Last week was a big week in the world of live bingo and not necessarily a good one sadly. With the Government refusing to reduce the taxation paid by hosts of live bingo games from a massive 22% despite strong criticism from both the industry and from MPs such as Dari Taylor of Stockton South, the industry is now struggling to come up with a survival strategy.
Why is bingo the focus of this tax hike?
The MP for Stockton South spoke out during the third reading amendment last week saying she 'would vote against her own government' on the matter. She added that she does not do such a thing 'lightly' but all was to no avail since the amendment was sadly not passed.
With outspoken campaigns from all the biggest brand names coming to bear on the issue as well as representatives of the independent halls such as a certain Mr Holt, all parties had worked hard to put forward their case for a reduction in the current rate of taxation to the current standard 15% that all other gaming industries are currently paying. The likes of Mecca Bingo's Save our Bingo campaign and Mr Holt's efforts combined to create a compelling argument, but at the end of the day, the petition signed by many supporters and Mr Holt's observations that 'A thriving bingo club paying 15% is much better than a struggling club paying 22% planning to close' sadly seem to have gone unnoticed.
No reduction, no refund either
To add insult to injury, it seems that HRMC have lodged an appeal against the High Court's recent decision to repay the Rank Group who run Mecca Bingo the VAT on interval games. With a huge £26 million outstanding, this is also an enormous blow to an industry that is still reeling from the smoking ban and an imposition of minimum wages across the board that have once again increased the cost of running bingo halls.
Do your bit
With many halls having closed in the last year and more having to rethink their viability in light of the government's most recent decision, once again we at the Hideout would like to extend our support to the industry in this time of need, and encourage our members to visit their local hall.