New British minister introduces a novel idea
Punters who have left money lying untended in betting accounts for protracted periods may need to rediscover their funds before a new UK government initiative is implemented.
The recently elected Coalition government in the UK – and specifically the minister for Tourism and Heritage, John Penrose – is studying ways in which dormant betting accounts can be better used.
The minister has asked MP Don Foster, the Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, 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.
A statement from the government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport at http://www.culture.gov.uk/news/media_releases/7265.aspx notes that millions lying dormant in betting accounts could be used to improve public sports facilities and clubs
“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,” said Penrose.
“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.”
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. Foster will present his findings, along with a possible proposal of new legalization, to John Penrose by the end of the year.
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.