Weston MP says new gambling bill odds on favourite to become law

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By Prue_Reid | Tuesday, December 04, 2012, 16:18

Weston-super-Mare MP John Penrose has welcomed news that the Offshore Gambling Bill has received a date for its second parliamentary reading.

Mr Penrose said: "Our current laws were invented before the internet revolutionised gambling, so online sites offering bingo, poker or other games of chance don't have to meet the same standards which a British seaside amusement arcade or high street bookie already complies with. 

"Operating offshore avoids UK consumer protections laws and that's not safe for punters nor is it fair on the British firms which  want to compete on a level playing field either."

The former gambling minister first announced the move in a House of Commons statement in July 2011.

The bill is now firmly on the path to becoming law and will be heard again on Friday, January 25.

Mr Penrose added: "This is good news for British punters and the UK gambling industry. 

"It will mean any gambling firm anywhere in the world will have to get a licence from the Gambling Commission if they want to do business with British punters. 

"It's safer, fairer and creates a gambling regime fit for the 21st century."

 The draft bill will now go for pre-legislative scrutiny by the DCMS Select Committee. 

The private members bill was introduced by Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock whose constituency includes Newmarket.

According to Mr Hancock all but one of Britain's 20 largest bookmakers currently operate their online businesses from offshore avoiding up to £300 million per year in tax. 

An online-betting .me.uk commentator said: "That figure makes Jimmy Carr's taxation faux pas look completely insignificant and would even give Gary Barlow's obligations a run for its money.

"Tax, and the avoidance of, is a hot topic at present and HM revenue and customs is under immense pressure to claw back every penny."



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