Rank Calls For Flat Tax on Bingo

No one likes paying taxes but most people recognize that paying taxes are a necessary part of life. Governments would not be able to function and provide necessary services with the revenue generated by taxes. Americans are fond of saying that the only things certain in life are death and taxes. In the UK there are several taxes paid by citizens and industries. Many businesses take evasive actions to lower their taxes and take advantage of loopholes not available to private citizens. In the UK Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs agency is responsible for collecting taxes and implementing tax policies.

Recently gaming giant Rank Group is calling for a flat tax to be applied to bingo in the UK. Currently live bingo halls must pay a 20% tax and internet bingo operators are required to pay a 15% tax. In addition live casino operators must pay VAT taxes and a special tax on each gaming machine. Since Rank operates Mecca Bingo halls across the UK the call for a flat tax is not surprising. Rank also operates the Mecca online bingo site. Bingo is taxed at a much higher rate than other forms of gambling such as sports betting and horseracing. Most live bingo operators consider the higher tax rate unfair and discriminatory.

Basically Rank would like to see the same rate paid by live bingo operators reduced to the rate paid by online bingo operators. If the rate is reduced live bingo halls would realize greater profits creating more jobs. Rank is pushing for tax parity between the online and live bingo industries. If the tax rates were the same Rank could gain an advantage over their competitors. Although the argument for parity is sound if tax rates increase the player will ultimately pay the difference. Major corporations always find a way to pass along increased costs to consumers. If costs are lowered the money usually stays within the company or corporation and consumers do not benefit.

Next year online bingo sites accepting wagers from UK residents may be in for a rude awakening. Several MP’s have proposed that any gaming forms and bingo operators accepting wagers from the UK be required to acquire a UK gaming license and pay current gaming taxes. Obviously the idea is not popular with offshore bingo sites which have long enjoyed a competitive advantage from lower offshore tax rates. Many industry observers say that gaming tax issues will be dealt with when the new budget is submitted in March 2012.

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