As part of our live bingo awareness drive, we reported a few weeks ago on the Save Our Bingo effort and on Mecca's attempt to persuade Mr Miliband to relieve the financial cost put upon our struggling bingo halls across the country. Despite the huge campaign to spare live bingo further charges on tax, it would seem -rather disappointingly- that last week's Budget as announced by Chancellor Darling is putting further pressure on our bingo halls.
The true cost of two little ducks
The bingo industry has since declared its disappointment in the rise from the original and already disputed 15per cent on bingo duty to 22 per cent as of the 27th April. Last week saw representatives of the industry such as Ian Burke, the Rank CEO stating officially that he did "not understand what the British bingo industry has done to justify the Government's vindictiveness". The Gala Bingo group reportedly backed up Rank's outrage by stating that it 'saw no justification for raising bingo tax to 22pc'.
A nine percent increase was not what the doctor's ordered
This decision to further raise the cost of a game across a much beleaguered industry is sure to affect the number of working halls across the UK which, as we all know are already in decline. The resultant profits from this hike will mean that the Government will benefit from a hefty £35m which will be recovered from the increase on the duty paid on slots and from a new tax which has been introduced on casino card rooms.
While this is fantastic news for the Treasury, we at the Hideout fail to see how the halls themselves and more importantly the players will benefit. This is indeed bad news in respect of the long term future of live bingo. After all, there have been murmurs of 'green shoots' within the industry of late, with a number of proposed new halls opening. We believe that with the cost to the players ever on the increase and far outweighing those found in other gaming industries, these proposals may yet be shelved or worse still, forgotten until the next financial year.