When U.K. secretary of state Jeremy Hunt stated that “We have no desire to keep the Tote as part of the public sector” in a Culture, Media and Sport Committee meeting in London last week, he may not have realized the whirlwind of speculation and debate he’d trigger. But he has.
“We would be disappointed if the ‘open market’ sale was burdened with any onerous preconditions which might reduce the sale value of the Tote.”
But all this bucking for position might be premature. As columnist Charlie Brooks at the Telegraph newspaper pointed out, “the Government doesn’t own the Tote” in any real sense “because the Act which enabled it to nationalise the Tote back in 2004 was never implemented and is now destined for the scrap heap.”
Though the government appoints a board of directors to the Tote, it plays no other active part in its business, neither funding nor receiving income from the betting site.