Fears For Bingo Industry
There have been a number of fears regarding the future of the bingo industry but it seems as though bingo halls are facing a new pressure in providing players with what they want. The Bingo Association, one of the most prominent trade associations, has issued a stern warning that up to one in three bingo halls could face closure in the near to medium term. The biggest problem at the moment is not only down to a downturn in consumer interest but with the higher taxes that the Government are looking to impose on bingo halls.
The Bingo Association, with more than 200 bingo halls in their membership, think that the clubs that make less than £70,000 in profits every year could face closure over the next three years if there is a reduction in the tax burden imposed on UK bingo halls.
This has led to a number of important people in the industry to lobby the government with the hope of lowering the 20% gross profit tax level. When you consider the fact that high street bookmakers are only dealing with a 15% tax level, there is a need for bingo firms to fight back.
Tough times in the bingo industry
A spokesperson for the Bingo Association said; “The current taxation regime is a disaster – when you consider that an average club employs around 30 people and probably needs to re-invest around £1m in capex in order to modernise and stay competitive then £70,000 is not much at all. The ones in trouble tend to be smaller bingo clubs which are much more entrenched in the local community.”
This fear is also making its way into the thinking of many independent bingo clubs. “Our existence is year to year at the moment.” said Paul Carpenter, the owner of the Coronet, who continued; “Up until last year we were facing closure, getting by on £15,000 profit a year and our savings.”
Big bingo firms also worried about the future
The managing director from Mecca Bingo, Mark Jones said; “We see life in the market. The whole industry would benefit from a lower tax rate … we haven’t been building new clubs and that’s one thing we’d like to do – the fact there is no new builds is worrying for the future of the industry. The closures would particularly affect women who account for over two-thirds of bingo customers.