The Bingo Association along with some of the biggest names in the bingo industry have been campaigning to have the ‘Double Taxation’ levied against bingo halls be removed and the standard taxation be introduced as is the case with other gambling insitutions. This campaign however has fallen on deaf ears and the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Angela Eagle has ruled that any changes to the current VAT legislation would not be forthcoming. She believes that there is no case for the Bingo Industry to believe that they are being taxed unfairly, as there are various forms of taxation that affect other areas of the gambling industry.
In the Bingo corner was Liberal Democrat MP John Hemmings who argued that the Bingo industry was being targeted because of their customer demographic being mainly working class. Mr Hemmings believes that there will be continued job losses due to bingo hall closures in the industry because of the unfair taxation levels, as well as a serious affect on the community when they lose the social aspect of the bingo hall. The Scottish National Party has been officially against the taxation since November 2008, and have called for the bingo revenues to be exempt from incurring VAT.
It has been reported that at least 100 clubs have closed in the last six years with resultant job losses in the region of 3,500. The smoking ban and the recession are likely to cause further damage the bingo industry, John Hemmings believes without doubt that this decision will cause many more bingo clubs to close and thousands of jobs to be lost. It was hoped that in the face of such a tough economic climate that the Government would relent to assist an industry struggling in the face of adversity. This hope has now been dashed by the decision of the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Angela Eagle.