UK Bingo Licensing Fees Increasing

Changes in UK law allow local towns to set license fees for bingo halls, casinos and betting shops. Many local governments are facing serious budget shortfalls and are looking for new revenue streams. The licensing fees are reviewed by councils annually and the government says that any fees imposed should be fair and give value for money to the gaming industry. Unfortunately many town councils have chosen to raise fees by as much as 60% putting many bingo halls out of business and costing workers their jobs and livelihood.

Some councils do not charge the maximum allowed by the government but many have imposed license fees close to the maximum. Before the gambling law was changed bingo halls paid a set licensing fee to the central government but changes in the law require bingo halls to pay an operators and license fee to local authorities. Under the law local authorities are free to set fees depending on local costs and conditions and these can vary from region to region. Local authorities in East Riding in the Yorkshire area are considering raising fees by as much as 60%!

Authorities in East Riding have proposed increasing the cost of varying or transferring bingo and betting shop licenses from £600 pounds to £1,000 pounds.  Currently the council receives about £60,000 from gaming licenses in the area and the new fees would provide an additional £11,000 pounds for the council. While these amounts can seem excessive other town councils charge as much as £3,500 for a bingo hall application. Although internet bingo sites licensed in the UK do not have to pay local fees they de pay heft licensing fees to the UK gambling commission.

Recent proposals in parliament would require all internet bingo sites doing business in the UK to be licensed and regulated by the Gambling Commission. Currently offshore internet bingo sites can freely advertise in the UK provided they are on the ‘white list’ of approved licensing jurisdictions. Internet bingo operators licensed in the UK say this puts them at a competitive disadvantage. Many in the internet bingo industry say that UK regulation and licensing fees are inevitable and that bingo providers should get used to paying fees to the gambling commission.  Given the fact that the internet bingo industry generates about two billion dollars a year it’s not like they can’t afford it!