Fixed Odds Betting Terminals: Maximum Stake

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons on 13th December 2018.

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Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East

When and how his Department identified that the date of the decision by the House on the statutory instrument to reduce the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals will affect the amount that GVC Holdings plc has to pay to former Ladbrokes shareholders.

Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

We are taking decisive action to ensure that we have a responsible gambling industry that continues to contribute to economic growth while protecting the most vulnerable in our society from gambling-related harm. Such commercial arrangements are a matter for the industry and were not a factor when the Government determined their policy to reduce the stakes on B2 machines.

Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer and congratulate her on her well-deserved promotion. When the offshore gambling company GVC bought Ladbrokes for £3.9 billion, £700 million was contingent on the date on which statutory instruments were submitted by the Government on reducing the odds on fixed odds betting terminals. Does she think that the shareholders of Ladbrokes, including UK pension companies and employees, should get that £700 million, or should the offshore gambling company GVC pocket it and use it for irresponsible gambling adverts?

Photo of Mims Davies Mims Davies Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

I thank my hon. Friend for making an important point about being responsible in this industry. We have been very clear that we were going to be acting in this space. As the Secretary of State said during an urgent question on 1 November, when determining policy in this area, it would not be

“proper for Government to take account of such commercial arrangements”.—[Official Report, 1 November 2018;
Vol. 648, c. 1064.]