With a long and hallowed history, bingo has been a fun pastime in the UK since about the 16th century. Today, bingo halls are in danger of extinction as more and more of Britain’s favorite bingo venues are forced out of business.
Taxes, Smoking Ban, Blamed for Closures
Britain’s Bingo halls are being hit hard – and not just by the current recession. A ban on smoking caused some patrons to stop visiting their local bingo halls, and a 5% tax increase on bingo hall profits has caused a decrease in profits to the point where many bingo halls simply could not afford to stay in business any longer and were forced to close. The closures continue today, leaving many who enjoyed socializing while playing bingo with no similar options.
Though many people continue to visit existing bingo halls, the numbers are lower than they have been in previous years. This loss of revenue has combined with the tax increase to make it much more difficult for bingo halls to offer attractive cash prizes, bonuses, and other incentives that compel punters to visit on a regular basis. The lack of funding only makes the downward spiral worse, leading to the demise of a greater number of bingo halls.
The Back Bingo Campaign: A Push toward Bingo Hall Sustainability
The Back Bingo Campaign is a concerted effort to keep the 400 or so bingo halls in Britain open. The industry employs about 12,500 Commonwealth citizens, and when bingo halls thrive, they bring in important tax revenue. Numerous MPs have joined the Back Bingo Campaign in hopes that reducing taxes on bingo hall profits will allow clubs to make investments in their futures and continue serving locals who rely on bingo halls as safe places to socialize. It is hoped that Back Bingo will compel the Government to bring taxes on bingo hall profits down from the current 20% rate to 15% - enabling bingo halls to invest more in their employees, their communities, and their ability to offer attractive prizes.
Some Blame Online Bingo for Decline in Bingo Hall Attendance
Some mistakenly believe that online bingo venues are responsible for the decline in live bingo hall attendance. This simply is not true – in fact, many who patronize online bingo venues enjoy regular meetups at live bingo halls, where they tend to play multiple cards at once and bring a renewed sense of excitement to the game.
Needless to say, even if bingo halls do disappear, bingo is here to stay. It is incredibly popular online, and online bingo jackpots tend to be quite large. Though the fact that bingo itself isn’t going anywhere will of course soothe some, it’s sad to think that someday bingo halls may no longer be available. So patronize a local bingo hall if you can, and be sure to take a moment to let government representatives know how you feel about the current crises bingo halls are facing. Together, we can help protect this important endangered species – and ensure that bingo halls continue to offer fun and excitement, jobs, and a sense of community to the cities and towns we live in.
Updated : February 11, 2014