Taxed to Death!

In the UK, things have gone from bad to worse for land based bingo halls. The offline bingo industry in the UK has been struggling for the past few years from a double whammy of a national smoking ban and double taxation. For some reason the government has singled out bingo for a 22% tax while all other forms of gaming including sports betting, casino and online poker and football pools are taxed at 15%.

Many UK bingo players have voiced their displeasure and have made their anger known to their MP’s. Despite the opposition the government seems bent on taxing bingo at the new 22% rate. Recently Chancellor Alistair Darling did away with the Vat tax on bingo and much to the dismay of the bingo industry he increased the duty imposed to the current rate. Edward Timpson, MP for Crewe and Nantwich stated, “They claim they are doing bingo players a favour by abolishing VAT, which was judged illegal in two thirds of cases by the VAT tribunal last May anyway, and then they have the nerve to hike bingo duty.”

Despite the troubles faced by the brick and mortar bingo industry in the UK, the online bingo game industry is thriving. When the national smoking ban went into effect attendance at bingo halls declined as much as 60%. The resulting decline in players combined with double taxation caused many bingo halls in the UK to close their doors forever. A large number of these players switched to online bingo for obvious reasons. Smokers could puff away, while people playing at sites are sitting in their own homes.

Online bingo is one of the few growth industries left in the UK. The downturn in the economy has caused many bingo players to seek inexpensive home based entertainment and online bingo is a perfect fit. Meanwhile, thanks to government policy, bingo halls across the UK are struggling.

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