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British Commercial Bingo

The bingo industry has been in decline for the last several years due to overregulation and the smoking ban. In 2006, approximately 679 clubs held gaming licenses; by 2010, that number was down to under 500. Gala Coral and Rank Group are the biggest bingo operators in the country, with around 50% of bingo clubs.

In November 2007, a petition was filed with the Scottish Parliament to change the U.K.'s current tax laws for the bingo industry. Currently, they pay both value added tax (VAT) and gross profit tax (GPT), which is considered unfair by those in the industry, who have been hit hard by the smoking ban. The VAT was eliminated in 2009, but the GPT was raised from 15% to 22%, essentially negating any economic relief the bingo industry would have felt from the elimination of the VAT.

In February 2009, the British government allowed bingo clubs to place as many as eight Class B machines with a GBP 500 top prize on their premises. Prior to this ruling, the maximum number allowed was four. Bingo halls are permitted to have more than one license for the same location, provided the different areas are discernible even if there is direct access from one gaming area to another. In this case, the bingo operator may install as many Class B machines as the licenses permits, with the only stipulation being that machines under different licenses have to be in physically different locations.

The Gambling Act 2005 made it illegal for gambling operators to advertise on TV and radio after 9 p.m. However, an exemption was made for sports betting operators and online bingo sites. But in 2013, the House of Lords began discussing regulation that would effectively ban all forms of online gambling advertising before 9 p.m. On 1 April 2014, such a bill was introduced before parliament. No bill has been passed as of yet.

British Commercial Bingo Properties

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