Bingo – the latest Traffic Exchange ‘game’

Bingo – legit or not?

For me, the image bingo conjures up is a half full hall of elderly people concentrating on numbers being called and marking those numbers off on their bingo cards.
bingo hall

Exciting times!

From Wikipedia:

In the United States, Bingo is a game of chance in which each player matches numbers pre-printed in different arrangements on 5×5 cards with the numbers the game host draws at random, marking the selected numbers with tiles. When a player finds the selected numbers are arranged on their card in a row, they call out “Bingo!” to alert all participants to a winning card, which prompts the game host (or an associate assisting the host) to examine the card for verification of the win. Players compete against one another to be the first to have a winning arrangement for the prize or jackpot. After a winner is declared, the players clear their number cards of the tiles and the game host begins a new round of play.


Classed in most areas as charity gambling, the legality of bingo games varies by location. Even though you could say there is skill involved (the players have to remain alert throughout the game to ensure that no number is missed), Bingo is considered a game of chance, not a competition.

Game of chance – gambling – generally illegal, always licensed.

Obviously an ideal game to add to a Traffic Exchange!

Sell your members the chance to win a prize. Sound familiar? Back to our friends at MLMLAW

A lottery consists of a disposition of property, on contingency determined by chance, to a person who has paid valuable consideration for the chance of winning the prize. California Penal Code 319 defines a “lottery” as:

[A]ny scheme for the disposal or distribution of property by chance, among persons who have paid or promised to pay any valuable consideration for the chance of obtaining such property or a portion of it, or for any share or any interest in such property, upon any agreement, understanding, or expectation that it is to be distributed or disposed of by lot or chance, whether called a lottery, raffle, or gift enterprise, or by whatever name the same may be known.

Each of three elements must be present to constitute a “lottery,” namely, a prize, distribution of the prize by chance, and consideration for the opportunity to win the prize.


“consideration” (anything of value, frequently money or effort)


Contrary to (seemingly) popular belief, credits have value. You either purchase them or you earn them through effort. You can purchase advertising with them.
Hence, credits = consideration.

Bingo – TE style.

The Traffic Exchange version of bingo has added a new twist. Unlike a real Bingo game, the only player involvement is the purchase of tickets. Purchase a ticket and come back later to see if you won a prize – sounds exactly like purchasing a lottery ticket to me.

When questioned, the developers stated ‘No, it’s not gambling. It’s more like an arcade game.’ And, because they are respected leaders in the industry, everyone believed them. In reality, arcade games reward the player for some kind of ‘skill’. So this version of bingo is nothing like an arcade game. And if it were, Amusement Arcades (just like lotteries/raffles) are required to be licensed.

Bingo – the verdict?

The Bingo game now available on many a Traffic Exchange is a game of chance. It is a lottery, a raffle. It’s inclusion needs to be reconsidered.

Traffic Exchanges are awesome. We can advertise our products without digging into our savings. Plus, there are a large number of incredible people in the industry. But there are also many who appear to be wearing blinders.
The Exchange owners/admins cry foul when payment processors limit their accounts or lump them in with the ‘high risk’ businesses. But they allow their members to advertise scams (check out a list of sites to avoid here). And they fill their sites with assorted games of chance (raffles, slots, dice, cards, and now Bingo).

My hopes?

There are a number of owners who work hard to keep their sites clear of rubbish. My hope is that these numbers will grow. I believe that Traffic Exchanges could be seen as legitimate advertising sources. All that’s needed is a bit of a cleanup. It’s not right just because ‘it’s always been done that way’, or ‘see – Joe does it’. Remove the rubbish and then stop promoting those who don’t.

My expectations?

I expect to experience cancelled site memberships! Suggesting to owners that sending passwords in emails is irresponsible caused the cancellation of a number of my memberships. I imagine that reiterating ‘it is time to clean up the industry’ is likely to cause more cancellations. Do I care? Hell, yes! But I can live without being involved with petty site operators.

If there is a change in attitude, I expect it to be slow. And I expect it to come from some of the newer owners. Owners who have seen what is on offer on the majority of sites and who would prefer to provide a quality advertising platform. Not because they hope to get PayPal to reconsider, but because they want to attract advertisers with legitimate products rather than all the ‘get rich quick’ scams (and all the other illegal, offensive, misleading or irritating rubbish currently circulating).

The future?

Unless there is change, I don’t see a future. If owners continue to insist that they are not required to screen advertisements and that gambling is OK because it’s not really gambling if we call it something else, more payment processors will ban membership advertising sites such as Traffic Exchanges and Mailers.

When owners clean up their sites (and already this is happening), I imagine there will be a new ‘premium’ advertising platform emerge from the current ‘anything for a buck’ environment. A platform where you’re not advertising your product alongside illegal, offensive, misleading or irritating material. I know that’s where I’d rather advertise my products.

Why am I anti-gambling?

Gambling has been the subject of a previous post.

I host my servers in New Zealand. The fines for hosting, playing or advertising online gambling on a New Zealand hosted server are not small. Apart from that, gambling destroys families, relationships, lives. That’s why, in the majority of countries, gambling is illegal/regulated. The size and type of the prize doesn’t matter. The use of credits rather than cash doesn’t matter. The fact that it’s a membership site doesn’t matter. It’s gambling.

As advertising site owners, we are required to protect our members from anything illegal, offensive or misleading.

This is not in violation of anyone’s ‘freedom of speech’.

While freedom of speech in the United States is a right protected by the constitution, there are exceptions which make that right a limited one.

As advertising site owners, we are required to protect our members from anything illegal, offensive or misleading.