POCT stands for Point of Consumption Tax and POCT2 – a new tax which took effect on 1st August – extends the tax to bonuses.
This makes no deposit bonuses a critically endangered species, as operators simply cannot afford to pay 15% tax in cash on a bonus they give to someone who then never goes on to deposit and play. The fewer players who subsequently make a deposit, the more of a money sink for the operator the no deposit bonus is going to be and the less likely the site is to keep on offering it – so in theory at least, any remaining no deposit bonus offers after the dust settles will be from high quality bingo sites where players usually do go on to make a deposit.
It was rumoured that because of this, Cozy would get rid of all their no deposit bonus offers on 1st August but – so far at least – this hasn’t happened. They have, however, made several other changes some of which are rather radical:
- The free bingo room has been removed. The only free bingo at any of the Cozy sites at the moment is a once a month session and a 7 day newbie room at Game Village and other Lucky Duck network sites.
- The other bingo rooms have been rearranged to keep cash play and bonus play completely separate from each other. On the Live Bingo Network and Best Bingo Network there are 5 cash only rooms and 3 fixed pot bonus only rooms. We imagine that the fixed pots are set low so that the cost of the tax can be absorbed by offering a lower RTP than in the cash rooms.
- Bingo bonus can ONLY be used in these three rooms – but any winnings from there can be used in the cash rooms.
- The Lucky Duck Network now has access to the 3 fixed pot bonus rooms and, apparently, the networked cash rooms Victoria 90 and Downtown 80.
- At Live Bingo Network and Best Bingo Network the 75 ball provision is now looking very poor. There’s just one 75 ball room – it is only open in the evenings and only takes cash.
- The restriction on winnings from deposit bonuses has been changed and not for the better. It is now 5 x bonus, capped at £500.
- The rules for no deposit bonuses have also been simplified. Unless and until the player makes a deposit the maximum balance they can have is £50 (reset at midnight every day) and this cannot be withdrawn. As previously, in order to get at any winnings from such a bonus, players have to make a deposit and accept a bonus on it complete with wagering requirement – only then can the winnings be carried forward, as a bonus with the usual wagering requirement and a 14 day expiry, up to £50 (£20 at some sites) or the value of the first deposit, whichever is smaller. This only applies to cash winnings. Anything else in the account (bonus, free tickets etc) is reset when the first deposit is made.
- The minimum and maximum withdrawal limits have changed too; the minimum weekly withdrawal has been reduced to £10. The maximum weekly withdrawal is now 2 x the average weekly deposit over the 4 preceding weeks or £300, whichever is higher (£1000 in the case of a progressive jackpot win).