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William Hill set for £150m windfall after betting against HMRC

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William Hill could be in for a windfall of up to £150m after betting companies have won a case against HMRC over VAT.

William Hill won the case in April which could lead to the betting giant recovering between £125m and £150m in VAT that they paid on gambling machines.

HMRC decided not to appeal against the court ruling, William Hill said on Wednesday. The courts justices upheld the decision that betting firms were wrongly charged on VAT over some machines before 2013.

The Upper Tier Tribunal said when summarising the lower court’s decision, “Such differences as there were between the various comparator games in terms of their relevant characteristics did not have a significant influence on the decision of the average customer to use one machine or another.”

William Hill never bought the case forward, but it is highly expected they are in line for a whopping refund.

The betting giant said in a statement to their shareholders, “The group has submitted claims which are substantially similar to those provided in the VAT challenge.”

The company added, “Whilst William Hill currently expects the net cash recovery to be material, its precise quantum remains uncertain.

“Nevertheless, the board has considered a number of scenarios which suggest a potential net cash recovery of between £125m and £150.”

However, Richard Watson executive director of the Gambling Commission, gave a cautious note over the data.

Watson said, “Our data does not indicate there has been an increase in any illegal gambling in Britain during the Covid-19 crisis.

“It is an area we monitor carefully and where we find problems, we use our broad range of investigatory powers, alongside stakeholders such as software providers, payment businesses and hosting companies.

“Tackling illegal websites and unlicensed operators is challenging and it is also resource-intensive, but we are committed to continuing our work in this area to protect consumers here in Britain.”

In early morning trading William Hill’s share price was up by 6.11% to 129.45 on Wednesday.




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