The Horserace Betting and Olympic Lottery Bill deals with two important areas. The first part enables the government to sell the Horserace Totalisator Board (the Tote) to a Racing Trust and the abolition of the Horserace Betting Levy Board (the Levy Board), a government body that collects a levy from bookmakers to help fund horseracing.
Secretary of state for culture, media and sport, Tessa Jowell said: 'I'm pleased we've been able to introduce this important piece of legislation so early in the parliamentary session. Should we win the right to host the Olympics, the Bill paves the way to introduce an Olympic Lottery straight away. By making this possible we are showing our commitment to do everything possible to bring the Olympics to London in 2012.
'We hope that a dedicated Olympic Lottery could raise up to £750m to help fund the 2012 Games, which would bring benefits across the UK including regeneration and increased investment. It also has the potential, as part of a wider strategy for growth, to help re-invigorate the entire Lottery.'
Minister for sport Richard Caborn said: 'This Bill enables us to meet our manifesto commitment to sell the Tote to a Racing Trust in a way that is fair both to racing and the taxpayer.
'It also begins the process that would see the Levy Board replaced by commercial agreements between racing and the betting industry by September 2005. This will end the government's unnecessary involvement in funding horseracing while still safeguarding the work the Levy Board does to support veterinary research and horse breeding.'
1. The Horserace Betting and Olympic Lottery Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 2 December. It can be found here.