The British gambling company Rank Group has shared it believes to be in line for a tax refund of £80 million over VAT payment on slot machine income. The statement came after it became clear that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) made a decision not to take an earlier tribunal judgement to the Court of Appeal.
The gambling operator, which currently owns the Grosvenor Casinos and Mecca Bingo brands, shared that the first-tier tax tribunal had given the green light to a 60-day extension to allow talks with the country’s tax authority regarding the extent of the refund it has to get for tax payments on the aforementioned slot machines that were made in the period from April 2006 and January 2013.
A few months ago, in June 2021, tribunal judges ruled in favour of Rank Group, saying that the gambling company was not obliged to pay VAT on a variety of slot machines over the abovementioned period because the terminals were similar to gambling devices that have been subject to VAT exemption.
As revealed by the UK gambling operator, the HMRC had decided not to take the ruling to the Court of Appeal.
A 60-Day Extention Given to Rank Group and the HMRC to Agree on the Gambling Tax Claim’s Size
Reportedly, the first-tier court had said yes to a 60-day extension that would allow the HMRC and Rank Group to agree on the exact size of the legal claim. The gambling operator still expects to receive a tax refund of approximately £80 million.
Some arcades, pubs and gambling companies in the UK are expected to receive billions in tax refunds after they have unfairly become subject to the Government’s VAT charges on some of the gambling terminals they owned.
The first-tier tribunal judgement follows a verdict that was announced in April 2020 in favour of another gambling company – Betfred. In its ruling, the court found that owners of the controversial fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), which have been much criticised for the possible gambling harm they could inflict to customers, were due a tax windfall because of the same reason.
Currently, there are approximately 35,000 fixed-odds betting machines and about 190,000 slot machines of all types in Britain. According to data provided by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), the country’s gambling industry is now estimated at about £14.3 billion on an annual basis in comparison to £8.4 billion only ten years ago (in 2011). Reportedly, the stable growth generated by the sector has been lucrative for the UK Treasury, as gambling companies have paid taxes of about £2.8 billion in 2020-2021.
For the time being, Rank Group owns and operates 65 casino venues and 76 Mecca Bingo halls. The gambling company also owns a small Spanish bingo operation called Enracha.
Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.