Death, Taxes-and Bingo !

Bingo has been one of the chief fundraising tools used by churches and charities in the United States for decades. In fact the modern 75 ball version of bingo was introduced at a church sponsored bingo game in the 1920’s. Since then millions of American players have contributed billions to charities by playing bingo. Recently commercial bingo operations have sprung up around the country and many Indian reservations operate massive bingo halls. One of the first Native American gambling operations was a bingo game operated by the Seminole Indians in Florida. The Seminole bingo operation opened the door for other tribes to open their own operations.

Of course most bingo players play to win but of course not everyone can be a winner at bingo games. Believe it or not the Internal Revenue Service understands the pain of losing! Most bingo players are unaware that they can actually deduct their bingo losses when they file their taxes. Players can deduct last year’s losses up to the amount they won. To take the deduction players must maintain an accurate diary of all wins and losses. The IRS also allows deductions for other forms of gambling. For complete information players should visit the IRS website.

And speaking of taxes internet bingo providers in the UK may have to pay a licensing fee if Parliament has its way. Offshore internet bingo operations have managed to avoid the tax bite in the UK but that may come to an end this year. There is now a bill pending in Parliament to impose an offshore gambling operator’s license. Currently offshore internet bingo operators pay a fraction of what bingo sites licensed in the UK pay in taxes. Other European countries such as France and Italy have recently imposed new taxes on offshore gambling operations.

In addition to France and Italy several European countries are looking at this new revenue stream that could provide billions in new tax revenues for cash strapped governments. Several industry experts say that the new licensing requirements could actually benefit internet bingo players in the long run. The vetting process by the government would eliminate sites that do business in a less than ethical manner resulting in addition protections for players. Players could be confident that UK licensed bingo sites would adhere to strict standards of conduct and advertising. Should the taxes be imposed most in the industry say that there would be very few changes for players if any.