MP supports bingo tax breaks

In the run up to smoking ban introduced on the July 1, John Hemming, MP for Birmingham Yardley, has signed an Early Day Motion requesting that the UK government reviews its current tax structure for bingo clubs.

"At the moment, bingo is taxed twice, paying both gross profits tax and VAT. It is the only mainstream gaming activity to be taxed in this way, and this additional tax is making life very difficult for many clubs,” said Mr Hemming.

"Bingo is important in the social lives of so many people in my constituency. It is important that when the smoking ban takes effect on 1 July the combination of this and double taxation does not spell the end for many small clubs.”

The support from Mr Hemming echoes the plea made by the UK’s biggest bingo operators earlier this year. Gala and Rank have both called for the government to ditch VAT on bingo takings in an effort to lessen the expected drastic effect the smoking ban will have on bingo clubs.

A smoking ban was introduced in Scotland last year, resulting in a loss of as much as 15 per cent in revenues and many clubs being forced to close as smokers stayed away. Rank took the pre-emptive step of closing nine of its less profitable clubs earlier this year because of the impending smoking ban.

However, Mr Hemming believes that if the VAT was removed it could provide a chance for many clubs to survive after the ban.

"By removing VAT, the Government could take a crucial step to assist the industry in adjusting to life after the ban. For many clubs, this could be a lifeline."

Editor, - 2007-06-08 11:00:06

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