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.
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.
“There is potential for some really good causes to benefit from this money - but we have to look at all the options first,” Mr Penrose said. “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.”
The review stems from a pledge in the Coalition Agreement to look into the best use of abandoned betting accounts.
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. Customers will still be able to reclaim their money at any time, if they are able to prove their right to it.
“I’ll be meeting representatives from all parts of the industry to gain views and suggestions on how this can work,” said Mr Foster. “It would be great to see some local sporting facilities and initiatives getting some extra funding in these difficult financial times.”
Mr Foster will present his findings, along with a possible proposal of new legislation, by the end of the year. Once the report has been considered a formal consultation process will follow.