Bingo needs you! Did you know that whilst most other forms of gambling are taxed at 15%, bingo is subjected to a rate of Gross Profits Tax (GPT) of 20%, and this is despite the game being recognised as one of the softer forms of gambling. This may not seem like a big deal, but land based bingo clubs (unlike other retailers) also have to pay VAT on all of the goods they purchase, so it really is a doubly whammy.
This essentially means they bingo clubs are paying 32%, which is way higher than the 20% that applies to the rest of the economy in the UK right now. This disproportionate rate, means that clubs have less money to invest in new locations and improved facilities, which has resulted in bingo clubs currently closing at the rate of one per month, with more than one thousand jobs lost since 2012.
There is a simple solution to halt this decline though, and that is to encourage the government to treat bingo in the same way as all other gambling activities, and reduce the GPT to 15%. By doing this, the Treasury would free up the funds that the bingo industry needs to invest in their business and help ensure that the clubs that are ingrained in British culture can stay in operation.
If the government were to agree to reduce the GPT to 15%, the two largest Bingo Association members have already committed to £30 million worth of investment, which would enable them to open brand new clubs, create much needed community facilities and most importantly generate jobs.
You may be wondering how you can get involved? Well this is where Boost Bingo comes into play; it is a campaign being run by The Bingo Association on behalf of Bingo clubs and their customers to “reduce this excessive tax burden on a social activity that is at the heart of British culture and local communities across Great Britain”.
The campaign is being backed by some of the biggest names in the industry including Mecca Bingo, Gala Bingo, Castle Bingo and Carlton Bingo to name but a few. To be a success though the campaign needs your support, and even if you don’t play the game yourself, you are sure to know someone who does. The easiest way to get involved, is by signing the petition on change.org. They desperately need 100,000 signatures, but right now just 3,272 supporters have signed up.
The good news is, the campaign is picking up pace with both celebrities and members of parliament getting behind this great cause. On Friday 17th January, a total of fifty four MP’s visited their local bingo clubs to show their support. Andrew Bridgen, who is the Member of Parliament for North West Leicestershire was there to launch a free game at the Flutters Bingo Club in Coalville, that was run simultaneously in nearly four hundred clubs around the country. Players wore special Boost Bingo T-shirts, as Andrew called the numbers.
Boost Bingo is extremely active through the social networks with one hundred and eighty three dedicated followers on Twitter communicating with over two hundred thousand people on their behalf. In addition to this, the campaign has also reached a further twenty five thousand individuals through Facebook with likes, shares, and comments. If this sounds like a cause you want to get behind, make sure you sign the petition now and click on that ‘Follow’ button, as it will be a very sad day if we see more of our bingo clubs turned into derelict buildings!