Page last updated at 16:38 GMT, Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Bingo tax change brings relief for sector

Bingo winner
Will bingo masters break out the champagne?

Bingo operators across the country have received their own windfall from the pre-Budget report after the chancellor cut the industry's tax to 20% from 22%.

Bingo enthusiasts had been campaigning for a lower rate since duty was raised from 15% to 22% in this year's Budget.

They had argued the rise would cost the industry £33m a year. The Treasury says the cut will cost the government £5m this year, and £10m a year after that.

Paul Talboys of the Bingo Association called the move "a pleasant surprise".

PRE-BUDGET REPORT DOCUMENTS

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"Bingo is the most harmless, most positive, form of gambling and yet it paid one of the highest rates of taxes."

The industry estimates one and a half million people play the game every week.

There was no warning of a bingo tax in last year's pre-Budget report, so the increase in the spring Budget from the 15% rate that other gambling activities pay to 22% came as a surprise.

At the time, the government also removed the VAT charge on bingo. The intention was for the two changes to save bingo clubs money overall.



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