Mecca Bingo To Get £36 Million In VAT Back

I’m just back off holiday and catching up with the news. Talk about bad timing, the one week in the year I’m away from the PC for any length of time, two of the largest Bingo news stories of the year break! Midweek I found out about Gala Bingo’s withdrawal from the National Game. Then on Friday there was news from Mecca Bingo that they’d won a tax tribunal and could be in line for £36 Million of VAT rebate.

Given the lack of a U-turn on VAT on Bingo at the budget, Mecca Bingo have managed to pave the way for a number of other Bingo operators to get their hands on some much needed revenues following the down turn in trade after the smoking ban. It’s not cut and dried yet, as HM Revenue & Customs have until the 10th of July to lodge an appeal against the ruling by the VAT and Duties Tribunal.

The rebate centres around Mecca Bingo’s complaint to the tribunal, argued some types of mechanised cash bingo are taxable while others are exempt from VAT is contrary to the principle of fiscal neutrality laid down by European law. Should this ruling be allowed to stand, there will no doubt be a gold rush from the Bingo operators, trying to claw back revenues that the companies have lost to the tax man over the last couple of years. The good news for Mecca is that the £36 million is just for one tax year, and as a result, other tax years can still be claimed for.

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