HC Deb 14 January 1991 vol 183 c351W
Mr. Meale

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will order an investigation into whether the practices of large bookmaking companies include the rigging or fixing of odds on United Kingdom racecourses and tracks.

Mr. Redwood

The practice of "laying-off" of bets is not illegal under the gaming legislation. During its investigation of the Grand Metropolitan/William Hill merger in 1989, the Monopolies and Mergers Commission looked at the practice in this context. They found that there was little evidence that the bookmakers had acted other than defensively in laying-off bets, in order that the odds should reflect the weight of money placed off-course. It therefore concluded that the merger did not operate against the public interest. In the light of the Channel 4 programme "Dispatches" shown on 12 December, the Office of Fair Trading is considering whether any new issues are raised which warrant further action.

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