Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Business in Sport and Leisure Limited


  1.1  Business in Sport and Leisure (BISL) is an umbrella organisation that represents nearly 100 private sector companies in the commercial sport and leisure industry. BISL members include most of the major operators of commercial leisure in the UK and many consultants who specialise in this field. In the context of the commercial gaming industry, members of BISL operate on and off-course betting, pools, casinos, bingo and amusement machines. Members of BISL who are listed on the London Stock Exchange have a combined market capitalisation in excess of £40 billion.

  1.2  BISL has established a Gaming Working Group, which consists of BISL members specifically looking at current issues affecting the gambling industry. These include developing BISL policy on Gaming Reform and influencing Government policy. The Gaming Working Group has given a written submission to the Gambling Review Body. BISL also published an independent study by KPMG in May 2000, on "The Economic Value and Public Perception of Gambling in the UK", commissioned by its members. A copy of this study is enclosed[27].


  2.1  Initially the National Lottery was introduced and presented by the Government as harmless amusement with substantial charity benefits. There is no doubt however, that the National Lottery has had an impact on the commercial gaming industry and in particular on the pools and betting sectors.

  2.2  The National Lottery Act 1994 is a modern piece of legislation designed for the 20th Century. The Gaming Act 1968; the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act 1963 and the Lottery and Amusements Act 1976 are all out-dated and in need of reform. Some changes have been made to these Acts through use of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 during the 1990s, but restrictions on advertising in particular have made it very difficult for commercial operators to compete with the National Lottery.

  2.3  Pools companies have been particularly affected by the introduction of the National Lottery. The chart below shows changes in turnover, number of employees and contributions to betting duty and good causes.


£988 million
£180 million
Number of Employees
Contributions to Football Trust
£26 million
£5 million
Contributions to Foundation for Sport and the Arts
£68 million
£5 million
Pool Betting Duty
£352 million
£32 million

  2.4  During the passage of the National Lottery Bill, the Home Office agreed to monitor the impact of the Lottery on the Horserace Betting Levy. Responsibility for this monitoring has been undertaken by the Economics and Resource Analysis unit of the Home Office's Research, Development and Statistics Directorate.

  2.5  In each of the past five years, the research undertaken has shown that the Lottery has increasingly had a negative impact on off-course betting and the Horserace Betting Levy. In the latest report, published earlier this year, off-course betting expenditure in 1999 was estimated at 14.7 per cent below the level it would have been expected to reach in the absence of the National Lottery.

  2.6  In 1996, the Henley Centre estimated that off-course betting turnover in 1995 had reduced by 8.5 per cent as a result of the National Lottery. For the same year the Home Office estimated that the loss was 11.8 per cent. These estimates however preceded the introduction of the midweek draw. With the introduction of the midweek draw, the deficit rose to 14.7 per cent in 1999.

  2.7  In 1995, the Henley Centre found that betting office profits were 35 per cent lower than they would have been in the absence of the Lottery. In the same year the Horserace Betting Levy was reduced by £5.4 million and total Government revenues had fallen by £82 million. Four hundred betting offices had closed by the end of 1995 and more than 3,400 industry jobs were lost. Today the number of operating licensed betting offices is estimated at 8,300, compared with 9,300 immediately prior to the introduction of the National Lottery.


  3.1  People over the age of 16 may play the Lottery and the Pools, but you must be 18 to participate in any form of commercial gambling with the exception of certain low stake/low prize amusement machines mainly found in seaside resorts. Over the past six years, the National Lottery has become a product of the commercial gaming industry. BISL believes that the age for playing the National Lottery, and indeed for all forms of gambling, should be raised to 18.


  4.1  Business in Sport and Leisure would be delighted to give oral evidence to the Select Committee if this was considered useful.

September 2000

27   Not printed. Back

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