The case of an employee of the Gala Bingo Club, Christian Grant, who was caught out trying to cheat the numbers system and defraud customers out of several thousands of pounds, has brought to light the potential for the rigging of bingo games.
Grant was sentenced to 9 months in jail for the manual inputting of numbers into a random number generator, then calling those numbers which matches those on a ticket held by his girlfriend. The case raised questions as to whether this type of fraud could be replicated anywhere else. However, industry watchdogs have dismissed the possibility, stating that the perpetrator was caught and dealt with sternly and that it could only happen in rare circumstances where outdated equipment was being used and club security was lax. The vast majority of bingo clubs use the latest equipment which cannot be tampered with in such a way and in link games, data is received via cable with the numbers originating from the central calling club.
In the past, these numbers would come via audio only before the days of digital equipment and callers would have to input numbers directly into the board as they were received. Few clubs have need of this system any more and even if it were used as a backup if the primary equipment failed, the club manager would be required to turn a key which would allow it to work.
Online bingo portals now find themselves coming under similar fire with questions regarding the integrity of their programmatic random number generators and the potential to bypass this system. However, these systems are far more secure than their land based counterparts, so these fears are really unfounded.
If it were possible for a bingo website to fix one of their games, manually choose a winner or invent one, the question of how a participant would ever know still arises. While many online bingo websites which are based in the UK are regulated directly by the UK gambling commission, many are offshore based and not regulated. It would be in the interests of the player to ascertain which are which before committing their money in wagers.
As for land based bingo clubs suffering a similar defrauding attempt by a caller in future, it should be remembered that it was due to the erratic and halting manner in which Grant called the rigged numbers that alerted staff and patrons to the crime unfolding before them.