Big Changes in Store For Bingo in 2011

Many analysts are predicting a banner year for internet bingo. This year most bingo sites like BingoBoat will be adding new games, more interactive features and expanded social media. Many are predicting a good year for land based bingo and gaming giants like Rank are planning to invest millions in their land based bingo operations. Live bingo has been pressured by high taxation but that may change if industry advocates have their way in Parliament. A group of bingo supporters in Parliament have formed the ‘All Party Parliamentary Group on Bingo’ (APPG) an organization set up to change government policies towards live bingo.

The group is trying to bring the taxation rate for bingo in line with the taxation of other forms of gambling. Currently bingo is the highest taxed form of gambling in the UK.  Bingo halls pay the highest taxes of any land based gambling establishments. Gaming giant Rank Group is planning to give its Mecca Bingo clubs in Sale and Southport a new look and is investing millions in renovations. Last year Rank spent £1.6 million pounds to improve the Mecca Bingo club in Chester and open a new casino in Liverpool. The investments will create about 45 new jobs. Rank’s Chief executive Ian Burke stated, “We are committed to improving our customers’ experience through enhancing service as well as investing in our venues. Last year we spent over £50 million pounds and this year we plan to do the same.”

Things may change for many offshore bingo sites operating in the UK. A new bill in Parliament could close the tax loophole for many offshore bingo operations. Currently offshore bingo sites doing business in the United Kingdom enjoy several tax advantages over bingo sites licensed in the UK. The bill will require bingo sites doing business in the UK to obtain an off shore gambling operator’s licence. Recently France and Italy clamped down on offshore gambling operations and analysts say the new tax revenues could provide governments with a new revenue stream worth billions. Internet bingo is now a two billion dollar a year business and taxes have been minimal for the industry.

Players at internet bingo sites need not worry about the possibility of new taxation. Some in the industry say the new licensing requirements will actually benefit players. The licensing requirements will allow the UK government to impose a vetting process on bingo sites that will week out those sites that are less than reputable. This year players at bingo sites can expect new games, more promotions, more interactive features, better software and more social networking opportunities.

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