Budget 2014: Bingo boost for Britain's gamers
The government has decided to boost Britain's beleaguered bingo sector by cutting the duty paid by bingo halls.
Chancellor George Osborne announced in his Budget speech that bingo duty would be slashed by half from 20% to 10% - or 'David's Den', as the number 10 is known in bingo.
The chancellor explained that while the number of fixed-odds betting machines has mushroomed in recent years, "the number of bingo halls has plummeted by three quarters over the last thirty years."
During that time, bingo duty has remained at 20% while the duty on fixed-odds betting terminals – which have been accused of blighting communities as they allow gamblers to place and lose bets with incredible speed – has remained low.
Following a "vigorous campaign" to cut bingo duty by MPs from Harlow and Waveney, Osborne announced the 10% duty, which he said would "protect jobs and communities."
In its full Budget document, the Treasury states: "The government recognises the important role that bingo clubs play in bringing local communities together, supporting employment and contributing to British culture."
The cut in duty will cost the government £30 million this year, then £40 million in each of the next four years. However, government also announced that the duty on fixed-odds betting termainls will rise to 25%.
This will rake in £5 million this year, £75 million next year, £80 million in 2016, £85 million in 2017 and £90 million by 2018.
George Charles, financial expert at www.VoucherCodesPro.co.uk, said: "This is really good for those who enjoy a trip down to the bingo hall once in a while. Tory MP Robert Halfon made it clear that he wanted the current 20% gross profits tax on bingo reduced to 15% and over 300,000 people signed a petition backing him on the issue – so this will surely be music to their ears.
"In the last few years, bingo halls have taken a battering, with failure to draw in younger customers, a smoking ban, the rise in popularity of online bingo, and the bingo tax all taking their toll. Hopefully, this news will be able to breathe some life back into the struggling industry."