Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bingo for Darling?

I've just been reading about how the government has been penalising ... wait for it ... the bingo industry. In the Budget the Chancellor, while he removed VAT as bingo clubs had requested, decided to increase bingo duty, making bingo - bizarrely - the highest taxed of all forms of gambling. This has got every single independent club in the UK in a rage and all their members too. Gordon Brown was accosted by an member in the north east on Wednesday. I'm told this is about to become a big issue in key marginals over the next few weeks and Labour MPs are bombarding Alistair Darling with requests not to increase the tax. There's a campaign website HERE.

I have to say I rather like a game of bingo. Not that I ever win it. It's a Why does the government want to increase taxes on something which is a completely harmless form of gambling and which gives a lot of pleasure to a lot of people?


Anonymous said...

Why? Because they are idiots!

Oldrightie said...

It will be an even bigger Balls up at The Treasury soon, apparently. What a team, the very blokes who shafted us over 12 years, already!

Martin S said...

Darling 'has fingers in the till' whilst Brown dithers. Things look bleak for Labourwv = conning. Hell. How apposite!

North Northwester said...

This kind of thing is a clear sign that a leader or a movement has lost its fire, its way, or any clue.

It's trivial, heroically remote from the concerns of most ordinary people, and wafer thin as a policy.

I remembe with grief in the late 1980's at a Conservative half-yearly conference when Mrs. Thatcher said she was declaring war on litter.
The Berlin Wall was yet to fall, and some good reforms were still to come, but I felt then that She might have lost impetus.

And the John Major years, everybody? Remember his glorious administration? Charter Marks for public and private bodies? That was gold stars to illiterate infants from a lazy teacher - and I had enough of those in the 1960's, thanks.

Bingo! Ye gods...

Anonymous said...

Because they're malicious shits and completely disconnected from ordinary people in generak and the sort of peopleo who play bingo in particular

Simon Gardner said...

Bingo a big issue in key marginals?

Oh dear what have we come to? How debased is our politics?

And how utterly base and undemocratic is our electoral system that the only people who actually matter are those few in the “key marginals”?

Anonymous said...

Because it is enjoyed by a lot of people. Other forms of gambling are less lucrative because the number of participants is lower.

Come on, you have to be pretty thick to believe a tax is imposed on the basis of the amount of harm it does, a tax is imposed based on the amount of money it generates and nothing more.

If they could figure out how to monitor it (and they may well be working on it based on our CCTV numbers) they would tax sex, presumably based on the risk of increasing the population and the potential of an addition burden on public services.

kasou said...


People keep calling McBruin 'the leader' of the labour party.

Dictionary definition of 'Leader'


Definition: Leader

1. A person who rules or guides or inspires others.

2. A featured article of merchandise sold at a loss in order to draw customers.

Maybe 2 is the one they mean.

no longer anonymous said...

Because it will harm elderly Tory voters?

"And how utterly base and undemocratic is our electoral system that the only people who actually matter are those few in the “key marginals”?"

Doesn't bother me and I'm not even in one.

Richard said...

Why? Quite simply because they've run out of money and need to find ways of fleecing us for even more!

Cinnamon said...

Because someone has to pay for Cameron's mortgages I guess...

But seriously, Bingo duty is easy and cheap to collect, there is a captive audience too and it also destroys another place where the community can meet and talk about life...

So, what is not to love -- tax and disperse the population at the same time into anonymous solitary units.

DespairingLiberal said...

It's an interesting story on another level - it reflects the corporatisation and dominance of corporate interests in government thinking at all levels these days. This will continue into whatever government succeeds the NuLab corporate-serving machinery.

Basically the big gambling corporations got their own way via highly paid lobbyists and had a reduction in their overall tax take. So the Treasury had to make it up somewhere and it was easy to target the much more minor and less-lobby-effective bingo wallahs.

Putting all that aside though, should we really be shedding tears about the interests of people who basically exist to take money off the poor, vulnerable and elderly for doing nothing more than installing some lighting, printing a few cards and employing a second-rate humorist to shout out numbers? Which are probably rigged anyway!

Not a sheep said...

"Why does the government want to increase taxes on something which is a completely harmless form of gambling and which gives a lot of pleasure to a lot of people?" This government doesn't want people to enjoy themselves, fear and misery are their raison d'etre.

Anonymous said...

Why? Because they can.

And they assume that people who frequent Bingo Halls either won't know, or won't care because they either don't vote or are tribalist Labour voters.

Nasty, cynical and exploitative - Labour showing itself in all its 'glory.'

It doesn't add up... said...

They're afraid of Hell's Grannies. Many of them are matriarchs, with considerable influence over their families. Wouldn't do to have them plotting over a smoke outside the Bingo hall, which they've already made a smoke free room. Make it too expensive to play. Close down all social activities except homoerotic football, the acceptable opium of the masses.

Alex Leonhardt said...

It's one thing to (rightly) point out that Bingo is taxed at a higher rate than other forms of gambling, but it's just not true to say that the Government has increased the tax on it.

The tax take from Bingo will be _decreased_ as a result of the Budget changes, not increased.

Bingo fan said...


How can the tax take from bingo be going down when all the big bingo operators (e.g. Rank, Gala) have put out press releases showing that the VAT and GPT changes in the Budget will cost them millions of pounds? Rank, as a plc, issued a profits warning for a cool £9m annual additional expense as soon as the Budget was announced.

The Government is convinced that scrapping VAT on bingo but increasing duty/GPT helps the industry - even going so far as to have Stephen Timms telling the Commons on 23 April that the industry welcomed the changes (but they won't tell us which bingo operators actually do support the move).

It's pretty obvious the Treasury got its numbers wrong and the result will be to further harm bingo, which is already in decline because of the smoking ban.

Dr Evil said...

I get the impression anything that constitutes a 'bit of fun' or one of life's little pleasures gets hit.

Smoking, drinking, smoking plus drinking, driving, any kind of gambling. What have I missed out? Oh yes, well I don't think he'll introduce a bed tax just yet.

georgeorwellslittlesister said...

It shows how out of touch Labour has become with its voters.
It seems determined to kill the few pleasures of the poorer members of society.
Ban them from smoking while they relax and socialise and tax one of their main forms of entertainment.
Well done, you snooty, preachy, middle class champagne socialists.

Anonymous said...

When are the working class going to wake up and realise that "labour" has not represented them for years. The New Labour party is made up of middle class urban professionals. Bingo and fags and beer is soooo tacky.

New Labour has been suppressing the working class and keeping them downtrodden, that's why they removed the only way out ( education wise) for poorer families ( Grammar schools), that's why they removed the 10p tax band, that's why all the "entitlements" you can get have to be claimed back via vast amounts of form filling etc, that's why they put your petrol taxes up.

Wake up...New Labour hates the working class with a vengence

Ray said...

Not quite the largest tax on gambling, large land based (i.e. not online) casinos have a 50% (yes 50%!) tax rate, see here:

This is ridiculous, as is the bingo tax - there doesn't seem to be any reason for it. Especially as the bingo clubs are being hit by the smoking ban and seeing their attendances fall.

It is either a spite tax because Labour or Gordon B personally dislikes gambling, or perhaps just a tax because they can.

Mirtha Tidville said...

Why tax bingo??...cos these carpetbaggers, shysters and incompetents, that dont even pass for a Government anymore have spend it..the lot..everything they have to tax everything to try to keep something still running......and STILL some idiots say they will still vote for Liebour...good hope they like bingo then..