Tax burden killing bingo halls, warns MSP

Bingo halls could close unless the tax burden on them is changed, it was claimed today.

The industry pays more tax than bookmakers or casinos and Glasgow MSP Bob Doris, of the SNP, wants a level playing field.

He has tabled a motion at Holyrood calling for VAT on bingo halls to be slashed or removed so the industry can compete.

The income in bingo halls is currently subject to Gross Profit Tax and VAT, while casinos and betting shops only pay Gross Profit Tax.

Mr Doris believes that discriminates against an industry already badly affected by the smoking ban.

He said: „Bingo clubs provide a safe, social environment in local communities that many other entertainments cannot replicate.

„Why is it that Royal Ascot is not subject to a VAT rate that the Gala Bingo in Maryhill is?“

Mr Doris’s motion was tabled to coincide with a visit to Holyrood by Sir Peter Fry, chairman of the Bingo Association, and follows a similar motion at Westminster.

Sir Peter said: „Failure to tackle this fiscal imbalance will result in further closures and job losses.“

The Bingo Association says figures to the end of February show a drop in profits of 44%.