HC Deb 08 December 1999 vol 340 c534W
Mr. Ernie Ross

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he last reviewed the working of legislation on gaming; what plans he has for further reviews; and if he will make a statement. [101427]

Mr. Straw

Much of the law on gambling is more than 30 years old. Social attitudes have changed markedly in these three decades and the law is fast being overtaken by technological developments.

The Gaming Board for Great Britain and the Deregulation Committees of the House of Commons and the House of Lords have recommended reform.

There is therefore a good case for a wide-ranging review to design a new structure of regulation for the gambling industry and to test public perception.

This will not be a simple task. The main controls are laid down in three major Acts of Parliament—the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act 1963, the Gaming Act 1968 and the Lotteries and Amusement Act 1976, together with associated secondary legislation. Reform will raise important issues. The social and economic impact of any change will have to be carefully assessed.

I intend to set up an independent review body next year, bringing together a wide range of relevant expertise. It will be asked to report to me within 12 months on proposals for reform.

The Government will not be asking the review body to consider changes to the National Lottery, although the review will clearly need to address the impact on the Lottery of changes proposed for the regulation of gambling generally.

We will announce the full terms of reference shortly.