08 Jul 2009

The SNP MP for Glasgow East, John Mason, is calling for fairer taxation on the bingo industry and an end to the double standard currently inflicted on the sector. The SNP has supported a bingo rally at the House of Commons to show the party’s support for the sector.

Bingo clubs are currently hit with a 22% levy while other gaming activities are taxed at 15%. The industry claims that this unfair taxation has put great strain on business and played a contributing role in the closure of 31 clubs in 2008/09.

Commenting, East End MP John Mason said:

“To burden bingo with this over-taxation is both unjust and unwelcome. These are difficult times for the bingo industry and the UK Labour Government needs to support the sector rather than adding to the challenges it faces.

“Bingo is not just about gambling, it is an important social event for many people in the East End, and throughtout Glasgow. Many of the older people in my constituency meet friends for an afternoon or night out at the bingo. In addition, it also provides a significant number of jobs in our area.

“Other gambling products are taxed at a 15 per cent but the UK Labour Government insists on making licensed bingo an exception to the rule. The SNP will keep up the pressure to redress this imbalance by tabling an amendment to the Finance Bill next week.

“It is totally bizarre to over-tax an activity that is enjoyed by so many ordinary folk and threaten the livelihood of the many people employed in the industry. The SNP has long campaigned for a change in this unfair tax policy. It is time for action to preserve this important industry and to bring bingo into line with other gaming activities.”