§ MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether his attention has been drawn to the great increase during the past few years in the practice of gambling by means of lotteries, varying in amount from many thousands of pounds to a few shillings, which are promoted for quasicharitable as well as for openly speculative purposes, by Political Associations of all shades of Party; by Religious Bodies, Catholic as well as Protestant; by newspaper proprietors, incorporated and individual; by small tradesmen, and by private individuals; and, whether it is true that the various Governments have rarely enforced the Lottery Law except against petty offenders?
§ THE FIRST LORD (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Westminster)
I am not award that there has been within the past few years a great increase in the practice of gambling by means of lotteries. Lotteries vary much in their character. Many of them are promoted for really charitable purposes, and hardly 884 serve as an encouragement to gambling. It belongs to the Local Authorities rather than to the Government to institute prosecutions in cases which fall within the mischief aimed at by the Lottery Acts. Successive Governments have called the attention of the Local Authorities to offences against these Acts, and in grave cases have taken action themselves.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been drawn to the periodical lottery announced by advertisement in The Blackburn Weekly Express and The Blackburn Evening Express as a "Weekly Competition for £10 in money;" and, whether he will take any action in the matter? The hon. Gentleman also asked whether the right hon. Gentleman is aware that the prosecution of the Church lottery promoters took place on Thursday; whether it was shown that 300,000 tickets had been sold in that case; and, whether a fine of 5s. has been inflicted by local Conservative magistrates?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E.)
I am not aware of the facts now mentioned by the hon. Gentleman. In regard to the Question on the Paper, my attention has been called to this advertisement. I have communicated with the Local Authorities on the subject; and I have received a Report from the Chief Constable of the borough, who informs me that, after careful consideration of this weekly competition, he came to the conclusion that there was no element of chance in the way the distribution of money was conducted, so that the competition did not fall within the Lottery Acts. I understand also that the distribution has been postponed for the present.
§ MR. CONYBEARE (Cornwall, Camborne)
asked Mr. Attorney General, Whether he has taken any action, by warning or otherwise, to deter the publisher and proprietor of The Southwark Standard and South London News from continuing to infringe the law which prohibits the publication and advertising of foreign lotteries in this country; and, whether he is aware that since his attention was drawn to this subject on the 18th of May last, the said newspaper has continued to advertise 885 such lotteries, and, in particular, published, on the 19th and 26th of May, a paragraph headed "An interesting advertisement," directing special attention to such lottery, andRecommending our readers to take particular notice of the insertion, and try the chances of winning a fortune.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir RICHARD WEBSTER) (Isle of Wight)
, in reply, said, that he had communicated with the proper authorities with reference to this subject. He did not think that it would be advantageous to the Public Service to make any further statement at present.