Light at end of tunnel for ailing bingo industry?

  • 28 Oct 09
  • Written by Charlotte Widmore

Tax reform neededThere is a little light at the end of the tunnel for the bingo industry in regards to the Gross Profit Tax increases that were levied on bingo in the Spring Budget.  The industry as a whole including big names like Mecca Bingo and Gala Bingo have joined together to try to fight the Government on what is regarded as a grossly unfair level of tax.  The government in response to the protests staged by bingo players and the Bingo Association members agreed to review their decision on the Gross Profit Tax, if the bingo industry could prove that there had been any miscalculation in the figures used by the treasury to calculate the ‘benefit’ to the industry. The bingo industry, in response to the Governments promise to look at things again made sure that they had an in depth analysis report carried out by Ernst and Young.

The report by Ernst and Young found that the Government had used figures that were generated in 2008 to reach their decision on the new rate of tax, and although they had claimed that the increase in taxation to 22% would not be worse for the bingo industry.  The government also stated that the  new Gross Profit Tax would overall reduce the tax burden suffered by bingo operators like Mecca Bingo and Gala Bingo.  The industry however were shell shocked by the news realising that the tax levied would hurt considerably more because of declining bingo player numbers, bingo hall closures and the swingeing VAT revisions. The report by Ernst and Young has now confirmed the Bingo industry’s worst fears and so it is hoped that the government will now be good to their word and review the level of taxation imposed.

At a formal meeting last month between MP Sarah McCarthy-Fry the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and representatives of the bingo industry the report was presented and is now being analysed.  Chief Executive of The Bingo Association,  Paul Talboys is hopeful that common sense will prevail and the government will see reason, in a statement on the Bingo Association website he is quoted as saying “The rate of club closures this year has increased, with 29 closed to date. The negative impact of club closures on the communities they serve is devastating for many players, who will seek to demonstrate the human cost of this latest decision through petitioning the Treasury to base bingo tax on fact. There is an opportunity for the Treasury to correct this error and not penalise bingo players and local communities.” As always Bingo Hideout  appeal to our readers to do all they can to help the bingo industry obtain the tax reforms that they so desperately need to survive, our many articles regarding the I’m Backing Bingo campaign will assist bingo players in determining what they can do to help.

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