Budget leaves bingo halls under threat

The bingo industry has responded with “disbelief” that today’s (Wednesday) Budget included nothing to ease its tax burden. The future of many of the UK’s bingo halls is now under threat, the Bingo Association says.

There was dismay at the Chancellor’s decision not to remove VAT from bingo charges but rather to increase the tax costs for the industry by raising amusement machine duty.

Bingo hall owners Gala Coral and Rank lobbied the Government prior to the Budget to reduce their tax liability. Gala Coral chief executive Neil Goulden warned that the company would be forced to close halls if the Chancellor did not reduce what is effectively double taxation on the industry, in the form of 15% tax on gross profits as well as 17.5% VAT.

Gala Coral says it is “extremely disappointed the Chancellor did not listen to the bingo industry”.

Bingo Association chief executive Paul Talboys says: “This is a slap in the face for bingo players. There is no reason why they should be penalised by double taxation when other gambling products pay only a single tax.”

In the last fourteen months 43 bingo clubs have closed. Talboys says the lack of action in the Budget will now ensure more club closures. A further 108 clubs have been identified as at risk of closure.

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