No Bingo and no Mint either

Last week A Current Affair got stuck into Seven’s National Bingo Night with claims that it is a scam, designed to keep viewers watching. ACA looked at a string of bingo forms and concluded that common numbers appeared on most forms, resulting in numerous viewers always having 4 out of the lucky 5 numbers. One expert even managed to predict the numbers that would be drawn, and as this clip suggests he was pretty much on the money.

But Seven isn’t the only network with a game show that has viewers crying foul.

Of all the blog topics in TV Tonight, few has generated more one-going feedback than Channel Nine’s late night quizzes, first with Quizmania, and now its replacement The Mint.

This show is guilty of wild puzzles with ludicrous answers, seemingly making sense to only those involved with the production.

“They had a game on a few nights ago where you had to ‘count the reds'” says one reader. “I counted them all the possible ways I knew how, but NEVER came up with the ridiculous amount the answer was. No one got the answer (of course), after 2 hours on this one game, the answer was 1115! How the heck is someone meant to count to this in 2 hours?”

“I was watching The Mint last night where it wanted you to count the amount of litres of beer and no matter what answer I had it wasn’t right.” says another.

And more:

“Last nights 16/11 ‘count the numbers’ had potentially at least 10 different answers depending on how you took that question. After 2 hours and every possible combination, no one had it yet. I gave up.”

“The answers are never clear cut, it all comes down to you guessing the answer, not being able to logically work out the one and only correct answer. Here’s one from the other night. Prove me wrong and tell me how they came to this answer. The question is: Add the numbers 27 seventeen 231 sixty five. The Answer given at the end because no one guessed it was = 522. Please prove to me how this is the correct answer.”

And these troubles are on top of the phone system itself, which of course takes your money before deciding if it will shortlist you for an actual chance at the game.

Nine really needs to lift its game on this as entertainment. As we head into 2008 and Nine seeks a clean start, Mr Gyngell could do well to just axe these altogether. They really aren’t fooling anybody. To point the finger at Seven over National Bingo Night really just reeks of hypocrisy.

TV Tonight will be keeping an eye on The Mint but we need your input. If you have any more examples of dubious games leave a comment.

To help you find this post it is being added under the Show Watch menu.

The Mint answers: We have a Winner

UPDATE 18/3: The Mint axed.


  1. Quizmania and ‘The Mint’ began in the UK but were knocked on the head by viewer fury and regulators’ investigations.

    So how did those ‘quizzes’ end up here in Australia on the Nine network?

    You might well ask. Are Australian TV regulators, State and Federal watchdogs, and State lottery bureaucrats just plain dumb? If I can find this stuff about TV quiz scams on UK websites, why can’t they?

    Consider these shocking revelations:

    * Viewers of The Mint Mansion in the UK had a one in 400 chance of getting through.

    * Ordinary viewers have little chance of getting through to answer the prize questions. “We spent £365 on 250 consecutive calls and not ONE was accepted” (“QUIZ OR SWIZZ?” Oct 8 2006 By Steve Dineen And Himaya Quasem).

    * Several providers of UK TV quiz shows have been raided by police.

    * British Prime Minister Gordon Brown previously criticised the shows for exploiting the poor.

    * Sally Says, (Friday 28 July 2006): The presenters all need a good slap.

    * Various safeguards on UK TV quizzes were introduced including warnings about the difficulties getting through and daily limits on calls. None of these safeguards have been introduced in Australia by governments, bureaucrats or TV regulators.

    The Nine network in Australia acquired Quizmania and “The Mint”, even though these were well-known earlier quiz scams in the UK. From what is available on UK websites, the Nine network also took all the lines and scam behaviour of the UK shows. What sort of managers OK this stuff? If it is crime, and I don’t know that it is, it is of an organised kind.

    It involves the Nine network, the ‘phone company and the presenters. If this is a scam, all are equally guilty.

  2. A Current Affair stuck the boot into No Bingo again last night and tonight. Apparently Tracy Grimshaw and A Current Affair’s production team don’t watch their own network’s programs, including The Mint.

    And you’re right Ian, the groaning women on the ads in The Mint are really offensive. But I suppose the porn telephone service being advertised is about the same level of decency as offered in the Mint.

  3. The Mint is a ten minute crossword that Channel 9 drags out to a three hour marathon so it can milk all the ‘phone accounts – whether you get through or not.

    The program claims state lottery compliance, but I cannot believe this is legal.

    Nor is it a competition, because most people can’t get through. But you still lose 55 cents a call anyway.

    This is nasty stuff. After midnight Channel 9 discards its responsibilities. Viewers enter a sewer with Ads featuring groaning women, tarot and other medieval scams – and, of course, The Mint. Don’t go there!

  4. Oh dear of dear, just another excuse to get money from 1300 phone calls.
    Might be more successful and ethical televising burials and offering calls to speak with the undertakers,
    Even an old softie like Tim Burrowes at B and T magazine got stuck into this excuse for raising money.
    If you check you;ll find the English equivalent to ACMA had the Mint folk in court facing prison.
    Virtually no chance of winning, and maybe if the girls and the overweight man had a few shandies first it might at least be entertaining as they talk themeselves stupid begging suckers to ring in for 55 cents and thert only take a handful of calls.
    What a “blxxdy” indictment on Television. This is the pitts and the ACMA and all the money folk should have a close look as they did to mint in the UK.

  5. This is text of letter published in the Age’s Greenguide last Thursday:

    Channel Nine is still at it. The after midnight program ‘The Mint’ is just another lucrative reworking of the scam the channel has been perpetrating on its viewers for years now.

    No wonder the (less than dazzling) presenters congratulate people who actually get through to play the ‘games’. The whole idea is that they don’t get through. Their ‘phone accounts are milked whether they get through or not. Is this legal?

    The TV watchdog is either asleep or dead.

  6. Have you noticed that presenters on The Mint are demonstrating more outrageous behaviour in recent months? Skits, dress-ups, singing etc. Quite a substantial amount of camera time is spent filming these skits while viewer’s attention is taken away from solving puzzles. I think this is a ploy to keep people on hold and entertained at the same time while clocking up the 55c per minute. There is no question The Mint is a scam.

  7. Cuppatea,

    I thought the method I came up with was elegant enough to be plausible (look for every number you can find, including all possible roman numerals). It might have worked for the 522 example by pure chance but I thought I’d still show it off! I didn’t come up with the idea all by myself as it was suggested in another forum, from someone who claimed to work behind the scenes, that you should look for every possible number you can see, including roman numerals or even look at words backwards (e.g. nineteen has 19, 9 and 10 backwards!).

    Anyway, the 652 example provided a bit higher shows that my method does not fit (could only come up with 556 which was a bit disappointing).

    And for the record, I would never call up these types of shows. Even if the answer is obvious as in “fill in the vowels to TH_S PR_GR_M _S F_R S_CK_RS”. I am more than aware of my chances of getting through and I value my hard-earned money too much.

    And frankly, I’ve got better things to watch! I’ll admit I was intrigued when I stumbled on an “Add the numbers” quiz last night and the obvious answer was incorrect. Which lead to an internet search on past puzzles, which is how I ended up on this fine blog post!


  8. kritof,

    Regarding your formula for guessing the solution to the Mint’s obscure answer. As they say in the classics, “Pulleeez!”

    How come you aren’t $6000 richer having correctly guessed the answer on the show? Give me any far-fetched answer to any puzzle, and I will concoct a possible way to come up with that answer too.

    The show is due to finish at the end of June according to their online conditions. That should mean they are able to disappear off the screen before anyone can take them to court. How convenient.

  9. re: adding the numbers
    27 seventeen 231 sixty five = 522

    last fridays add the numbers game was:


    answer they gave was 652
    method given above doesn’t work 🙁

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