Bingo in Decline in U.K. Due to Online Casinos and Taxes

Published Sunday, March 17, 2013 -

The United Kingdom’s gambling industry is going through some serious changes as the government there imposes new taxes on various aspects of the activity. One of the most devastated sectors of the business is bingo where there is a threat that the bingo world will disappear with the recent tax of twenty percent imposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne on slot games. This has resulted in as many as 200 bingo halls facing closure because of a new £9million-a-year tax imposed on their operations. Many closings of more than 150 bingo clubs since 2005 and officials say the new tax could ruin the future for 170 clubs making £70,000 or less a year.

Slot gaming machines have been keeping some of these remaining operations running after the industry has suffered declines due to online gambling at internet venues and a stalled economy. “The level of tax is critical to the survival of many clubs,” commented Miles Baron of the Bingo Association which is the voice of the owners of 400 of the United Kingdoms’s 467 halls. The organization is calling for a rate of 15 per cent, a “harmonized tax” the same as online bingo and bookies. Baron continued, “This would have a positive impact on bingo, for customers, operators and the Exchequer.”

Bingo profits in the U.K. have gone down from £250 million in 2006 to near £125 million, while the number of players has also seen a decline to a record low of 3 million players. Bingo employs as many as 13,000 people information which seems to mean nothing to the Chancellor. The new tax grab is expected to garner £9.2million a year for the government but in essence the tax will destroy what is left of the terrestrial bingo industry and cause more unemployment which will eventually see the government coffers suffer even greater losses.

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