High tax rates are squeezing the life out of bingo clubs!
Bingo clubs are beneficial to the UK economy in terms of employment and charitable donations. Nevertheless, taxation of the industry continues unabated as costs soar and revenues decline.
Community Benefits of Bingo Clubs
There are many different contributions made by bingo clubs to their local communities. If a big, open society is the agenda of the government in England, then notice should be taken as to the benefits of bingo clubs to communities across the UK. Recently 97 bingo clubs were enlisted by the Marie Curie Cancer Care organization. Those 97 clubs raised over £500,000 for the charity. Marie Curie provides in-home nursing care to the many terminally ill patients in local communities throughout the UK.
Bingo is a major source of revenue to many UK charities. If bingo continues to be over-taxed, many establishments will be forced to close, significantly reducing the revenues of a great number of community charities. Approximately one-third of bingo players are men. Women gravitate to bingo halls as a social outlet, as well as for the enjoyment of the game itself. There are few places that women can show up alone. Bingo clubs are one of those establishments.
Community friends and family get together in Bingo halls and chat, have a bite to eat, play a fun game and excitedly win now and then. It’s the perfect night out. Bingo clubs are also employers. Approximately 30 people are employed by the average bingo establishment. There are over 475 clubs across the UK. That’s a lot of workers who are provided with a living wage through the existence of bingo halls.
Taxation of the Bingo Industry
The current tax rate for bingo clubs is 20% of the gross annual profit. In comparison, high street bookmakers are required to pay only 15%. The global economic downturn of 2008 cut into consumer confidence. This translates into less spending across the board. The result of that spending decline for bingo clubs is a substantial and continual loss of revenue. With decreased income, it becomes ever-harder for bingo clubs to meet their tax obligations and remain in business as a viable competitor.
Not only do these halls pay salaries, taxes and the costs associated with the hall itself, they also must concern themselves with an expensive and ongoing modernization process. To remain competitive, attracting a younger generation and a continuous increase in the number of players, it has been estimated that clubs should be spending around £1 million in capital expenditures. The question has been asked: Where does that kind of money come from for the 170 bingo halls that do not even have net annual revenues of £70,000?
According to the lobbying group Bingo Association, the lower third of the UK bingo industry is at risk of closing its doors. They predict that this can and will happen by 2015 in the event that the industry is not given some tax relief. The bingo industry is quickly becoming an endangered species. Government needs to do its part in ensuring that taxes do not terminate this long-established source of entertainment, social interaction, employment and charitable revenue.