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Greg warns on threat to East End bingo halls

August 17, 2009 10:25 AM

Lib Dem spokesman for Newcastle East Greg Stone has backed a campaign against increases in gambling duty on bingo which look set to put East End bingo halls at risk. There are only 600 bingo halls left in the UK with 60 closing in the last two years, and only three remain in the East End at Clifford Street, Heaton Road, and Scrogg Road.

However, there are fears that more could close as the Labour government seeks to increase bingo tax from 15% to 22%. He has signed a petition on the Number 10 website in support of a freezing of the tax.

Greg said "Bingo may not be a fashionable cause but it remains a popular pastime particularly for older people for whom it can be an opportunity to get out of the house and socialise with friends. Compared to the rise in internet gambling, it has a low risk of problem gambling and addiction.

"Government killjoys just don't seem to understand the threat it's under. They need to stop gambling with bingo's future and let people enjoy some harmless fun. I hope people will join me in signing this petition and help save this great British pastime."

The petition can be found at: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Bingoplayers/