Rank Calls For Flat Tax Rate For Bingo

The UK government has been moving at a snail’s pace when it comes to changing tax policies related to online and land based bingo. Throughout 2011 online bingo companies lobbied for changes in the UK tax code that taxed bingo at a higher rate than any other form of gambling in the country. No one likes paying taxes but they are a part of everyday life and are also a cost of doing business in the UK. As the old American saying goes “nothing in this life is certain except death and taxes.” In December 2011 gaming and bingo giant Rank called for a flat tax on bingo, a move many found quite surprising. Currently land based bingo halls pay a 20% tax. Since online bingo sites licensed in the UK pay a 15% tax rate many in the land based bingo sector say the higher taxes for land based operations are unfair.

Although online bingo operators paying the 15% tax rate believe their taxes are too high it is easy to see why land based operators are complaining. Compounding the problem are offshore online bingo sites that pay no taxes in the UK giving them a serious competitive advantage over UK licensed bingo sites. Rank would like to see the same tax rates apply to online and land based bingo equally. Land based bingo hall operators say that if their taxes are reduced to the same rate as online bingo sites their profits will increase and they can employ more people and build new clubs and revamp older ones. The bingo industry employs thousands throughout the UK and generally bingo halls pay a living wage.

A change in the tax rates could go two ways; lowering taxes for land based bingo halls or raising taxes for online bingo operators. If taxes remain high the costs will be passed along to players and could result in reduced spending at bingo sites and live clubs. History has shown that major corporations always find a way to pass along increased costs or taxes to consumers. The disparity in bingo taxation has been a problem for years and higher taxes could put a damper on the recent revival of live bingo halls. Rank has spent millions modernizing their Mecca bingo clubs to appeal to a younger group of players. Higher taxes could easily stop all of the progress that has been made. Why the government is taking so long to address this issue is anybody’s guess.

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