Bingo Hall Prizes Restored After Huge Irish Player Protest

Bingo Hall Prizes Restored After Huge Irish Player Protest

Similar protests have been held outside Parliament in Britain in the past (© PA Images)

Bingo players in Ireland have successfully blocked a move to cap prize money payouts at Irish bingo halls.

The government was surely taken unawares by unprecedented levels of negative publicity surrounding new laws, that were set to limit live bingo prize payouts to 50% of net takings.

A well-orchestrated demonstration saw between 50 and 100 bingo players bussed to Leinster House (home to the Irish parliament) to protest at the proposal claiming it would “shut down every bingo hall in Ireland.”

Their collective voice was heard throughout the country with the protest attracting substantial media publicity on national TV, radio and print.

Business As Usual For Bingo Prizes

The result was that on Wednesday night all parties passed a Sinn Féin amendment to the Gaming and Lotteries Bill, increasing the cap on prize money given out by bingo operators from 50 to 75%.

That cap will only affect bingo halls with prize money that exceeds €5,000. Where the prize money is below that, it will be business as usual, the main pot of takings distributed as prize money, and the remaining monies shared between the bingo operator and charitable causes.

Even before the protest, the bill had a fair chance of failing due to the glaring fact that Ireland's live bingo games have operated in a slightly grey area, with operators employing a loophole in the law to operate as clubs. It is a similar story with Irish casinos which technically function as ‘private members clubs’.

Live bingo could do with undergoing the same level of regulation that makes online bingo a far better option to play this popular game of chance.

Better News For Lottery Players

Though bingo's press has been negative this week, national lotteries have been celebrating.

Executives at Camelot Group, operators of the UK’s National Lottery, could surely not have believed their luck when a £105million EuroMillions prize was won on the weekend of the UK National Lottery's 25th anniversary.

And they must have been ecstatic when winning couple, Steve and Lenka Thompson from Sussex, agreed to go public in a live, televised press conference.

Just this past weekend another huge EuroMillions winning lottery ticket originated from the UK too, with its owner set to bank more than £40million. They became the seventh UK EuroMillions lottery winner this year, with only EIGHT draws left of this decade.