Electronic Instant Bingo
In Ohio, qualified veterans and fraternal organizations may be eligible to conduct electronic instant bingo. Electronic instant bingo was legalized in June 2021 and is a modernization of traditional paper pull tabs.
In addition to licensing veterans and fraternal organizations to conduct electronic instant bingo, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office also licenses the manufacturers and distributors that supply the electronic equipment. Manufacturers and distributors of electronic instant bingo systems must obtain an endorsement from the attorney general’s office. Veterans and fraternal organizations can only obtain electronic instant bingo supplies from a licensed and endorsed electronic instant bingo distributor.
Charitable organizations and bingo manufacturers and distributors must apply for their licenses online at the attorney general’s Charitable Account Management Portal.
The office recommends the following best practices to protect your organization’s electronic instant bingo license:
- Each organization licensed to play electronic instant bingo should have, at least, two electronic instant bingo operators. Please ensure your organization’s application is regularly updated to reflect members holding these bingo roles. Under Proposed Rule OAC 109:1-4-20, for purposes of Chapter 2915 of the Revised Code “bingo game operator” of electronic instant bingo means any person who sells or redeems electronic instant bingo tickets, credits, or vouchers, or who accesses an electronic instant bingo system or electronic instant bingo funds other than as a participant.
- Organizations must be aware of their fiduciary responsibilities. A person who holds charitable funds for the benefit of others has fiduciary duties. These duties include the duty of care, the duty of loyalty, the duty to maintain accounts, and the duty of compliance. Violation of fiduciary duties could jeopardize your organization’s bingo license and even result in personal liability. Review the information on our Resources for Charities page for more information about your obligations as a fiduciary.
- Each organization should establish internal control policies for their electronic instant bingo operations. Internal controls are policies and procedures that protect charitable funds by avoiding and detecting internal threats like theft, embezzlement and mismanagement of funds. Lack of internal controls can result in a breach of fiduciary duty and jeopardize the charitable organizations bingo license and future.
- Each organization is required to maintain a separate checking account for their electronic bingo proceeds. Organizations are required to maintain copies of their bank statements and check images from all bingo accounts for a minimum of three years. These records must be uploaded online each quarter in the Charitable Account Management Portal. Be sure to select accurate files types and upload the files into the “Bingo Licensee Quarterly Report” folder. (Review the Electronic Instant Bingo Quarterly Report Notification Letter for a complete list of items required for Quarterly Reports).
How many electronic instant bingo devices can my organization have at its licensed location?
Ten. This can be a combination of cabinet units and handheld tablet devices not to exceed ten in total. Remember that electronic instant bingo can only be conducted at your organization’s principal place of business.
Who is permitted to play electronic instant bingo?
Only members and invited guests can play electronic instant bingo.
Who is prohibited from playing electronic instant bingo?
Organization personnel that meet the definition of a “bingo game operator” under Proposed Rule Ohio Administrative Code 109:1-4-20 cannot play.
Do we need a separate fundraising contract for electronic bingo?
No. Currently, there is no separation of charitable distributions between paper and electronic instant bingo sales. The charity or charities you currently contract with should receive distributions based upon the terms of your contract and the combined net profit from both paper and electronic instant ticket bingo sales.
Now that we have electronic instant bingo sales in addition to paper bingo sales, how should we calculate our charitable distributions?
There has been no change in the method for calculating charitable distributions. Required distribution amounts are based on the combined net profit from paper and electronic bingo sales after allowable expenses.
Charitable Law Section
30 E. Broad St., 25th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215