Gaming Commission

Conducting Progressive Early Bird (Split Pot/Share-the-Wealth) Games

(updated 04/07/05)

These games, when properly conducted, are consistent with the laws and rules governing the conduct of both early bird games, and progressive bingo games. However, wishing to ensure that these games and the prizes awarded therein are conducted properly, we offer the following suggestions for conducting this unique form of progressive bingo game.

A licensed authorized organization opting to conduct a Progressive Early Bird Game must fully and carefully describe on their bingo license application (or amendment) how the game will be operated, and how the prizes will be structured. Details must be provided specifying the initial number of calls that a coverall bingo pattern must be obtained to win the Progressive Early Bird Prize; the percentages of the sale of early bird cards comprising the Progressive Early Bird Prize; the percentage of the early bird card sales that the licensed organization will retain as profit; the percentage of the early bird card sales comprising the Consolation Prize if there is no coverall winner within the specified number of calls; and the percentage of the sales of early bird cards that will be carried over from each occasion that there is no coverall winner within the specified number of calls.

The following is an example of an acceptable licensing statement:

Progressive Early Bird Game - 75% of the total monies collected from the sale of early cards will be awarded to the player obtaining a coverall bingo pattern in 48 or fewer calls. If there is no winner within the 48 numbers called, 50% of the monies collected from the sale of early bird cards during that occasion will be awarded as a Consolation Prize to the first player to obtain a coverall pattern. 25% of the monies collected from the sale of early bird cards during that occasion will be retained by the licensee as profit, and the remaining 25% of the monies collected from the sale of early bird cards during that occasion will be "carried-over" and added to the next bingo occasionís Progressive Early Bird Prize.

During the next occasion (and each subsequent occasion in which a Progressive Early Bird Prize is not awarded) the number of calls needed to obtain the coverall pattern will be increased by one, and the Progressive Early Bird Prize pool will be carried-over and be available for adding to the 75% of sales during each of those occasions. When the Progressive Early Bird Prize is awarded in its entirety, the number of calls needed to obtain the coverall pattern will revert back to 48 for the next bingo occasion, and the prize monies will revert back to zero.

To further clarify the operation of a Progressive Early Bird Game, the following guidelines are provided, based on the information contained on the "license application" above:

    1) A Progressive Early Bird Prize comprised of 75% of the sales of bingo cards during the first occasion will be paid only if a player obtains a coverall bingo pattern within 48 calls;

    2) If no one gets a coverall pattern within 48 or fewer calls, 50% of the monies collected from the sales of early bird cards during that occasion will be awarded as a Consolation Prize; 25% of the sales of early bird cards is retained by the licensed organization as profit; and the remaining 25% will be "carried-over" and added to the Progressive Early Bird Prize during the next occasion, wherein the number of calls will be increased by one to 49;

    3) In each subsequent occasion that the Progressive Early Bird Prize is not awarded, a prize consisting of 50% of the sales of bingo cards during that occasion will be awarded as a Consolation Prize, while the remaining 50% is evenly divided between the licensed authorized organizationís profit and the new Progressive Early Bird Prize pool carry-over;

    4) When a coverall pattern is obtained within the number of calls specified for that occasion, the Progressive Early Bird Prize is awarded: the winner gets 75% of the sales during that occasion and the entire carry-over prize pool. The remaining 25% from that dayís sales is retained by the licensed authorized organization as profit.

    5) On the next occasion, the number of calls needed to win the progressive prize reverts back to 48, and the game continues as described in #1 through #4, above.

To further clarify the operation of a Progressive Early Bird game, letís say that an organization sells $200 worth of early bird cards for their first Progressive Early Bird game, and their specified number of calls is 48 or fewer for obtaining a coverall pattern.

If a player gets a coverall within 48 numbers, he or she is awarded $150 (75% of the sales); the remaining $50 (25% of the sales) is retained by the licensed authorized organization as profit.

In the next occasion, the number of calls remains at 48, since there was a winner during the last occasion.

Letís say that during the next occasion the organization sells $300 in early bird cards, and there is no coverall winner within the 48 numbers called. An announcement is made that the first player to obtain a coverall will receive the Consolation Prize of $150 (50% of the sales for that occasion).

After the winner is paid the $150 Consolation Prize, $75 will be "carried over" to the next occasionís Progressive Early Bird Prize, and the remaining $75 will be retained by the licensed authorized organization as profit.

Now, during the next occasion, the number of calls is increased to 49, and letís say the organization sells $400 in early bird cards. The Progressive Early Bird Prize is announced at $375 (75% of $400 = $300, plus the $75 carry-over from the previous occasion). If no one wins on a coverall within 49 numbers, a Consolation Prize of $200 (50% of $400) is awarded to the first coverall winner. $100 is then retained by the licensed authorized organization as profit, and the Progressive Early Bird Prize pool of $175 ($75 from the previous occasion and $100 from this occasion) is carried over to the next occasion to be added to the Progressive Early Bird Prize, wherein the number of calls needed to win will be 50.

On the third occasion, letís say that the organization sells $800 in early bird cards. The Progressive Early Bird Prize is announced at $775 (75% of $800 = $600, plus the $175 carry-over from the previous two occasions). The Consolation Prize will be $400 (50% of $800). Now, letís say that some lucky winner gets a coverall on the 50th number called, and is awarded the Progressive Early Bird Prize of $775. The organization retains $200 as profit (25% of the $800 in cards sold).

On the following occasion, the number of calls needed to win the coverall reverts back to 48, and the potential Progressive Prize and Consolation Prize will be based solely on the sales of early bird cards during that occasion (75% of the sales for the Progressive Early Bird Prize and 50% of the sales of early bird cards for the Consolation Prize).