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Sky: Rivals' quiz shows "illegal lotteries"

Sky head of public affairs Martin Le Jeune yesterday told the All-Party Media Select Committee that other broadcasters quiz shows were a form of gambling and should be more heavily regulated.

The hearing was held as part of an inquiry to address concern about the way in which quiz channels operate.

Le Jeune said they did not give the public an equal chance of winning, or of getting a chance to answer a "skill" question.

Gambling Commission chairman Tom Kavanagh said it was looking into Sky's claims. If it decides such shows are lotteries, broadcasters will be forced to give 20% of proceeds to a charity.

During the meeting, Labour MP Paul Farrelly called such shows trash and "debased television standards."

Broadcasting minister Shaun Woodward said no immediate action would be taken until the parties had reported their findings. He said: "If it is a consequence of the ICSTIS report and the Gambling Commission's report that we need different regulation, we should look at that, and of course we will."

He added: "It is important to let these two different regulators do their work and to allow us to hold back on any instant, knee-jerk reactions to them, but to make equally clear to the broadcasters and programme makers alike that the level of scrutiny that is being applied now is very serious."

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