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Monday, 21 November 2011 08:15

Charities Call Bingo on the Council’s Taxes

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If you’re a little bit tired of reading endless stories about how a bingo bonus has changed someone’s life or how free online bingo is the best thing since sliced bread, read on. I promise this will be 100% juicy gossip.

Gossip in the online bingo world is a bit thin on the ground, notwithstanding the recent Alabama bingo trial. But with that on hold until early next year, what’s a shameless scandal-seeker supposed to do?

Well, good news guys. I’ve taken a break from my free online bingo games and dug up the latest and greatest in scuttlebutt fare and it’s ready to be plated and served to you with a side of poutine. Canada’s small town of Tecumseh (population: 24,000) has hit the news with the latest trend for the Autumn/Winter collection: bingo lawsuits.

Tecumseh used to by the beating bingo heart of Ontario, with the bingo industry estimated to provide $25m annually to the community in terms of jobs and donations to charity exclusive of any profits bingo operators made (believed to be $140m in 1998). Operators were charged huge licence fees plus ‘fees’ that were 2% of the gross profits by the city – a nice little bingo bonus for the councils.

It’s these ‘fees’ that are the centrepiece of the $100m fiasco currently being lodged against Windsor and Tecumseh by three local charities, who claim that the fees were excessive and constituted a tax, which municipalities are technically not authorised to collect. But critics of the case are surprised by the notion that charities are claiming that tax is an unusual and unacceptable part of council operations – especially since citizens pay levies and fees for most other services – and feel that charities are using the victim card to launch a bogus case against the city.

In any case, the outcome of the case will surely set precedence for other claimants who feel they were charged too much for their bingo business and if successful we could see a string of claims from operators – charities or no – who would like to get their money back from the council.

Now that’s what I call a cashback!