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10 Nov 2005 : Column 695W—continued

London Olympics

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether contracts to be granted in connection with the London Olympics 2012 will be subject to European Union rules in respect of public sector contracts. [17667]

Tessa Jowell: Procurement activities for the Olympic Games will take place within both a domestic and international legal framework, including European Procurement Directives. The Procurement Principles published by the interim Olympic Delivery Authority recognise the importance of maximising local benefits and the wider economic dividend, as well as bringing lasting economic, social and environmental benefits to London and the UK.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what changes have been made to the proposed budget for security for the 2012 Olympics since the London terrorist attacks. [25208]

Tessa Jowell: The security planning and budgeting for the 2012 Olympics have been robust and detailed. However, we cannot at this stage know exactly what the security situation will be in 2012. Over the next seven years we will keep the plans under review, informed by advice from the Metropolitan Police Service and the Security Services.

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many Olympic lottery tickets have been sold, broken down by region. [25486]

Tessa Jowell [holding answer 7 November 2005]: Camelot Group plc. have informed us that, as at the end of September 2005, some 10.2 million Olympic Lottery tickets had been sold. There is no breakdown available by region but the related scratchcards have been distributed to lottery retailers throughout the UK.
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Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what person specification she has set for the job of Chief Executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority; and whether applicants will be required either to have worked previously on delivering an Olympic Games or to have been a participant in the Olympic Games. [25490]

Tessa Jowell: As the job description makes clear, the successful applicant for the job of Chief Executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority will be respected for their track record of delivery. They will be credible, persuasive, energetic, self-motivated, highly innovative and inspirational. They will be highly focused on the delivery of the venues, facilities and infrastructure for staging the Olympics and on the creation of lasting legacy for the nation and the communities in which the Games will take place. They will exhibit a high degree of probity and integrity and will lead by example. They will not be required to have worked previously on the delivery of an Olympic Games or to have participated in them.

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions she has had on appointing a representative of the British Paralympic Association to the Olympic organising committee for 2012. [25654]

Tessa Jowell: Paralympic Sport is well represented on the organising committee for 2012 with Mike Brace, the Chairman of the British Paralympic Association and Tony Sainsbury, President of the International Paralympic Committee both having seats on the Transitional Board of LOCOG.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what improvements are planned to Romford's sports facilities as a result of London's successful Olympic bid. [25875]

Mr. Caborn: London's Olympic bid provided details of planned improvements that were necessary to stage the Olympics. This did not include possible improvements to other sporting facilities as part of a wider effort to maximise the benefits of hosting the games.

Hosting the Olympics provides an opportunity to create a sporting legacy across the UK and relevant authorities in a number of regions across the UK are considering whether to develop sporting facilities as part of their plans to maximise the benefits of the UK hosting the games.

By 2006, Government and the national lottery will have committed over £1 billion to develop new or refurbished public sports facilities. This represents a considerable investment in our facilities infrastructure.

Sports facilities programmes such as Active England, New Opportunities for PE and Sport, and the Community Club Development Programme have already supported the development of over 4,000 new or refurbished sports facilities.

Romford facilities that have benefited from such investment include the Central Park Leisure Centre, which officially opened to the public on 13 November 2004, which was part funded by a Sport England lottery grant of £4.244 million.
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Online Gambling

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what measures are being taken to ensure that children do not undertake online gambling. [25871]

Mr. Caborn: Under the current legislation British licensed operators are permitted to offer betting on-line. These operators are subject to the same regulation as bricks and mortar bookmakers, including the existing prohibitions and penalties relating to underage betting. A bookmaker in breach of these prohibitions is a risk of both losing his licence and prosecution. On-line casinos, however, cannot be based in Great Britain under existing legislation. As a result they currently operate off-shore and beyond British jurisdiction. This was one of the major reasons why the Government decided to introduce the Gambling Act 2005.

The protection of children from being harmed or exploited by gambling is one of the key objectives of the Gambling Act, and it contains a package of measures aimed at preventing children from gambling.

Most importantly the Act provides a new regulatory regime for on-line gambling. For the first time on-line casino operators will be able to be licensed in this country, and as such subject to strict licence conditions.

These conditions will include explicit provisions on social responsibility, including 'know your customer' requirements and the use, by on-line gambling operators, of age verification systems.

These conditions will be enforced by the new Gambling Commission, which came into existence in October this year, with robust powers to investigate and ultimately withdraw licences and prosecute those in breach of the law. The Gambling Commission will be proactive in this regard, and the Act allows the Commission or the police to use children to test the robustness of a gambling operator's age verification systems.

Under the Gambling Act it will be an offence for a licensed on-line operator to invite or permit a child or young person to participate in on-line gambling, including all casino gambling. Some very limited exceptions allow 16 to 18-year-olds to take part in on-line football pools or purchase a lottery ticket. It will also be an offence for anyone in the UK to bring gambling advertising to the attention of a person under the age of 18 years. Furthermore the Act will prevent any on-line operator based in a territory outside the European Economic Area from advertising in the UK, unless that territory has be specified by the Secretary of State in regulation. The Government believe that this will prevent UK citizens from being exposed to a large number of operators based in territories which do not offer the same protections to children and young people.

The Act also introduces several new provisions designed to prevent children and young people from gambling, including providing that a young person of 16–17 years old will him/herself commit an offence if he/she gambles. In addition, a licensed gambling operator who, for whatever reason, permits a person under the age of 18 to gamble will have to return the stake gambled to that child or young person. Operators, however, will
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have no rights to reclaim any winnings awarded. While we expect that the British licensed industry will readily maintain the very highest standards, we believe that this will act as a further incentive to operators to ensure that their age verification systems are robust.

The Gambling Act will be fully implemented in September 2007. In the meantime my Department is working closely with the international gambling industry to promote socially responsible practices now. The Remote Gambling Association, the trade association for remote gambling operators, will very shortly make compliance with their Social Responsibility Code of Practice a condition of membership. This Code includes specific conditions relating to age verification. The Gambling Commission will also active push for improvements in age verification systems and will work closely with software developers, gambling operators and the banking sector to do so. My Department is also looking at building on international links with regulators in other jurisdictions to work across borders to protect our citizens from exploitation from unscrupulous remote gambling operators.

The protection of children and young people from harm from gambling is a key priority for my Department. We remain dedicated to doing all we can under the existing legislation in preparation for the modern, more robust regime, the Gambling Act will introduce.

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