Bingo Association slams the National Lottery

UK bingo hall operators have criticised The National Lottery over a “deeply offensive” ad. The industry is enraged by the state-funded Lottery “poking fun” at a time when it is so troubled.

The ad, created by Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO, for the Lottery’s Flamin’ Hot Bingo scratchcard shows an elderly lady going past a padlocked bingo hall, when a scratchcard sound appears and brightens the previously dreary scene. The woman’s mobility cart is transformed into a speedy scooter as she is transported to a beach-front scene.

Bingo Association chief executive Paul Talboys says he is “outraged” by the advert coming at a time when many bingo halls are under threat of closure after suffering major losses in revenue following the introduction of the smoking ban in July last year.

Bingo hall owners Gala Coral and Rank have been lobbying the Government to reduce their tax liability in tomorrow’s Budget. Gala Coral has warned that it will be forced to close halls if the Chancellor does 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.

Camelot, which operates the National Lottery says the ad was not intended to refer to club closures. A spokesman says: “It’s only closed because it’s early in the morning.”

Rank has urged the National Lottery to withdraw the advertisement.

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