Bingo is a licensed activity that many charitable organizations use to raise funds for their causes. The Ohio Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section regulates bingo throughout the state and licenses eligible nonprofit organizations. It also licenses bingo manufacturers and distributors. Bingo requirements are outlined in Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Section 2915 and chapters of the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC).
In order to conduct bingo in Ohio, a group must be considered a charitable organization as defined by ORC 2915.08. In addition, an organization must:
In Ohio there are three types of bingo licenses:
The license fee for Type I initial and renewal licenses is based on the number of weeks bingo will be played: $50 for 1 to 4 weeks of play, $150 for 5 to 25 weeks, and $200 for 26 to 52 weeks.
Type II and III initial license fees are based on the number of days and/or weeks of play: $50 for 1 to 5 days of play, $200 for 6 days to 4 weeks, $450 for 5 to 25 weeks, and $500 for 26 to 52 weeks.
Type II and III renewal license fees are calculated by adding a base fee and an amount based on the gross profit from the previous year. For more information about the fee calculation for Type II and III renewal licenses, see ORC 2915.08(A)(1), OAC 109:1-2-02, and OAC 109:1-2-03.
501(c)(3) charitable organizations may contract with retail establishments, such as convenience stores, bars, and restaurants, to sell instant bingo tickets. This is permitted with the appropriate license from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
A list of all locations currently licensed to conduct bingo can be downloaded by selecting View Authorized Bingo Locations above.
Attorney General staff members are available to assist with any questions about the online licensing process. Staff members also routinely make visits to bingo licensees and may be available to provide assistance. For additional information about bingo services, direct questions to 800-282-0515.
Charitable License Management Portal
We launched our new Charitable License Management Portal in September 2019. The new portal is easier for you to use, and enables us to process your applications more quickly. All bingo applications must be submitted and amended through the license management portal.
Because bingo is a cash operation that also relies heavily on volunteers, charitable organizations must protect themselves from theft. The Ohio Attorney General's Office has developed instant bingo ledgers and inventory forms to help charitable organizations track their proceeds from games. Those tools can be found under FORMS below.
Bingo license holders must keep accurate records of the games they conduct and how much money they generate and pay out from those games. New volunteers for bingo games, as well as leaders from organizations considering a bingo license, should consider attending a bingo school training to learn about the various requirements for conducting a bingo game. See the Bingo School section directly below for more details and for a link to register online.
If you are a bingo volunteer or operator and you witness theft or fraud, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to file a complaint or call the Ohio Attorney General’s Help Center at 800-282-0515.
Attend a free, three-hour seminar to learn how to conduct bingo by the book. Learn about the duties of officers and board members, the state's rules and requirements and other issues of interest to bingo operators.
Bingo operators, organization volunteers and anyone considering charitable gaming activities are encouraged to attend. Separate trainings are offered for representatives of veteran, fraternal and sporting organizations, and representatives of 501(c)(3)s.
Participants must register online in advance for this free training.
Manufacturers and Distributors
Bingo operators are required by Ohio law to purchase supplies only from bingo manufacturers and distributors licensed by the Ohio Attorney General's Office.
Applying for a License
Manufacturers and distributors are now required to submit and amend their license applications in the Charitable License Management Portal. The new portal is easier for you to use, and enables us to process your applications more quickly. New users must create an account before submitting their manufacturer or distributor license application.
Manufacturer and distributor licenses are valid for a period of one year. The annual fee for each license type is $5,000. If you have any questions, please call the attorney general's office at 800-282-0515.