Gambling Review

Oral Answers to Questions — Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 5th November 2001.

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Photo of John Barrett John Barrett Liberal Democrat, Edinburgh West 2:30 pm, 5th November 2001

What assessment the Government have made of recommendation 70 of the report of the gambling review body on not-for-profit clubs.

Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport and Tourism), Department for Culture, Media & Sport

We have received more than 1,500 representations about the recommendation that jackpot gaming machines should not be allowed in such clubs. We have not yet reached conclusions on this or the other recommendations in the report. However, we shall consider very sympathetically the strong points made to us that recommendation 70 would have a damaging impact on many clubs and the communities they serve.

Photo of John Barrett John Barrett Liberal Democrat, Edinburgh West

Does the Minister agree that the way to tackle the concerns about children having access to gaming machines is not in the way proposed, because a number of clubs have membership that is exclusively for the over-18s or can make other provisions?

Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport and Tourism), Department for Culture, Media & Sport

We have to be very careful about such judgments. As I said, I have received more than 1,500 representations from Conservative, Liberal and Labour clubs, as well as from the CIU, Miners Welfare and the Royal British Legion. Many of them cater for families, which we must acknowledge and welcome, however, we must ensure that we take the Budd report's concerns on board and also ensure that children do not have access to jackpot machines. If the Government are clear about that central question, the report's major concern will be answered. Although we have not made a decision, we are mindful that almost £250 million goes into the clubs' financial infrastructure, and to withdraw that would have serious repercussions across many communities the length and breadth of the United Kingdom.