The Chancellor George Osborne yesterday unveiled a 10 per cent cut in taxes – on bingo halls.
Punters could win bigger prizes when operators pass on the savings and more jobs will be created in bingo halls, it is claimed.
The Government believes the populist move ahead of next year’s general election will win support among working class voters – the main customers of large complexes such as Gala Bingo and Mecca.
This was backed up with a cut of 1p on the price of beer.
Taxes on bingo halls are currently 20 per cent but will fall to 10 per cent when the legislation comes into force.
The cut was bigger than expected after leading figures in the bingo industry called for a reduction to 15 per cent.
A petition signed by 300,000 people backing the Boost Bingo campaign was presented to Number 11 Downing Street last month.
Despite large firms such as Gala and Mecca apparently booming, bingo clubs are closing at a rate of one a month and more than 1,000 jobs have been lost since 2012, according to the Bingo Association.
The industry has now promised to invest an extra £30 million in new clubs, better community facilities and more jobs. For those who don’t want to make the trip to their local hall, they can play online bingo at Paddy Power.
However, not all fans of gambling came out of the budget better off.
Osborne raised the tax on controversial fixed-odds betting machines to 25 per cent.
The machines are widely available in bookmakers and have soared in popularity.
Analysts suggested that the extra revenue for fixed-odds gambling terminals will off-set the cut in tax on bingo halls.