If you follow the bingo news then you can’t help but have noticed a couple of stories the last week revolving around taxation and the bingo industry. With last week’s pre-budget report, the industry had hoped to see the Chancellor reduce his prior rise on the bingo tax which shot up to 22% from 15%. There was a slim slither of hope and action from the Chancellor, he dropped it from 22% to 20%, which although not ideal, is a step in the right direction. However, it’s feared that up to a 100 clubs could close between the rise to 22% and it dropping down to 2%.
This small cut in duty is not ideal given the other pressures in the industry, but along with the scrapping of VAT on bingo games, it is a step in the right direction. Although like many in the industry, I also can’t help but think that not dropping the duty until the April 2010 budget is a big mistake, and I just hope that smaller cash strapped clubs are able to stay afloat until then to take advantage of the reduced duties.
I was back in Cardiff playing Bingo the other weekend, and had hoped to go to the last old school bingo hall in Cardiff (on Splott Road), but was distraught to find it had folded during the summer. Who knows, if the duty hadn’t had been whacked up then, maybe it would have still been trading now. Sad times, all that’s left in Cardiff now is modern purpose built bingo halls, and as fun as they are, they don’t have the charm of the old cinemas.
Elsewhere, it’s been widely reported that Mecca Bingo are aiming to reclaim more of their VAT following the earlier reclaim and court appeals. The Guardian goes into detail on the £25.9million the group could claim back, following another recent claim for an additional £16million of VAT back. Good news for Mecca who seem to be weathering the credit crunch and the bingo slump, so much so that shares have risen slightly, and there’s also mention of the restarting of dividend payments. Nice.