Arcade owners feeling taxed

PUBLISHED: 09:52 21 January 2009 | UPDATED: 22:55 15 June 2010

EAST Devon's amusement arcades and bookmakers have been told they may have to pay yet another tax to fund treatment for gambling addicts.

EAST Devon's amusement arcades and bookmakers have been told they may have to pay yet another tax - to fund treatment for gambling addicts.Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe said the money, spread among casino operators, bingo halls, betting parlours, operators of pools and companies that run lotteries and slot machines, would fund helplines and treatment centres.He added the government was resorting to a compulsory levy because gaming firms were failing to fund treatment on a voluntary basis But while the levy could be as much as £400 a year for larger casinos and as little as a few pounds a week for smaller companies, owners of smaller businesses say they will be hit the hardest.Phillip Avery, manager of Exmouth Amusements on The Parade said the announcement was just the latest in a long line of moves to squeeze the gaming industry - and nothing more than the latest stealth tax on businesses already hit by the recession.He said: "Licences have just gone up from £200 to £300 for each machine, the gaming licences have increased and we have had to build a 'no-man's land' (partition) between the gaming centre and family entertainment, they say to stop people getting hooked."But whatever they say, it's just another tax. Why do we have to pay? "It's not as though pubs have to pay for Alcoholics Anonymous, or fast food restaurants pay for treating obesity. We are a soft target. Just more bureaucracy." The Government says the move is needed to plug a £5 million shortfall in the current voluntary system.


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