MP Calls For Bingo Tax Reduction

Until recently UK bingo halls were in real trouble. In 2007 bingo halls across the UK were devastated by the implementation of a national smoking ban. Studies at the time said that about 63% of all bingo players were smokers and a lot of bingo players stopped attending games because of the ban. Many bingo halls tried to legally accommodate smokers but attendance at games did not improve. Changes in the law allowed local governments to set licensing fees for bingo halls with devastating results. In many cases local town councils doubled and even tripled license fees for bingo halls. Even worse bingo is taxed at a higher rate than any other form of gambling. Bingo halls were forced to pass along the additional costs to players making live bingo games unaffordable for players on fixed incomes.

At least one politician has taken note of the high tax rate for bingo halls. Tom Greatrex, MP from Rutherglen, is pushing for a reduction in the tax rate for bingo halls. Greatrex visited a local Mecca bingo hall in Rutherglen to discuss the issue with players. Greatrex noted that bingo halls play an important part in local communities and serve as a gathering place for many. On his official webpage Greatrex stated “Bingo has a very important social function in communities throughout my constituency, bringing together people of all ages and backgrounds for a fun few hours. It is concerning, then, that bingo should be subject to higher levels of taxation than other forms of gambling. I have written to the Tory Treasury Minister, Justine Greening MP, about this, calling for tax on bingo to be reduced.”

Greatrex listened to the players and staff at the Rutherglen bingo hall just south of Glasgow and said he would bring up the issue of high bingo taxes in Parliament. Many live bingo halls and clubs have expressed concerns and some claim they are losing business to internet bingo sites that are not subject to taxation and can offer cheaper bingo games. Under current law offshore internet bingo sites pay no taxes in the UK. Greatrex also stated that he had sent a letter to the Tory Treasury Minister, Justine Greening MP, asking for a reduction in bingo taxes.  Bingo players across the UK are hoping that Greatrex’s efforts on their behalf are successful.