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The owners of Mecca Bingo are to receive a £154.3 million tax refund bonus after winning a VAT case against the government. Rank Group, who own Mecca Bingo, will get £74.8 million back in overpaid VAT from bingo games played between 1973 and 1996. On top of this they will also get interest on the overpayments totalling £79.5 million.

Rank had been expecting the refund but management estimated on 25 February that they would receive £65 million plus interest so they will have been delighted to get almost £10 million more than they had expected.

Shares in Rank shot up 16.5 pence to 146 pence on the news, a rise of 12.7 per cent.

HM Revenue and Customs are appealing against the VAT ruling, which was on interval bingo games, and Rank will have to pay back all the money if the case is reversed in the European courts.