Labour Peer Wants Internet Gambling To Fund the Arts

In an article written for the Yorkshire Post Labour Peer and acclaimed film produced Sir David Puttnam said that revenues from internet gambling should be diverted to support the arts in the United Kingdom. Lord Puttnam said that the rapid growth of internet gambling was “worrying” and suggested that the government could use the growing funds for its own advantage. Lord Puttnam stated “We will need to find new ways to support the arts. As many of you will be aware, there is enormous growth in the gambling industry, particularly online gambling, perhaps even, to some extent, displacing money spent on our National Lottery.”

Lord Puttnam also said that the new point of consumption taxes on internet gambling could be used to supplement the government’s investments in arts, sport and culture. The nation’s art sector contributes £6 to the UK economy for every £1 of government subsidies. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport is facing a 30% cut in government funding. By 2014/2015, the department of Culture, Media and Sport will have its funding cut from £452 million to £350 million.

Lord Puttnam said his plan would have two benefits. British arts would benefit from the gambling money and the growth of internet gambling would be curbed. Puttnam stated “Many of the companies that operate in the online gambling space are based offshore, therefore making very little contribution to the overall long term prosperity of the country. By finding an effective way to use the proceeds of an enhanced tax on gambling to support arts and sport, we would be harnessing what may well prove to be a worrying rise in gambling activity, and allow it to become something which is of economic, social and cultural value to the nation as a whole.”

In 1976 Lord David Terrance Puttnam established Enigma Productions. The company went on to produce several award winning movies such as The Duellists, Chariots of Fire, Local Hero, The Killing Fields and The Mission. In 1997 Puttnam was named a life Peer. Putnam has also served as chancellor of the University of Sunderland between 1997 and 2007 and was elected president of UNICEF in 2002. The internet gambling industry is one of the few bright spots in the sluggish British economy and arts organizations throughout the country desperately need the money.

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