UK Bingo Association Wins Huge Award for PR Campaign

At the end of October, there was a wonderful outcome for bingo at the PR Week Awards 2014. We are delighted to report that the UK Bingo Association received a vindicating award for the quality and success of its campaign to reduce the rate of tax applied to bingo halls, which now stands at just 10%.

To summarise, bingo halls had previously been forced to pay a 20% rate of tax over the past few years. Quite unfairly, all other gambling operators paid 15% tax or less (lottery operators were only subjected to 12%). The tax was so difficult to comprehend, with online operators already benefiting from their low-cost setups. Even land-based casino only paid 15%, and they are relatively comparable to bingo halls.

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Bingo Boost Campaign

In the years prior to January 2014, the Bingo Association had long been campaigning and lobbying for a decrease in bingo tax. However, there had never been a concerted campaign that bore clear branding. But all of that changed with the launch of the outstanding Bingo Boost Campaign in January. At last, the Bingo Association had found a clear vehicle with which to achieve its goal.

Once the campaign was running, it only took until March before the government finally relented. Chancellor George Osborne admitted that the retail bingo market needed help if it was to survive. Thankfully, this is not a story of “too little, too late,” with the market having already struggled through the closure of hundreds of bingo halls since the turn of the century.

What was particularly wonderful about that triumphant moment in January is that the Bingo Boost campaign was seeking to reduce bingo tax to 15%, which would be in line with most other gambling operators. Incredibly, the campaigners hopes were exceeded when George Osborne announced in his budget that bingo tax would be cut by half to 10%.

The Awards Ceremony

The PR Week Awards 2014 were held at a special London ceremony in late October. Bingo Association chief executive Miles Baron said in anticipation as he waited for the winner to be announced. Well, we are delighted to tell you that the Bingo Boost campaign was named as the Best Public Affairs Campaign for 2014. Baron acknowledged that the industry uniting behind the campaign proved vital in the success.

During the first two months of the campaign, Bingo Boost managed to obtain more than 330,000 signatures of support for its petition. More than 200 bingo players then descended on Downing Street to deliver the signatures. Really, it is quite incredible that just two months of hard work combined with an excellent strategy managed to sway the government.

Another success of the campaign was that Baron persuaded more than 50 MPs to make clear demonstrations of support for Bingo Boost and the reduction of bingo tax. In fact, many of the MPs even went to the bingo halls in their constituencies to either play or call out numbers. All in all, the Bingo Association is a deserving winner of its prestigious award.

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