Bingo is played in 400 clubs across Britain, by 3.5 million active members. While most other gambling activities were taxed at 15% or less, the bingo industry was subjected to bingo duty at 20%. Investment in the industry was being stifled and clubs were closing. Jobs were being lost.
The campaign began with pledges of investment, modernisation and jobs from bingo operators, if the tax was reduced. Analysis by independent tax experts showed the benefit of tax reduction to the industry, and to the Treasury. MPs met representatives from The Bingo Association, and were invited to bingo clubs in their constituencies. The issue was raised in Parliament 524 times, with MPs explaining how bingo clubs were an important community resource. Almost 400 clubs held a weekend of free bingo, helping spread the message further. 340,000 people signed a petition calling for a tax cut, which was delivered to the Chancellor, ahead of the Budget.
The Treasury listened. Responding directly to the momentum created, Chancellor George Osborne praised a ‘robust campaign’ in his Budget speech. He said;
“They want the rate cut to 15%. I can go further. Bingo duty will be halved to 10% to protect jobs and protect communities.”
The tax reduction was front page of the UK’s most-read newspaper, The Sun and unlocked investment of at least £30 million a year for the industry, providing a stimulus for new clubs to open, others to be refurbished, and jobs to be created. The 2014 Budget became known as ‘The Bingo Budget’.
Miles Baron, Chief Executive of The Bingo Association, said;
“Working with PLMR is one of the best decisions I’ve made since becoming Chief Executive. Their energy, commitment and creativity is fantastic – I can’t say enough about them!”