It looks like things are really starting to move in the battle against the unfair bingo taxation level. The campaign initiated by the Bingo Association now has the support of over 50 members of Parliament.
The ‘Boost Bingo’ campaign got off to a big start over the weekend with free bingo link games in it’s roughly 400 member clubs, but, the most important news is that of parliamentary support for the cause which aims to invigorate the industry by fighting for fair taxation, which will hopefully see less club closures in the future.
What is interesting is that Jim Cunningham, Labour MP for Coventry South talks about the “social service” side of bingo being lost. It seems that MPs are becoming more acutley aware of bingo as part of cultural heritage, not just as another form of business (although we have seen this before, but it is good to see it reiterated).
However, the problem is that the government may be reluctant to accede to requests for a reduction in taxation as they are still pushing for austerity measures, and as has been seen in other areas such as the ‘bedroom tax’, it is not currently showing any signs of letting up on ‘the community’ where it can see opportunities to save hard cash.
So, the sympathy angle may not be the best approach with this particular government. If votes are to be attracted from both sides of the house then perhaps the best way forward may be to draw on the long term financial plus social benefits of reducing taxation. Bingo is fairly big business, and the government would still be doing well tax-wise at the 15% level, which would ensure that there would be less club closures, and therefore continuing revenue. A closed club is not obliged to pay tax!
Besides which, the government will be seeing an increase in bingo revenues when new legislation concerning online bingo kicks in. Online bingo will be taxed by the location of the player, not the bingo company, so all the Malta based bingo operators for example, will be sending a lot of cash over to the state coffers.
And, not forgetting that the taxation is quite simply unfair! The Bingo Association is not seeking a Keynsian injection of cash, or an unwarranted financial ‘leg-up’, it just wants a fair crack at keeping a great institution going.
We will obviously be following this campaign closely, and reporting regularly on its progress. In the meantime, please show your support for the Boost Bingo Campaign by liking and sharing their Facebook page. More from 96.4 Eagle.