Florida Charitable Gaming
Bingo was first authorized in 1967 by the Florida Legislature, allowing charitable, nonprofit and veterans organizations engaged in a civic, charitable, benevolent, religious, scholastic or similar activity a way to raise funds for their charitable causes. The state of Florida does not have statutory provisions for statewide enforcement of bingo. Local law enforcement agencies, typically at the county level, regulate and enforce the operation of charitable bingo within their own district. Several counties have passed bingo ordinances to deal with issues regarding the game.
Charitable organizations must be designated as exempt from federal income taxes under either sections 501(c) or 528 of the Internal Revenue Code. Florida law also allows condominium, cooperative and other homeowners associations, including members of a mobile home owners’ association or residents of a mobile home park, to conduct bingo games. These organizations must have been in existence for at least three years before they can operate a bingo game under narrowly prescribed parameters.
To thwart possible corruption and misdirected funds, a charitable organization must be directly involved in the operations of the game and cannot serve as a mere figurehead. The location where bingo games are held must be owned or leased by the authorized organization and located within a 15-mile radius of the organization’s premises.
According to 2004 Florida statute, bingo can only be hosted two days a week, with only three jackpots a day. The jackpot limit cannot exceed a value of $250, and other game prizes cannot be more than $50. Any person involved in running the bingo game must be a resident of the local community and a member of the organization. Anyone under the age of 18 is restricted from playing bingo.
In July 2007, state law 849.0931, Florida, allowing instant bingo, also known informally as pull-tabs, took effect. The law was seen as a way to help the state’s struggling bingo halls and to provide more money for charitable organizations. Critics of the law said there was no regulatory oversight to ensure the money went to the nonprofit cause.
In 2009, SB 1326 authorized the dispensing of instant bingo tickets by electronic devices. The bill required that the electronic device be capable of recording each ticket dispensed, the number of coins or amount of money received for each ticket, and totals of each for all tickets dispensed. The bill provided regulations to prevent underage persons from purchasing tickets. The bill further provided that the machines may dispense change but may not be used in any manner other than for dispensing instant bingo tickets. This bill amended section 2007 849.0931, Florida statute.
Florida Charitable Gaming Bingo was first authorized in 1967 by the Florida Legislature, allowing charitable, nonprofit and veterans organizations engaged in a civic, charitable, benevolent,
During October of 1997, Pinellas County enacted the Pinellas County Bingo Ordinance (Pinellas County Code Section 10-61). Anyone conducting bingo or leasing premises for the conduct of bingo must comply with the requirements of the Pinellas County Code Bingo Ordinance and Florida State Statute 849.0931.
The Pinellas County Bingo Ordinance also requires that anyone who conducts bingo or leases premises for the conduct of bingo must first obtain a license from Pinellas County Consumer Protection.
There are two types of licenses:
- Class A License — required for charitable organizations that wish to conduct bingo.
- Class B License — required for anyone who rents or leases space to an organization for conducting bingo.
Please Note: All First-Time Applicants are required to meet with Pinellas County Consumer Protection personnel for review of their application.
Licenses must be renewed annually and your renewal applications must be received in our office no later than 60 days prior to the expiration of your current license for timely processing.
Renewals are not automatic.
BINGO LICENSE FEES:
BINGO ORDINANCE – FAQS
- The entire proceeds from Bingo and/or Instant Bingo shall be deposited the next business day in a checking account, which shall be maintained separate and apart from all other accounts. Licensees must report this money on the financial reporting forms provided below.
- Bingo games may only be conducted between the hours of 12:00 PM (noon) and 3:00 AM.
- No one under the age of 18 years is allowed to be present when games are being conducted.
- Bingo Licenses must be displayed in a conspicuous area.
- All volunteers must wear nametags.
- Bingo volunteers are not permitted to play bingo while volunteering.
- No more than two charities may conduct bingo at any one location, per day.
- There is no limit on the number of games per session where the prize payout does not exceed $50, per game.
- Jackpots are those prize payouts of more than $50, but cannot exceed $250.
- Only three (3) jackpot prizes are allowed per day at any location, even if two (2) charities are conducting separate sessions.
- The bingo ordinance and licensing requirements shall not apply to associated organizations and groups authorized to play bingo by F.S.S. 849.0931(4). However, these associated organizations and groups must follow the requirements of 849.0931(4).
For additional information about the Pinellas County Bingo Ordinance, please contact Pinellas County Consumer Protection at (727) 464-6200.
APPLICATION AND REPORTING FORM EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY, 2020:
Bingo During October of 1997, Pinellas County enacted the Pinellas County Bingo Ordinance (Pinellas County Code Section 10-61). Anyone conducting bingo or leasing premises for the conduct of