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Bingo, Scotland’s passion, awaits confirmation of fair taxation after election

Jun 18, 2010 - by admin
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Now that proponents of fair taxation for bingo in Scotland have been elected/reelected into the country’s parliament, the Scottish National Party constituency now awaits a repeal to a proposed tax hike on bingo gaming.

One of the more outspoken proponents of bingo in Scotland was Dundee East MP Stewart Hosie. Hosie, who also serves as the SNP’s spokesperson for the treasury and economy, actually invested the time for his last photo opportunity of the election season to meet with Mecca Bingo players and managers in Nethergate in May.

SNP spent much of the election campaign warning bingo players that Scottish bingo clubs were at risk because of the Labour Party’s proposed budget. Planned for in the budget, SNP candidates said, was an increase from 15% to 22%. Calling the prospective tax hike “unfair,” Hosie at that time said that “Bingo is a highly popular social activity yet is paying 22%, while duty on other forms of gambling including sports betting, online casino and online poker and football pools will remain at 15%.”

And in fact SNP strategy also had party head/First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond playing the part of bingo caller in a Glasgow bingo parlor in October. Ironically, the winning number in the game Salmond drew was 74, the number of years Labour had held the parliament seat of the district in which Salmond was calling. “You can’t fight fate,” he joked. (SNP’s candidate David Kerr ended up losing anyway.)

In 2009, a House of Commons study showed that three million people in Great Britain played bingo regularly. In that fiscal year, 1.42 billion was played on bingo games in real-life bingo halls alone and 69.8 million was raised in taxes for the British government. The Scottish market accounts for about 20% of the overall British numbers.

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