Bingo faces „double taxation“ – the gambling profits’ levy as well as VAT
Nearly 100 bingo clubs around Britain have shut their doors in the past three years – more than a dozen since the start of this year. More than three million people across the country regularly play bingo.
But the major commercial chains such as Gala and Rank’s Mecca bingo have seen their profits slashed by political and economic constraints – with little sign until recently that the industry’s cries for help are being heard in Whitehall.
The industry bosses’ main gripe is that, alone among gaming businesses, bingo faces “double taxation” – the gambling profits’ levy as well as VAT. And under the government’s new gambling legislation, bingo halls have also had to cut back drastically on the number of their profitable USD 972 jackpot machines.
A study by the Henley Centre research group, commissioned last year by the Bingo Association to chart the effects of the closure of bingo clubs in Scotland and the Midlands, found that particularly among older women whose small local clubs had closed there was a major “social” effect.