Sportech wins HMRC battle

POOLS and horseracing bookie Sportech last night said it expected to recoup £80m from HM Revenue and Customs after winning its claim that it was incorrectly charged VAT on its famous spot-the-ball game.

Sportech’s battle with HMRC begun four years ago when it argued that the competition – where punters try to place the ball missing from a football action photo – is a game of chance, not skill, meaning it should not have been subject to VAT between 1979 to 1996.

HMRC has until the end of April to appeal the finding, handed down by the First-tier Tribunal’s Tax Chamber.