Cut taxes to save bingo say MPs

The Bingo Association says that taxes on the game are excessive compared to competitors in the gambling industry and are contributing to the rapid decline of bingo clubs.

Profits from bingo halls are taxed at 20 per cent, five percentage points more than bookmakers and eight percentage points more than lottery tickets. A cross party group of 54 MPs are backing campaigners calls for tax cuts on the game.

The number of clubs has fallen by a third, from nearly 600 in 2005 to less than 400 in 2014. The current rate of bingo hall closures stands at one a month.

Excessive taxation may also be responsible for the significant loss of jobs in the bingo industry, with Gambling Commission figures showing the number of people employed in the sector down from 17,822 in financial year 2010-11 to 16,048 in 2012-13.

The Bingo Association highlights the fact that clubs are unable to reclaim VAT on the costs of maintenance and repair. As well as the attempt to save jobs associated with bingo MPs have also drawn attention the social benefits of such clubs.

Speaking to the Independant on Sunday, Conservative MP Brian Binley, said:

I see many people, many of them elderly, who find comfort and friendship - a hot meal at a low price in a warm and happy environment. And if that isn't social services, I don't know what is.