Bingo taxes opposed

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BINGO TAX PRESSURE ON BRIT CHANCELLOR

Gaming companies underline threat to continued viability

The UK government's Department of Culture, Media and Sport has put its support behind bingo companies campaigning for a tax reduction to ensure the continued business viability of the sector.

On and offline bingo groups such as Gala Coral and Rank have appealed to the British Chancellor of Exchequer, Alistair Darling, for the reductions to prevent closures of bingo halls during an economic slowdown and a reduction in land patronage caused by smoking bans.

The Financial Times reports that the extensive lobbying campaign has won the support of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which is now expected to push for tax breaks in its Budget submission.

Bingo operators say they face double taxation in the form of a gaming duty of 15 percent and VAT of 17.5 percent. The Treasury, however, believes the industry is losing customers and facing systemic problems that tax relief alone will not solve.

According to the bingo industry 100 clubs could be forced to close in 2008. In 2007 33 clubs were shut down.

Gala Corals chief executive Neil Goulden, was quoted in the FT as saying: The message we are giving the chancellor and the prime minister is if you give us the same tax treatment as other gambling industries, it will be an investment that will drive up admissions.
 

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