Press release

Don Foster leads Government review into abandoned betting accounts

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Millions lying dormant in betting accounts could be used to improve public sports facilities and clubs

John Penrose, Minister for Tourism and Heritage, has asked Don Foster MP to compile a report into abandoned betting accounts and other unclaimed winnings. The report will look at how much money is left abandoned in betting accounts and uncover the value of unclaimed winning tickets.

John Penrose said:

There is potential for some really good causes to benefit from this money - but we have to look at all the options first. That’s why I’ve asked Don Foster to lead this review and leave no stone unturned.

Every day thousands of people bet on the outcome of sporting events. Therefore it seems a natural fit that funds from abandoned betting accounts should be used to benefit grassroots sports projects.

Don Foster said:
> I’m delighted to be leading this project and look forward to completing it before the year is out. I’ll be meeting representatives from all parts of the industry to gain views and suggestions on how this can work.

It would be great to see some local sporting facilities and initiatives getting some extra funding in these difficult financial times.

If the rightful owners of these winnings cannot be located the cash could be put to good use, benefitting local communities through investing in sport.

Work will be done to determine how a betting account can be classed as “dormant” and clarify any legal ramifications surrounding the use of the money. The potential legal rights of any claimants will need to be an important consideration when looking at the scope of a proposal.  Customers will still be able to reclaim their money at any time if they are able to prove their right to it.

The review stems from a pledge in the Coalition Agreement to look into the best use of abandoned betting accounts. Mr Foster will present his findings, along with a possible proposal of new legislation, to John Penrose by the end of the year.

Mr Foster will be meeting interested parties throughout the autumn to gather views and information. Once the report has been considered a formal consultation process will follow.

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