|UK bookmakers appear to be Lottery losers, as the government is expected to reject their demands to allow side betting on the National Lottery when new gaming legislation is unveiled this week.|
Tessa Jowell, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, hinted heavily that there would be no reform of the law where the Lottery was concerned. ”We shall not be gambling with the future of the National Lottery because the lottery is special and quite unlike other forms of gambling in two ways – most people play it and everyone benefits from it, whether or not they win a prize,’ she said.
UK bookmakers can legally take bets on what the winning numbers are on the Irish Lottery, but not on the domestic version.
A spokesman for leading UK bookmaker William Hill said it was peculiar that the only thing in Britain on which betting was prohibited was not, for example, on the assassination of the prime minister but the National Lottery.
The new legislation is the most far-reaching reform of UK gambling laws in40 years. Lastt year, the Budd report, a fundamental review of gambling policy and practice by the Independent Gambling Review Body, was published. At the time, Jowell said that UK gambling laws “…are badly in need of reform and updating.”
The Budd report recommended liberalization of existing UK gambling laws, including allowing betting on the National Lottery, allowing casinos to provide unlimited jackpots on slot machines, and allowing the use of credit cards for gambling purchases except for direct use in gaming machines.
It is expected that seaside resort towns such as Blackpool and Southend will receive a boost with casinos expecting to expand in such areas.