Bingo Caller

The Job and What's Involved

Bingo callers run bingo games. They have a variety of duties that include:

  • Meeting and greeting customers.
  • Making sure each game runs smoothly and on time.
  • Checking lights, monitors, random number generator and sound equipment before each session, and reporting any faults.
  • Telling players before the first game, and as the session goes along, the sequence of games, the colour of the bingo ticket they should be playing, and the type of game they are playing.
  • Operating a random number generator.
  • Using a microphone to call out the numbers.
  • Managing the session - eg, stopping people from talking and making sure mobile phones do not go off during games.
  • Controlling the pace of the session.
  • Building a rapport with customers, keeping them entertained and creating a lively, sociable atmosphere.
  • Checking winning claims.
  • Announcing promotions.
  • Responding to players' queries.
  • Hosting special events such as Christmas parties.
  • Providing high standards of customer care.

As well as calling games in their own club, the main caller may be responsible for calling linked games. This is where two or more clubs are linked by computer and play a game together. The numbers are called from one club, with the sound being relayed to all the other participating clubs. The National Bingo Game, which is played in most venues, is a linked game involving clubs all over the country. Participants play for substantial sums of money.

During quiet times, callers may be expected to carry out other tasks, such as preparing bingo tickets and promotional materials.

Bingo callers work with ushers, bar and catering staff, who all report to a floor or club manager.

Bingo callers work up to 40 hours a week, including weekends and bank holidays. The opening times of bingo clubs vary, but most have afternoon and evening programmes.

Most clubs are open every day of the year (except for Christmas Day), so callers are needed seven days a week, for example from 11am until the last game, usually at 10pm. Bingo callers mostly work an afternoon or evening shift, but must be prepared to take on a varied workload. Part-time work is available.

Depending on the employer, work may be seasonal. For example, in clubs centred in holiday destinations, there may be more work available during the summer.

Bingo callers operate from a stage and are expected to stand for long periods. Many clubs can get very busy and conditions can be crowded, noisy and hot. Callers are expected to be smart and well presented. Employers may provide uniforms.

A new trainee bingo caller may earn around £10,000 a year.

An allowance for unsocial hours may be provided. Food and drink is often available, sometimes at subsidised rates. Bingo callers working on a cruise ship, or in a holiday park, could be given free accommodation. Larger employers offer holiday entitlement, a pension, employee share schemes, and, sometimes, annual bonuses.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

Bingo is one of the most popular leisure activities in the UK, with 680 licensed bingo halls employing around 18,500 staff. Employment opportunities exist in most large towns and cities.

Bingo callers could work:

- For a large or small bingo chain
- At an independent bingo club
- At a holiday camp
- On a cruise ship

There may also be opportunities to work as a bingo caller in some large or regional casinos when the Gambling Act 2005 takes effect in September 2007.

Bingo halls usually have two or more full-time bingo callers, and many part-time callers. Jobs in holiday parks and on cruise ships, may combine bingo calling with many other tasks. There may be opportunities to work abroad with some companies.

The main operators advertise positions locally in their premises and on their websites. Vacancies are also advertised in local newspapers, Connexions centres, Jobcentre Plus offices, magazines such as Bingo Link and Leisure Opportunities, and on specialist leisure recruitment websites such as www.leisureopportunities.co.uk.

Education and Training

There are no formal entry requirements, although employers may prefer GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3) in English and maths. Ability in numerical work is useful. Key or Core Skills in communication and numeracy may be helpful.

Licensing and gambling laws restrict the opportunities for 16 and 17 year olds, and there is no set route into the work for people in this age group. There is scope to work on the hospitality side, e.g. as a catering assistant, or as a slots person or general assistant.

Talented entrants can progress to bingo calling at the age of 18. However, the new Gambling Act will prohibit people under 18 from tasks that are related to gambling. This includes working with gaming machines, selling bingo tickets and paying out winners, as well as bingo calling. For cruise ships, the minimum employment age is usually 21.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Many employers offer comprehensive in-house training programmes, focusing on customer service. In most cases, entrants learn from practical experience under the supervision of skilled bingo callers and floor managers. A few large employers have calling schools, where trainees can master skills and practice in a safe environment.

The SVQ in Bingo Operations at Level 2, available in Scotland, is the only professional qualification for this industry. It includes four mandatory units, including customer service, health and safety, supporting bingo games and working as a team. Candidates also complete three optional units, one of which includes bingo calling. Funding for this course is usually arranged through the employer or local enterprise company.

Featured Job Guide - Ambulance Technician

Ambulance Technician

As an ambulance technician you would respond to accident and emergency calls, as well as a range of planned and unplanned non-emergency cases. You would usually work in a team, providing support to a paramedic during the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients at the scene of an incident and during hospital transfers.

You may use life saving skills as part of your day-to-day work.

________________________________________________________________________________

Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

Bingo callers should:

  • Be enthusiastic, outgoing and confident.
  • Enjoy performing to an audience and being the centre of attention.
  • Clearly understand all the rules and working practices relating to each game.
  • Have a clear voice.
  • Be a natural, charismatic presenter.
  • Be able to engage very large audiences.
  • Be confident using equipment.
  • Be professional, trustworthy and responsible.
  • Be observant and alert, continuously listening out for winners.
  • Remain calm under pressure.
  • Be able to work at a fast pace.
  • Be able to think on their feet.
  • Be able to work well in a team.
  • Understand the alcohol and gaming licensing laws.

Your Long Term Prospects

Internal promotion is usually on merit. Once experienced, the most talented bingo callers can become regulars on the national game links. They may be given more responsibilities, such as training and assessing callers.

They can also move into floor management, and potentially club management. Those who want to manage a bingo club need to go through the Criminal Records Bureau disclosure procedure to get the necessary licences.

Get Further Information

The Bingo Association, Lexham House,
75 High Street North, Dunstable, Bedfordshire LU6 1JF
Tel: 01582 860921
Website: www.bingo-association.co.uk

The National Bingo Game Association,
Lexham House, 75 High Street North, Dunstable, Bedfordshire LU6 1JF
Tel: 01582 860900
Website: www.nationalbingo.co.uk

People 1st, 2nd Floor, Armstrong House,
38 Market Square, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB8 1LH
Tel: 01895 857000
Website: www.people1st.co.uk

Springboard UK, 3 Denmark Street, London WC2H 8LP
Tel: 020 7497 8654
Website: www.springboarduk.org.uk

Other Related Jobs

Additional resources