Forum Discussion

Ask questions, share ideas and support one another.

Lesley 28th Aug 2017 Lifestyle Coordinator
We play Bingo twice a week for a small chocolate prize. The residents would like to play more often, they are even willing to play without any prizes but we have been told (by a staff member) that it is illegal to play more than twice a week even without prizes. How often do others play Bingo at their facility or have they heard of this rule before?
I would appreciate your help.
Susan 29th Aug 2017 Activity Director
I had some residents who loved bingo.
I do not believe it is illegal to play more than twice a week.

We played twice a week and played playing card bingo once a week.

If you have the staff or volunteers to lead the activity and over a 50% majority that want to play, then go for it.

If not, see if there is a compromise, you can offer, like musical bingo or these other suggestions
Klara 29th Aug 2017 Leisure/Lifestyle Coordinator
We play 2-3 x per week.
When I do yearly survey and most of the residents enjoy bingo, cooking, concerts and church, those popular activities have priority. We also provide activities which are less attended, just to make everybody happy
KATHRAIN 29th Aug 2017
We play twice a week. Then we have games called Jingo that are just like bingo that we play also. They come in different categories like Bible Jingo, Birthday Jingo, and the different holidays are favorites in my facility. Also we have music Bingo. These games can be played with all residents at every level of care.
Kim 31st Aug 2017 Programs Director
I don't know where your located but I've never heard of how often you do bingo or if you give prizes as being illegal. I know that in assisted living or skilled nursing it would be frowned upon if that was all you did but with a full calendar and options for others bingo can be done as often as the residents want. We currently play it 7 days a week (Yep that makes me cringe too). We also have alternate activities going on for those that don't want to play. We play for nickels which we end up providing to half the group but they enjoy the competition of the game and winning 'nickels'. Over the years we've played for chocolate or I would just pay out and they wouldn't put anything in. Some places get persnickety about the use of money and say that its gambling. I think people get too worked up over a silly game of bingo.
Solange 31st Aug 2017 Diversional Therapist
Bingo should be played as often as residents enjoy it as long as there are other alternative activities for those who don’t want to participate. Despite Bingo having a bad reputation (with those who don’t play it, mind you), it was always an immensely popular game in all the facilities I worked for in three different states in Australia. In Queensland RSL War Veterans we played only once a week for $.20 cents a game and some residents liked to have 2 cards so they paid $.40. We played 10 games on Fridays which provided an hour of entertainment. Bingo was by far the most attended activity we had; residents looked forward to it. The money after every game was divided three ways: half for the 1st winner and the other half divided between 2nd and 3rd winners (we continued to play until two more people called Bingo!). By the way, in my experience, it is not illegal to give token prizes for Bingo.
Sheri 1st Sep 2017 PCAP/OTA
It's about the residents not about the staff, if they want to play more often let them.. as long as most people want it not a select few meaning others miss out on what they want to do.
Kim 12th Sep 2017 Registered Nurse
What a load of rubbish. It's not up to the staff member , it's all about the residents. If they are getting other activities as well , let them have what they want and be happy doing it.Illegal phewt ,piffle and nonsense.Just do what makes them happy
Pauline 14th Sep 2017 Diversional Therapist
Why would bingo be illegal if played more than 2 times a week??????? LOL
Renee 29th Sep 2017
There are so many different varieties of Bingo that you can offer: Standard Bingo, Musical Bingo, Card (with jumbo playing cards) Bingo, Reminiscing Bingo.
To be person centered, it makes sense to offer activities that your seniors want to participate in. If that is Bingo, so be it. :)
We also typically play bingo with no prizes given, and just simply write their name on the white board when they win. Everyone just enjoys playing.
Colleen 5th Oct 2017 Diversional Therapist
Housie is one of our Facilities most popular sessions, Residents just love this social get-together time. I try to make prizes interesting for them, we have chocolate bars/fruit & custard pots/singular wrapped cookies/small packaged drinks, & even a 'Lucky Dipper' basket-who knows what might be in that????? We all have such fun together, so why not make the prizes fun too! (All bought inexpensively @ supermarket)
Carla 12th Oct 2017 LEA
I don't think it becomes illegal unless you are gambling for cash. Then you need a licence for that. Or so they say. We do one bingo a month I call it Bingo for Bucks, they pay $1 a card and win $1, $2 prizes or the jackpot is worth $5
Sherry 14th Oct 2017 Activity Director
It would only be illegal if they were playing for money, which is considered gambling. We play Po-ke-no several times a week. It is played in the same manner as Bingo and they enjoy it just as much. It is about these Grand people and whatever makes them content and happy.
Ellen B. 17th Oct 2017 Public Relations Specialist
We don't play.............. I know that probably took everyone by complete surprise! It was mid-month when I accepted my job offer. The activity calendar had Bingo down twice a week, and to be honest, there's more to life than Bingo... I took a deep breath and announced the Bingo activity. Five people came and when I asked if we should wait for others, they said no one else liked it. I asked them if they really loved to play, or was Bingo a way to pass the time....... They replied, it passes the time. I suggested we have a group discussion/ Trivia in the place of Bingo to see if they would enjoy it . I started an "easy trivia " round to gather personal information, and to get an idea of their level of cognition. Trivia ( with 5 residents) varying in cognitive levels lasted 1 hour and 15 minutes! they loved it!
Needless to say, We don't do Bingo anymore!!
Klara 17th Oct 2017 Leisure/Lifestyle Coordinator
We play bingo in the nursing home only 30 min. In the hostel we have higher functioning residents and they enjoy bingo mixed with trivia. One game of bingo 5 min trivia and bingo and trivia again and that way we go for 60 min. It is more interesting for everyone and we normally have approximately 25-30 residents attending in hostel area.
Lesley Jane 18th Oct 2017 Activities Coordinator
We play traditional bingo, named bingo and musical bingo and the residents love it. This site is so invaluable. I can't thank you enough for lots of good ideas.
Rebecca 20th Oct 2017 Activity Director
We are an Assisted Living facility in NY state. I have never heard of such a thing! We have bingo every day, and they complain if it gets cancelled. Ten years ago when we opened and the residents told me they wanted Bingo daily I had to come up with a way of dealing with prizes. I'm not one to load them up with a bunch of useless stuff. We have a coupon economy here. We give coupons for Bingo prizes, and once a month we have a BINGO Store where they can trade in coupons for snacks, toiletries, etc. Around the holidays I will ask if there is anything special that they would like available such as greeting cards , decorations or things they can use for gifts. We also do things like have coupon raffles (Buy in for 5 coupons and win 50), and use coupons for other events such as our Carnival or Casino Night. It is easy to expand upon.
Deborah 4th Nov 2017
We play Bingo more than I would care to or than my ED/Regional want - but it's what the residents enjoy and it what I have the highest attendance at. I'll even hear the residents talking excitedly about it. We have Bingo 7 days a week at various times and typically for one hour. I'd prefer not to have it that often, but it's what they want and the activities are supposed to be for them. We play some days at 330pm after our house social which we have every day with drinks (alcoholic and non) and a lite snack. And then we play Bingo some nights at 630pm after dinner. I only give our prizes for the night game just to change it up a little. I ordered online and also found at the dollar store little prizes. Sometimes I give out snacks or candy. Sometimes I just sit out a bowl of candy for everyone and they just play - without prizes. It doesn't seem to matter that much to them as long as they get to play. What I have found is you either love Bingo or hate it. There's no middle ground.
Kim 28th Nov 2017
Our facility plays bingo 5 days a week and they would cry blue murder if they didn't get to play. We have money prizes and chips and chocolates. It is free for them too play so they aren't gambling anything. We have 16-20 residents who play daily and we are looking at having a volunteer to come in on Saturdays to do bingo also. Our residents have a very full activity calendar with wonderful interactive activities but by jingo they love their bingo.
Matthew 28th Nov 2017 Consultant
There is no rule on frequency of activities. What could be of issue is that you offer to often and activities of others interest and times isn’t offered or available to them.
Averi 3rd Mar 2023 Manager
Hi there! It sounds like playing Bingo is a fun activity for the residents at your facility. It's great to see how much they enjoy it!
Pashat 3rd Mar 2023 IT-Derector
As for playing more often, I'm not sure about the legal restrictions on that, but it's always better to err on the side of caution.

Leave a comment

Create an Account to use the Forum, it's free!