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Bingo groups feel betrayed by tax switch

27 Apr 2009

LONDON, England -- As reported by The Times: "As foreign secretary David Miliband called the numbers at the South Shields Mecca bingo hall nine days ago, executives at the club's owner, Rank, might have thought they had finally got the ear of government.

"Those illusions were shattered last week when Miliband's cabinet colleague Alistair Darling announced surprise changes to the tax regime for bingo and poker that will end up costing the company an extra £9m next year.

"The move was a shock to Rank. Along with other leading operators, it has mounted a sustained campaign to persuade the government that the "double taxation" of bingo, which pays Vat and gross profits tax, is unfair. No other form of gaming faces such a regime.

"The industry has warned that, without a change, many clubs face closure.

"...None of this seems to have cut any mustard with the Treasury. Last week, Darling announced the much desired repeal of Vat on bingo games, a welcome change, but simultaneously delivered an entirely unwelcome increase in bingo duty from 15% to 22%..."

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