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

Bingo tax change brings relief for sector

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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".


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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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