BINGO halls have hit the jackpot as the Government has halved the duty on earnings.

The tax has been slashed to 10 per cent, meaning that bingo halls will have more money to invest in their businesses and put prize money up.

The announcement follows a campaign led by The Bingo Association which was backed by 330,000 players’ signatures calling on a reduction in the tax.

Rose Vickers, 77, of Coulby Newham has played since she was 19 and hopes the tax cut will help revitalise the trade.

She said: “I love a game of bingo. There are a lot of older people who do like the bingo, but the pensioners who are struggling with money just can’t afford to do it.

“I hope this tax cut helps. The more people that you can get in the better the prize money is, so the cut gets a thumbs up from me.”

Helen Walters, 93, of Billingham, has played bingo for over half a century and fears for the game’s future.

She said: “I bet a pound to a penny all the clubs will be finished in the future and the only way you’ll be able to play will be through the telly or computer, but not everybody has the internet.

“I don’t think the winnings are enough as they are, so I hope that this tax benefit will be passed on to the dedicated players.”

Mark Dodson, manager of the Mecca Bingo on Bridge Road, Stockton, welcomed the measure and said the extra money would be reinvested into the business to enhance the bingo experience and attract new players.