for attendance and view future training dates/locations on the
Charitable Bingo Operations Division web site (
), or by calling our Austin office at 1-800-246-4677. Generally, physical-site
classes will be tentatively scheduled for two classes per bingo audit region.
Additionally, the Bingo Training Program is also available and may be
Our Bingo Chairperson has been hospitalized following a car accident. Can we play bingo
The Bingo Chairperson is not required to be at the playing location while bingo is
conducted. Rather, one member who has been appointed as an operator must be present at all times
during the licensed bingo session. Many times the Bingo Chairperson will also serve as an
operator for the organization and fulfill this responsibility as well. In this case where the
Bingo Chairperson is overseeing the licensed bingo session, he/she is functioning as an
operator. If the organization has previously appointed other members as operators and these
individuals are currently listed on the organization's bingo record and the Registry of Approved
Bingo Workers, they may serve as the operator on duty and conduct the licensed bingo session. If
the organization has not designated any other operators and the Bingo Chairperson who is serving as
the organization’s operator is not available, the organization may not conduct
bingo. Therefore, it is recommended that every organization have a more than one operator
designate to ensure that the conduct of bingo will not be impacted.
Why was the renewal of my license held up because of an operator and a problem with their
The Bingo Enabling Act requires every director, officer and operator of an
organization holding a bingo license to undergo a background check conducted by the Department of
Public Safety (DPS). This background check can take 1-30 days processing time depending if an
investigation must be conducted based on the criminal history check. A license may not be
issued or renewed without all personnel having passed a background check. If an individual is found
disqualified, the organization will later be notified.
Your office sent a letter indicating my 501c exemption was not valid. We have been in
existence since 1923 and have played bingo since 1981. Why do we have a problem now?
An organization's 501c exemption from IRS must be valid in order to hold a
license to conduct bingo. If your organization has a parent organization that holds the 501c
exemption and your organization is listed as a subordinate organization with the IRS, the
parent organization must re-certify your organization each year as being in good standing. If your
organization holds its own 501c exemption, there may be a problem with IRS records. Contact the IRS
at 1-877-829-5500 for procedures on resolving this problem.
I mailed in my renewal overnight express mail. It came back in the mail as undeliverable.
What is going on?
When using the U.S. Postal Service, you must use our mailing address: Charitable
Bingo Operations Division, Texas Lottery Commission, P.O. Box 16630, Austin, 78761-6630. The U.S.
Postal Service does not deliver any mail to our physical address: 611 E. 6th Street, Austin, 78701,
even if it is express overnight, next-day delivery. If you are using express delivery services
(FEDEX, UPS, Lone Star Overnight, etc.) they deliver only to our physical address.
When does the organization make the deposit for the bingo occasion?
A licensed authorized organization must deposit in their bingo account all funds
derived from the conduct of bingo, less the amount awarded as prizes, not later than the second (2
nd) business day after the day of the bingo occasion on which the receipts were
How can I pay for expenses out of my bingo bank account?
Expenses can be paid from the bingo bank account by electronic funds transfer or by
preprinted, consecutively numbered checks or withdrawal slips, signed by an authorized
representative of the licensed authorized organization and made payable to a person. The
nature of the payment made must be noted on the face of the check or withdrawal slip.
Only reasonable or necessary expenses may be incurred or paid in connection with the
conduct of bingo and documentation for all expenses must be maintained by the organization or
Since the Charitable Bingo website is so important to keeping licensed charities informed and
in regulatory compliance, would it be a legitimate bingo expense to have our organization buy a
computer and/or contract for internet services?
Yes, the purchase of a computer and/or internet access would be a reasonable
or necessary bingo expense if the following conditions are met:
(a.) The computer and internet services are used exclusively for maintenance of
bingo records, access to the bingo website, downloading bingo forms, etc. If the computer is
used to maintain organizational records (non-bingo records), casual web surfing, social interaction
(Facebook etc.), then the organization would have to pro-rate the expense of the computer and/or
the cost of monthly internet access services.
(b.)The computer system and/or peripheral components are reasonable or necessary to
the conduct of bingo and/or the maintenance of bingo records. Additional software and peripheral
components on the computer not needed for the conduct of bingo operations (such as video games)
would not be a reasonable or necessary bingo expense. Software shared between bingo
operations and non-bingo activity require the organization to pro-rate the expense of the computer
to bingo and non-bingo use.
Can I write one check from the organization’s bingo bank account to pay for rent and
Rent for premises used for the conduct of bingo must be paid in a lump sum. The
lump sum must include all expenses authorized by Section 2001.458 of the Bingo Enabling Act that
are paid by the licensed authorized organization to the lessor in connection with the use of
A licensed authorized organization or unit may pay as a separate expense, based on
the percentage of the total area of the lessor’s facility that the organization or unit uses as the
bingo premises for the conduct of bingo, the organization’s or unit’s pro rata share of:
property taxes on the facility that are paid by the lessor, excluding penalties and
interest on the taxes;
water, electric, and gas utility expenses for the facility that are paid by the
lessor; excluding any late fees or other penalties;
and property and casualty insurance premiums for the facility that are paid by the
lessor, excluding any late fees or other penalties.