Bingo and Double Taxation

UK bingo halls have faced hard times ever since the passage of a nationwide smoking ban in the UK. It has been estimated that offline bingo halls suffered as much as a 60% decline in players. Bingo halls also face a peculiar form of double taxation.

This double tax only applies to bingo and no other forms of gambling are subject to these taxes. At the present time UK bingo halls pay a 15.5% value added tax and a 15% gross profits tax for a total of 30.5%. This tax burden combined with the effects of the smoking ban has caused many bingo halls to shut their doors forever. Smaller communities and rural areas have been hit especially hard. In many communities the local bingo hall was a gathering place for pensioners who now find themselves deprived of this social activity.

Some of the major bingo hall operators have seen the writing on the wall and are going online. Mecca Bingo a long time player in the UK bingo industry is now providing online bingo. When the smoking ban was passed and attendance at bingo halls declined online bingo experienced a sizable increase in the number of online bingo players.

Despite the damage done by double taxation, the British government remains unsympathetic to pleas by the bingo industry. Some industry experts say that if the double taxation policy is not reversed that bingo will only be available online in the UK. It is estimated that approximately 17,000 people are employed by the bingo industry in the UK and the continuing policy of double taxation could cause these jobs to be lost.

Online bingo continues to grow and provide jobs. In the UK, online bingo rivals poker in popularity. Online bingo is one of the few growth industries in the ongoing global recession and many online bingo providers are creating new jobs. Online bingo sites offer higher jackpots than their land-based counterparts and can be played 24/7 from the comfort of one’s own home. For hard core bingo fanatics, an online bingo game is just what the doctor ordered.

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