Today during Prime Minister’s Questions I asked the Prime Minister to clarify his position on dormant betting accounts ahead of Chancellor George Osborne announcing his budget this afternoon.
This comes after the positive response from the Treasury on the issue of dormant betting accounts after I sent the Chancellor a letter calling for the UK Government to take action to ensure the proceeds of unclaimed winnings can be given to good causes.
A report for the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) in December 2010 recommended that the government consult with high street betting operators to establish a voluntary scheme or – failing that – to enact legislation that would require operators to give funds from dormant accounts and unclaimed winnings to good causes.
It’s time for action on problem gambling – an issue that blights too many communities and households across Scotland. I am pleased to learn from the Treasury that they will consider my ideas of using dormant accounts to help good causes and help those hit by the problem. The time for talking is over, it’s time to take the necessary action and the Budget would be an opportunity to settle it.
The DCMS report six years ago recommended that the UK Government consult with high street betting operators on how money from dormant betting accounts could be utilised for good causes. Yet, in 2016 we are still no further forward as the UK Government has failed to take action on this important issue.
Rather than bolstering profit margins this unclaimed money could instead be put to good use and help make a positive difference to people’s lives. The UK government must make good on its commitment and finally take the action necessary to ensure the funds from dormant betting accounts and unclaimed winnings are given to good causes.