When i was working/staying in bangalore, our apartment used to organise Bingo once a month with the tickets priced at 2 rupees each. We used to be 5 guys (fresh from college s/w engineers) staying together. While other bought 1 or 2 tickets each, we used to go and buy 10 to 15 tickets each , virtually dictating the way the event was conducted. Others didn’t complain, for we contributed to the big prize money in the pool. But, more often than not, we cornered most of the prizes due to the heavy probability in our favour.
I have been conducting Bingo sessions in our outdoor events at work for few years now. I do it a bit differently and as far as i know, it has been well received. Traditionally Bingos (or is it Bingoes) have cash prizes for the first five, the three rows and a full house, the cash prizes coming from the sale of the tickets. In the tambola events i organise, i do give out cash prizes, but also lot of other small gifts which can be souvenirs, fridge magnets, tshirts and pracically anything else which is not so expensive. If i do manage to get sponsors, then the big gifts come out. So, if you are organising a bingo, try to get a budget for it and then buy many small gifts and give them out apart from the cash prizes. if you don’t get a budget, make a guess as to the amount of money you will collect and then pre-buy gifts for that amount.
Now that you have so many gifts, how are you going to give them away if there are only 4 prizes (3 rows + 1 full house)? This is where you have to do things differently. i have given below the list (in random order) of all bingo “events” for which i have given away prizes. You can pick and choose from the list below based on the number of gifts you have, your interest level in organising the event, the time available for the event (more the prizes, more the time ) and the interest level of the players.
- Anyone with the number 1 on their ticket. If all players have bought the full column, change it to – Anyone with number 1 on their topmost ticket – i usually start off with this one giving all the ppl 1 cent/1 rupee as a prize!
- Apart from the three rows, you can also give a prize for the first 4 columns i.e. the first and the last number on the first and the last row.
- If you are playing Bingo with a group of really enthusiastic people, you can also add prizes for the 5 columns on a ticket. Each column is not defined as the column appearing on the ticket, but as the respective numbers. Eg: 1st column would be the 1st number on each row irrespective of where the numbers actually are.
- It will be a morale-booster to also have a unlucky-one prize for the one who is the last to get a number on his ticket.
- If your group contains people of both sexes and of different ages, you can give prizes based on boys/girls or kids/parents/grand parents etc i.e a prize to the kid with the most/least number of numbers marked on a ticket.
- You can also play around with mathematics (if you have people buying an entire column) such a 1 number in 1 ticket, 2 numbers in another ticket and 3 numbers in another or any such combination.
- You can give prizes for combination of numbers in the rows i.e. 1 number on a row, 2 on another and 3 on the other.
- While selling tickets, give discounts to people buying the entire column ( 6 tickets). This will encourage people to buy the set which gives you more options to give prizes.
- Giving away absolutely junk prizes in the middle will keep the audience entertained. Eg: After giving away lot of prizes, the person to receive a prize will be looking forward to a goo prize. Then you can suddenly call for a combination which you expect many to have and call all of them to get a prize. You could then give each of them a chocolate or something equally silly!
- If you run out of allocated prizes for the first session on Bingo towards the end, but people are still interested, you can always give out free tickets for the next session as a prize.
Hope these tips help you in organising a good game of Bingo!
Btw, if you don’t have the cards to play, you can check this post for a link with which you can print Bingo cards for free.