John Penrose (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport; Weston-Super-Mare, Conservative)
That is a fair point, although it has a practical limit. It is perfectly reasonable for the gambling industry to be a force for good and to expect it to want to ensure that the money that it is donating is spent in an appropriate way. Other stakeholders will, none the less, want to be convinced that the gambling industry would not—I am sure that it would not, but this is the fear—give money and then direct the research into areas that were comfortable for the gambling industry, but not necessarily in the best interests of the wider issue of problem gambling. The gambling industry needs to push forward an agenda of value for money and the effective use of the cash that it is donating, but the gambling industry will need other stakeholders to create the right level of credibility in deciding where the money goes in the same way that the Government currently give money for academic research, but research funding councils decide which research projects are selected. That is correct, because otherwise there would always be the fear that the Government were funding academic research, in any area, into pet projects—politically convenient projects—rather than the ones that were academically pure. The same argument applies here.