“Leave Bingo Alone’ Say Gaming Experts

In the UK and Europe many governments are imposing austerity measures designed to address massive budget deficits and maintain the credit ratings of governments. In Greece new austerity measures have been very unpopular and have resulted in riots in the streets of Athens. In the UK things are more subdued but the new coalition government is looking for new revenue streams and may target online bingo games. Recent reports have indicated that the new government may impose new restrictions on offshore bingo sites doing business in the UK. One gaming expert believes the government should be wary of imposing new taxes on the online bingo industry. Jesper Soegaard, the founder of BettingExpert.com, believes that players could face fewer choices if new regulations and taxes are imposed on bingo sites. Mr. Soegaard stated “In the current economic climate, with the government desperately seeking to raise funds in every area available to them, it is unsurprising that an overhaul in gambling regulations is being discussed.” He also said that new regulations would be “catastrophic” for the online bingo industry.

Soegaard believes that the real victims of new taxation and regulation would be hard working gregarious online bingo players.  He also believes that smaller bingo operators would not survive the new business climate imposed by the government resulting in fewer choices for players. Currently offshore bingo sites do not pay taxes in the UK and are free to advertise provided they are located in ‘white list’ licensing jurisdictions. Most offshore bingo sites pay about 1% in taxes as opposed to the 20% tax rate paid by bingo sites licensed and located in the UK.  This gives offshore bingo operators a significant competitive advantage over their British counterparts. According to unnamed sources the government plans to impose the following restrictions on offshore bingo sites;
Offshore bingo sites must be licensed by the UK Gambling Commission.
Offshore bingo sites will be subject to the same taxes as sites located in the UK.
The use of credit cards may be banned.

Once the new gambling laws are imposed most gaming experts believe that smaller bingo operators will be forced to cease operations. While this will result in fewer choices for players many say the new business climate will actually benefit most players. Players will be protected by the gambling commission and while some of the changes may be unpopular with operators’ British bingo players will enjoy a high level of protection.

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