Like our website
Tweet @bowlingball
Follow @bowlingball
Use and distribution of this article is subject to our terms and conditions
whereby's information and copyright must be included.

Three Rules Of Bowling You May Not Know, Originally Posted: 5/3/2013; Updated: 6/29/2021

If you like knowing the rules of bowling, there are always some rules which seem to pass unnoticed by most bowlers. Not every bowler concerns themselves with knowing the rulebook. In fact, fewer yet have actually sat down and read the rules of the game as presented by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC).

Although some rules of the game can be obscure or seemingly irrelevant to routine competition, you can never be sure when knowing a rule will apply to your competition.

Here are three random USBC rules of the game you may not know:

1. Gambling - A member of USBC, while bowling in USBC competition, shall not participate or be involved in the operation of any gambling scheme which is in violation of any applicable law, where all or part of a score bowled in USBC play determines the winner. Contests or schemes which threaten the integrity of the game and/or entice a player to bowl beneath his/her ability are strictly prohibited.
Membership may be suspended or denied to anyone who is a participant or involved in the violation of this rule. Side competitions/brackets in leagues/tournaments where the participating bowlers pay a fee, optional or otherwise, and receive prizes for high game and/or series, with or without handicap, do not violate the rule because these involve merit pinfall based solely on the skill of the participant.

2. May a league adopt a rule prohibiting league members from coming early to practice on the lanes they are scheduled to bowl on in league play?
USBC does not have a rule prohibiting practice games before league play. This is because the league has no jurisdiction until play has commenced. This type of rule may be an infringement on the proprietor’s rights as an independent business person. Therefore, if the league wanted to adopt a rule, the proprietor would have to be consulted first and agree to this type of restriction.

3. When a "dead ball" is called, the delivery does not count and the correct pins must be respotted. The player is allowed to rebowl that delivery.
A ball shall be declared dead if any of the following occur:
a. After a delivery, attention is immediately called to the fact that one or more pins were missing from the setup.
b. A human pinsetter interferes with any standing pin before the ball reaches the pins.
c. A human pinsetter removes or interferes with any downed pin before it stops rolling.
d. A player bowls on the wrong lane or out of turn, or one player from each team on the pair of lanes bowls on the wrong lane.
e. A player has physical contact with another person or moving object as the ball is being delivered and before delivery is completed. In such case, the player has the option to accept the resulting pinfall or have a dead ball called.
f. Any pin is moved or knocked down as a player delivers the ball but before the ball reaches the pins.
g. A delivered ball comes in contact with a foreign obstacle.

These three examples of the rules of bowling demonstrate the great amount of thought and planning performed by the USBC Board Members over the years. The intent is to create a fair and equitable standard by which all USBC members must follow while bowling in sanctioned competition. The rules of the game are designed to help everyone. If you love bowling competitively, it helps to learn the rules.
Click here to shop smart deals Need Help? Click here to access our contact information.
WeeklyContestText Click here to shop all Pyramid bowling balls