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Australian Bingo is one of the most social and enjoyable forms of gambling around; it’s all about fun and community. But as with any kind of land-based gaming, it is important to understand the rules and code of conduct of the bingo hall so as not to disrupt the call or upset your fellow players. Here, we will take you through the basic points of etiquette for 90-ball housie – guidelines that should be applied to every bingo centre in the country.

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Land-based Bingo Etiquette

These points are not strict rules as such, but common practices that are ingrained in the culture of the game. Ignoring these unwritten laws could get you into a scrape with an experienced bingo player, or even get you ejected from the hall. Follow these tips, and it should be smooth sailing.

Never Talk During the Call

This is the golden rule of the brick-and-mortar bingo club, and violating it repeatedly could land you in a real spot of bother with players and organisers alike. The reason is simple: talking may prevent other people from hearing what numbers are being drawn. Save your chit chat and banter for the intervals between calls and intermissions between sessions. Eyes down means shut up.

Don’t Repeat the Numbers Called

Some players develop a habit of repeating numbers to themselves while they try to locate them on their bingo tickets. While we appreciate that everyone has their own way of doing things, this is a big no-no in housie; it is distracting to other players and flirts dangerously with the ‘no talking’ rule. Figure out a silent method instead.

No Falsies, Please

A ‘falsie’ is when someone claims bingo mistakenly. This disrupts the entire game, with the call coming to a halt while officials check the ticket. It is especially annoying when you’ve crumpled up your last page or flyer, only to be told a minute later that the game is still on. So please, take that extra fraction of a second to make certain you have a completed line, two lines or full house before you shout it from the rooftops.

Beware Lucky Seats

While most bingo centres don’t allow reserved seating, you may find that some players always sit in the same spot. This is a popular ritual among long-time Aussie bingo goers; it could be for practical reasons, like being close to the caller, or out of sheer superstition. Either way, if an old lady asks you to switch seats, you had better oblige without fuss or hesitation.

Leave the Kids at Home

Many housie centres won’t allow anyone under 18 years of age in the game room; but even when children are permitted, we suggest you don’t bring them along. Unruly kids and crying infants can pose a huge nuisance to your fellow players. If you must bring the bairns along, make sure there is plenty to keep them quiet and entertained – or, better yet, give bingo a miss that night and stay home with them.

Never Abuse the Caller

We understand it can be frustrating when the numbers don’t fall your way – especially when the rest of your table is shouting out ‘Bingo!’ left, right and centre. But it is vitally important that you never, ever take your anger out on the caller. Derogatory remarks like “change the caller” get you nowhere and only serve to taint the atmosphere of the game for everyone involved. If you have a genuine issue with the running of the game, talk to the bingo manager – and keep it civil, folks.

Know the House Rules

Each Aussie housie venue will have its own policies and codes of conduct regarding matters like age of admission, whether or not you can bring in outside food, the terms of use for electronic bingo machines, and so on and so forth. House rules should be clearly posted at the point of entry, the sales desk and other highly visible areas, so please make sure you are aware of them before you play.

B&M Bingo Centres in Australia

Now that you know the unwritten rules of the bingo floor, why not go and put them into practice? Click on the links below to find your local land-based housie club.

Sydney and New South Wales
Melbourne and Victoria
Brisbane and Queensland
Perth and Western Australia
Adelaide and South Australia
Hobart and Tasmania

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