It seems like the whole bingo playing community is getting behind the fight to get the unfair tax rise faced by Bingo halls reversed by the government. From Bingo players, online bingo sites and bingo halls up and down the country the whole bingo community are raising the issue whether it is by contacting their MP’s, creating petitions or starting a group on social networking sites such as Facebook. It really does seem like the Government has not thought out the amount of opposition to what is largely regarded as an unfair tax which is targeting bingo players in particular.
The protests are all in respect of the rise in taxation implemented in the last budget whereby bingo halls will now have to pay 22% tax on profits as opposed to 15% paid by other gambling venues such as bookmakers. The view in the industry is that the extra taxation will result in further bingo halls being forced to close at a time when the industry is already struggling to survive.
The protests are certainly nationwide and are not just restricted to bingo halls; literally all bingo players are doing their bit, but those that have recently made the newspapers include (but not restricted to); Hartlepool’s Mecca Bingo Hall whose staff and players have written to their MP Iian Wright asking for support, the Mecca Bingo hall in Rochdale has more than 735 players have written to their MP Paul Rowen. In Exeter the Mecca Bingo hall has managed to get 160 of their members to write to their MP Ben Bradshaw and in Shropshire 190 Mecca Bingo players from Telford have written to their MP David Wright requesting him to support their cause. There is massive support from the Mecca Bingo Hall in Hamilton who has managed to get 800 of their players to write to their MP Jimmy Hood.
So strong is the feeling nationally that some MP’s have joined the campaign without the need for player pressure including the Scottish MP Angela Constance and Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson. Stewart Hosie the MP for Dundee East has warned the government that they are in jeopardy of killing off Scottish bingo halls with the increase in the Tax duty and asked for an amendment to the Finance Bill in the House of Commons last week. Mecca Bingo has really pulled out all the stops and their players have written in excess of 2,500 letters in protest at the tax hike. The latest opposition comes from Facebook where there has been a group started on behalf of one disgruntled 62 year old player now has 1,508 members with more set to join.