The next couple of months are potentially going to be quite defining of the online bingo industry. Despite the General Election effecting new tax laws on bonuses coming being ratified in Parliament, Operators have been told to get themselves set for the new legislation. As of the 1st August, free bets and bonuses will suffer the same level of point of consumption duty.
This is bad news for many bingo brands as well as players who like their no deposit bonus offers. If a brand offers a £10 no deposit bonus to a new player then that incurs £1.50 tax. Any wins from the bonus also gets taxed meaning a nice pay day for HMRC but lots of potential headaches for the Operators.
In fact, this new tax on bonuses could well see the end of brands offering handouts to newbies as an incentive to give their sites a try. Today we've received notice that Dragonfish Network brands Welcome, Peeps, Good Day and Lucy have all stopped offering no deposit bonuses to new players. We anticipate that other Dragonfish Network sites will follow suit.
Cozy Games To Offer Free Bingo
There's also going to be a massive change across the Cozy Games Network. The likes of Gone, Landmark, Harrys and our own Snappy have offered up to £15 no deposit bonuses since they launched. However these offers are expected to end soon and be replaced by free bingo rooms for newbies. These free rooms will offer bonuses as prizes - but the reality is the cost will be considerably less than paying tax on multiple no deposit bonuses.
To fully understand the impact these changes will have you just need to look at our various no deposit bonus pages. We expect that there will be no £10 no deposit or £15/£20 no deposit offers left in the coming weeks. As a site we don't list every brand but across over 20 sites there's £300 of bonuses will no longer be available. There are in fact over 80 Cozy Games sites - so that's £800 to £1000 of bonuses being switched off!
It's Not All Bad News
It's not all doom and gloom, at least not yet! A number of sites still offer £5 no deposit bonuses - but the bulk of these are from the Ignite group who run Costa, City and Sing. They launched Bringo Bingo yesterday with a no deposit offer so perhaps they're happy to see how things go? If they were to switch off their deals then that'd make the situation a lot more bleak for freebie hunters.
The new tax may be bad news for the no deposit bonus, but we think that it may actually help boost the bingo industry. Many sites have become stale and reliant on the same old same old. The market is saturated and it's been a while since a new site has emerged that's looked even able challenge the likes of Foxy, Jackpotjoy and Tombola.
Whilst the changes may see some sites close, those that survive may need to look to new incentives to encourage new players and depositors to take a look. We anticipate seeing more free bingo rooms for new players, prize draws for newbies and depositors and rewards such as vouchers for depositors.
Whatever happens, the bingo landscape is definitely going to change. It's going to be a very interesting run in to the end of the year!
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