The Culture, Media and Sport Committee has agreed to the following Report:
THE GOVERNMENT'S PROPOSALS FOR GAMBLING: NOTHING TO LOSE?
'Life is a gamble, at terrible oddsif it was a bet you wouldn't take it'
(Rosencrantz and Guilderstern are dead)
- Following the publication of the Government's policy paper A safe bet for success - modernising Britain's gambling laws, we announced our inquiry into gambling on 26 March 2002. The Government's paper was published, following consultation, in response to the Gambling Review Report published in July 2001. This Report had 176 recommendations, and proposed wide deregulation of current gambling legislation for the whole industry. We decided to focus on: the impact of the proposals on the suppliers, lessors and the users of gaming machines; the potential contribution of casino-development to the economy, both nationally and locally; the prevention of criminal infiltration of gambling; the social impact of the changes proposed and the safeguarding of the young and otherwise vulnerable; and the potential impact on the National Lottery of increased competition following the deregulation of casinos, bingo, pool competitions and society lotteries.
- We held three evidence sessions in June and July 2002 during which oral evidence was taken from fifteen sets of witnesses, including evidence from national associations of operators, concern groups, academics, the Gaming Board for Great Britain, the National Lottery Commission and others. We concluded our oral evidence-taking with a session with the Minister for Sport, the Rt. Hon. Richard Caborn MP, the Minister responsible for gambling, supported by Mr Elliot Grant and Mr Dave Bawden from the Gambling Division of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The full list of witnesses and of the written evidence received is set out at the back of this volume.
- The Committee visited the United States of America in April 2002, to discuss the US approach to the regulation of the gambling industry with the Nevada State Gaming Control Board, American Gaming Association and others, and to hear current thinking on research into the treatment and prevention of problem gambling from the National Council on Problem Gambling.
- We also visited Aberdeen in June 2002 to discuss the Scottish system of licensing gambling premises by local authorities with Aberdeen City Council, the Gaming Board for Great Britain, local operators and others to gain insight into how a similar system of licensing by local authorities will operate in England and Wales after the Government's proposals are implemented. The Committee also met the outgoing Mayor of Atlantic City who was able to provide information on the deregulation of gambling that had taken in place in New Jersey.
- We were greatly assisted in our inquiry by two Specialist Advisers, Professor David Miers, of Cardiff Law School, Cardiff University, and Mr Bill Galston, OBE, of Galston Associates. We are most grateful to everyone who submitted evidence or assisted during our visits.
1 A safe bet for success, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Cm 5397, March 2002 and PN 22, 26 March 2002. Back
2 Gambling Review Report, Gambling Review Body, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Cm 5206, July 2001. Back
3 See the end of this volume Back
4 See Annex Back