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HMRC v The Rank Group

In HMRC v The Rank Group [2015] UKSC 48 (8 July 2015) the Supreme Court found that the takings from gaming machines connected to an external ‘random number generator’ (RNG) were subject to VAT.

The gaming machines in issue were connected to a RNG which could serve up to six terminals. Under the VAT (Betting Gaming and Lotteries) Order SI 1975/3328 the takings from a gaming machine are not exempt if the ‘element of chance in the game is provided by means of the machine’. The issue was whether the ‘element of chance’ in a game played on these gaming machines was ‘provided by means of the machines’.

The Supreme Court referred to the definition of ‘machine’ in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary: ‘an apparatus using or applying mechanical power having several parts each with a definite function and together performing certain kinds of...

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