When the cut in bingo duty was first introduced it was one of the main talking points in the aftermath of the budget announcement. It was a huge discussion point not only amongst people in the bingo industry, but many British newspapers were also debating the matter as many saw it as a poorly planned attempt by the Conservative party to pander to the working class. George Osborne was subsequently mocked vociferously for the cut in bingo tax and beer duty, as it was deemed as being condescending towards British people. However, since then we have heard little about the tax cut, and therefore, we became curious as to what has become of the savings.
Miles Baron’s aims
Before we begin to discuss the benefits from the savings, it would be worth checking out this interview on Which Bingo site reviews, that discusses why the tax cut needed to happen.
At the time when the interview took place, the cut in Bingo Duty had not yet occurred, and Miles Baron the CEO of the Bingo Association (a lobbying group which represents bingo halls up and down the country), was looking to see a decrease in tax to 15% from the 20% that it used to be. His argument was that the industry had seen a vast decline, due in part to lower player numbers, but mainly because of the tax measures which were seeing the profitability of many halls reduced to next to nothing. In fact, the number of bingo halls since 2007 have nearly halved in the entire country. Although this is synonymous with many businesses closing during the recession, the huge tax burden will certainly not have helped.
Moreover, if the profit margin is reduced, it also makes it very difficult to reinvest back into the business. This is further exacerbated by the fact that the equivalent VAT tax rate in retail bingo is 32.6 percent. It should be noted that halls cannot claim back VAT on expenses, which makes it very difficult to justify putting money back into the business, and revitalising old facilities.
5% more than you bargained
Now the tax decrease turned out to be 5% larger than was expected, which almost certainly had many in the industry jumping out of their seats celebrating. With many thousands of jobs being safeguarded up and down the country. Great news for bingo halls, but what does it mean for players? Certainly anyone who goes to their local bingo hall on a regular basis will be thrilled to know that it won’t be closing any time soon; however, will these savings translate into any savings for bingo goers?
Well, Mecca bingo have introduced some savings on their beer. They have beet the governments 1p cut, and gone for 2p cut themselves. Some bingo halls have suggested that they might boost their prize jackpots, but none appear to have made any definite statements on what savings their players might see. Nevertheless, it is still early days, and possibly some bingo halls might find that they have enough savings to offer a little back to their loyal customers.
If you go to any bingo halls leave a comment and let us know if you have seen any benefits from the tax cut!