Government Agency in the UK Calls for Lower Bingo Taxes
In the UK the high taxes paid by bingo operators have been a sore point for years. Currently bingo is the highest taxed form of gambling in the UK. Bingo halls pay a 20% tax and all other casinos, bookmakers and others pay a 15% tax rate. In addition to high taxes bingo halls were recently saddled with very high local licensing fees and a tax on slot machines. Online bingo operators have long complained about the unfair tax advantages of offshore bingo sites. Many UK online bingo operators have moved offshore to take advantage of lower tax rates in jurisdictions such as Gibraltar and Malta. Recently some members of Parliament proposed a 'point of consumption' tax which would tax all online bingo transactions taking place in the UK no matter where the operator is located.
Percent report by the Department of Culture Media and Sport has called for bingo to be taxed in line with other forms of gambling. The report titled "The Gambling Act 2005: A bet worth taking?" suggests a 15% tax rate for bingo halls and has the full backing of the UK Bingo Association. In its third section the report details the history of the high bingo taxes. The report states "In 2003, bingo taxation was reformed in order to bring it in line with the wider industry: turnover tax was abolished and bingo was subject to a gross profits tax (GPT), charged at 15%. VAT charges were removed later. In 2009, the Government increased bingo GPT from 15% to 22%. In 2010 this rate was reduced to 20% because of industry complaints that 22% was too high."
The report goes on to point out that bingo is considered by most as a 'soft' form of gambling and recommends that the Treasury reassess and investigate the bingo industry's position during the next fiscal year. Paul Talboys, the Chief Executive of the Bingo Association, told reporters "We are pleased that the Select Committee has recognised that bingo should be taxed at 15%, bringing it in line with the other forms of gambling in the UK. We remain convinced that a fair tax regime which supports UK jobs and stimulates local economies can only be achieved by introducing a single rate of tax for all products governed by The Gambling Act. In moving forward to create a sector with a genuinely 'level playing field' it will be essential for all involved, that the DCMS and Treasury, who are responsible for creating the framework (regulatory and tax) that the industry operates within, work together in a co-operative and considered manner."
Hopefully Parliament and the treasury will take some sort of action soon to relieve the financial pressure placed on bingo halls by high levels of taxation.
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