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Home   Medway   News   Article

Chancellor George Osborne slashes tax paid by bingo halls from 20% to 10% during the budget today.

19 March 2014
by Lizzie Massey

Players of the game will be celebrating after a slash in bingo tax means bigger prizes.

Bingo halls were paying 20% gross profits tax but campaign headed by Tory MP Robert Halfon, with the support of more than 330,000 people who signed a petition, demanded it cut to 15%.

This would have brought it in line with other forms of gambling, like betting shops, which campaigners argued was more fair.

Gala Bingo, Medway Valley Leisure Park, Strood.

Gala Bingo, Medway Valley Leisure Park, Strood.

But in the Budget announcement this afternoon, chancellor George Osborne said: “They want the rate cut to 15%, I can go further – bingo duty will be halved to 10%.”

Medway has two Gala Bingo halls, in Chariot Way, Strood, and Chatham High Street.

Rochester and Strood MP Mark Reckless said: “I’m absolutely delighted the Chancellor has responded to our campaign.

Mark Reckless MP at Gala Bingo, Medway Valley Park, Strood.

Mark Reckless MP at Gala Bingo, Medway Valley Park, Strood.

“The fact that he’s actually gone further really reflects that bingo is not hard core gambling. It’s something people go to as a social activity, they get on the bus and get out the house, make friends and enjoy themselves.”

The cut means bingo clubs have been given an extra boost and can now fulfil their commitment to modernise old clubs and invest in new ones, and more staff.

The big clubs like Mecca and Gala were already promising to invest more money in bigger prizes with a 5% cut, but now it has been slashed to 10% they will be relooking at their plans and working to stimulate the industry further.

Gala Bingo, Medway Valley Leisure Park, Strood.

Gala Bingo, Medway Valley Leisure Park, Strood.

Miles Baron, chief executive of the Bingo Association (BA), said: “This is the most fantastic news – everyone is absolutely delighted. The decision to reduce duty by 10% means bingo clubs will get an even bigger boost than we had hoped for.”

“Bingo fans across the country will be celebrating today.”

Mark Reckless MP at Gala Bingo, Medway Valley Park, Strood.

Mark Reckless MP at Gala Bingo, Medway Valley Park, Strood.

According to the BA the large tax had taken its toll, with clubs closing at a rate of one per month and more than 1,000 jobs lost in the industry since 2012.

The cut should appeal to female voters, with an estimated 80% of the 100 million bingo players, worldwide, being the fairer sex, aged between 30 and 50 years old.

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