Betting and Gaming Duties

Ways and Means – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 29th November 1994.

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The Government also intend to modernise and deregulate betting and gaming. This process is, in my opinion, welcome and much overdue. The coverage of taxation must also keep up to date with the modern world. I therefore propose to widen the coverage of gaming machine licence duty to cover amusement machines such as arcade video games. It is anomalous that we should tax amusement machines with prizes, but not those without. I am sure that this measure will be welcomed by many parents, although perhaps not by all children.
Gaming machine licence duty has been increased only once since 1987. I propose to restore its real value to the 1987 level, but at the same time to allow payment by instalments. Those measures will raise about £60 million in a full year.
In 1991, my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Thames announced a reduction in pools betting duty of 2½ per cent. Since then, this has helped to fund the Foundation for Sport and the Arts. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for National Heritage and I have now reviewed the reduction. We have agreed that it should continue for a further five years, provided that the pools companies also continue to fund sport and the arts at their present level. [HoN. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Many of my hon. Friends appreciate, as I do, that the foundation continues to support a number of worthwhile projects to encourage participation in sport and the arts. I am delighted that the pools companies have generously reaffirmed their commitment.