Regina v Herrod, ex parte Leeds City District Council: CA 1976

Lord Denning MR described the game bingo: ‘I expect that everybody knows ordinary bingo. It is played at bazaars, sales of work [sic: in [1976] 1 All ER 273, at 279c, the phrase is ‘places of work’], and so forth, for small prizes and is perfectly lawful. Now prize bingo is like ordinary bingo, but played with sophisticated apparatus. Instead of cards with numbers on them, there are dials facing the players. A player puts in a coin (5p for two cards). Thereupon two dials light up showing numbers corresponding to two cards. When the game starts, instead of someone drawing a number out of a hat, a machine throws a ball into the air. A gaily dressed lady plucks one of them and calls out the number. If it is one of the numbers on the dial, the player crosses it out by pulling a cover over it. If he gets all his numbers crossed out correctly before the other players, he gets a prize. This is obviously a lottery or a game of chance, but it is not a ‘gaming machine’ because the element of chance is not ‘provided by means of the machine’ but means of the gay lady: see section 26(2) of the Gaming Act 1968.
In some of these premises there are also some ‘one-armed bandits.’ These are gaming machines. The player puts in a coin. This enables him to pull a handle to forecast a result. Cylinders revolve and give an answer. If he succeeds, he gets the winnings. If he fails, he loses his money. This is undoubtedly a ‘gaming machine’ because the element of chance is provided by means of a machine: see section 26(1) of the Act of 1968 and Capper v. Baldwin [1965] 2 QB 53.’
Lord Denning MR said: ‘If a person comes to the High Court seeking certiorari to quash the decision of the Crown Court – or any other tribunal for that matter-he should act promptly and before the other party has taken any step on the faith of the decision. Else he may find that the High Court will refuse him a remedy. If he has been guilty of any delay at all, it is for him to get over it and not for the other side’.’


Lord Denning MR


[1976] QB 540


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedHM Revenue and Customs v The Rank Group Plc CA 30-Oct-2013
The tax payer had sought repayment of sums of VAT charged to a particular form of gaming, saying that the rules infringed the principles of fiscal neutrality under European law. HMRC now appealed against a finding that the machines were exempt from . .
CitedRevenue and Customs v The Rank Group Plc SC 8-Jul-2015
The question raised by this appeal is whether, during the period 1 October 2002 to 5 December 2005, the takings on a particular category of gaming machines operated by the appellants were subject to VAT. The answer depends on whether the takings . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Licensing, Judicial Review

Updated: 09 May 2022; Ref: scu.589259