§ (1) Where a person while attending a meeting at which a sporting event is to be decided makes with a bookmaker so attending a bet on any sporting event of the same kind, the betting duty chargeable under Part II of the Finance Act, 1926, in respect of the bet shall be a sum equal to two per centum of the amount paid, or offered or promised to be paid, to or to the order or for the use of the bookmaker.
§ (2) In this Section the expression "sporting event" means any race, game, match, or any like event.—[Mr. Blundell.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.1582
§ Mr. BLUNDELL
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
Perhaps I can best explain the effect of this new Clause by way of illustration. In my constituency two of the main sporting events of the world take place—the Grand National and the Waterloo Cup. The Grand National is a race in which horses, accompanied, or sometimes unaccompanied, by jockeys, compete. The Waterloo Cup is a coursing meeting, in which two greyhounds compete with the hare.
If any hon. Member attends the Grand National and chances to have a bet with a bookmaker on the course, the benevolent Chancellor extorts only 2 per cent. of the amount of the stakes. If any hon. Member were to go to the Waterloo Cup and make a bet he would be mulcted in 3½ per cent. Racing has often been said to be the sport of kings, and while that may have been true in the past it is certainly not true now. It may be the sport of kings, but it is also the sport of the people. It is not right in these days that one sport of the people should receive a great advantage over all other sports. On behalf of all those who are interested in coursing I ask the right hon. Gentleman to accept the Clause, of which the effect would be to impose the same amount of duty on all bets made on a sporting event, whether on a racecourse or on a coursing match or at a place where they course electric hares or race whippets or compete in any other form on which bets can be made. The Clause does not raise any controversial issues. It does not raise the issue whether it is moral or immoral to make a bet or whether it is moral or immoral to tax something which may be moral or immoral. It invites the Government to make their procedure democratic and to impose the same fine upon those who take part in any form of sport on any occasion when they bet on the course or on the ground on which the sport takes place.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL
The object of this new Clause is to assimilate betting on such events as coursing and the like to the existing law with regard to bets on horse-racing and it provides in effect that the duty at the lower rate of 2 per cent. shall be chargeable in the 1583 case of bets made at a race-course where coursing is carried on in the same way as is already the law with regard to horse-racing. That is a matter that has been carefully considered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and I am informed by him that after considering with his advisers he thinks the proposal is reasonable, and therefore I propose to ask the Committee to accept it.
§ Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.