§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Major GLYN
I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."
This Bill seeks to amend the Betting Act of 1853 and to make certain alterations in the law as regards gaming. Before I proceed any further, will hon. Members allow me to offer an apology to all hon. Members in this House for having been the unwitting cause of increasing enormously their daily post? I am in the position, as introducing this Bill, of having been left out by a good many of the opponents of the Bill and thereby have not suffered in the same way, but all I would say is that, in my view, the Bill is a very simple one by which it is hoped to remove certain anomalies which exist in regard to betting on racecourses while racing is in progress, and only on those racecourses where the rules of the Jockey Club and the National Hunt Committee prevail. It is proposed to set up on racecourses a machine called the totalisator, or pari mutuel, and we believe that by those machines, which are nothing more nor less than mechanical bookmakers or robots, it will be possible to improve the conditions generally for everybody who is interested in horse racing. Progress, after all, is taking place in all industries, and I think we must recognise that the racing industry is no exception, and if in other industries machinery has been inaugurated and has taken the place to some extent of the human being, why should it not be equally right and proper for machines to be used in connection with the great industry of horse racing?
For various reasons, the general position of horse racing in this country has caused a, considerable amount of concern to the Jockey Club and to the National Hunt Committee. Those two bodies have for many years been looked up to without, I think, any single exception as two bodies which have carried out an extremely difficult task in an extraordinarily efficient manner. I have never heard yet even those bookmakers who appear to be rather distressed about this Bill make any accusation against either 2276 the Jockey Club or the National Hunt Committee. We know that their judgments are listened to at once by all owners and trainers, and we believe that there are no bodies in the country which, from the point of view of people interested in racing, are held in such high esteem or could be held in higher esteem. Hon. Members know that there are great sections of the public in this country who, I am afraid, pay more attention to what Steve Donoghue says than even to what the Prime Minister may say on certain occasions. Surely the public who go racing are a very intelligent public, and I think they would recognise that if the National Hunt Committee and the Jockey Club make recommendations, those recommendations are probably for the benefit of racing rather than the views of persons who have got no such responsibility. A Committee was set up, and my hon. Friend, who will second this Motion asking the House to give a Second Reading to this Bill, was a member of the Committee, as he was a Member of the Committee appointed by the House of Commons some little time ago to go into the whole question of a betting tax and so on. The Committee's Terms of Reference were:To inquire into the means by which betting may best be made to contribute to the maintenance of sport.The conclusions reached by the Committee were unanimous, and they were reported as follows:By obtaining such alteration in the law as would permit, first, of the totalisator, or pari mutuel, being installed on racecourses under the Rules of the Jockey Club or National Hunt Committee; and, secondly, of bookmakers on such racecourses …. being charged fees on a graduated scale by the above-mentioned racing authorities.Hon. Members will recognise that after such recommendations it was necessary to come to Parliament for powers, and, therefore, we believe that this Bill, which is, after all, quite a short Bill, will carry out those proposals in so far as they come within the province of Parliament. Not being a learned Member of this House, I can only speak as a layman on legal matters, but it is absolutely essential that we should, I think, for a moment or two consider what is the position of the law towards betting. As I said at the beginning, the main object of this Bill is to do something 2277 to amend the law of 1853. The points as I am advised, are these: Betting is not in itself illegal. Parliament, however, has passed various Acts which make it illegal under certain conditions. For instance, betting is not illegal on a racecourse, either for cash or on credit, unless it be carried on in such a way as to involve the creation of a house, office, room or other "place" within the meaning of the Gaming Act, 1853. Test actions have been fought, and the Kempton Racecourse judgment is well-known in the annals of the law.
More recently there has been the White City case in connection with the new sport of greyhound racing after mechanical contrivances. There the decision was, that if a bookmaker had a post in the ground on which he could hang his satchel and bag, he was acting in an illegal manner, but if he had a post, on which he could hang his satchel and bag, that was, not driven into the ground, he was acting in a legal way. That does seem to me, with all respect to the law, rather quibbling. I would ask hon. Members, in considering this Bill, to recognise that we must consider facts as they are, and not behave in the somewhat ostrich-like way which some of our predecessors have done in pre-War days. Hon. Members will, perhaps, permit me to quote the words in which the Betting Act of 1853 was introduced into this honourable House by the then learned Attorney-General. It is to be found in Hansard, 11th July, 1853, Col. 87, Vol. 129:The Attorney-General begged leave to move to bring in a Bill for the suppression of betting houses, and in doing so he considered it was not necessary for him to make any lengthy speech on the subject, as the evils which had arisen from the introduction of these establishments were perfectly notorious. The difficulty—I would especially draw the attention of the House to this sentence:The difficulty, however, which arose in legislating upon this subject was to be found in the disinclination which was felt against interfering with that description of betting which had so long existed at Tattersall's and elsewhere in connection with the great national sport of horseracing. But these establishments assumed a totally different aspect—a new form of betting was introduced which had been productive of great evils. The course was now to open a house, and for the owner to hold himself forth as ready to bet with all comers, contrary to the usage which 2278 had prevailed as such places as Tattersall's, where individuals betted with each other, but no one then kept a gaming table, or, in other words, held a bag against all comers. The object of this Bill, therefore, was to suppress these houses, without interfering with that legitimate species of betting to which we had referred.When the Attorney-General introduced the Bill and used those words in 1853, this House agreed with him to this extent, that it passed the Bill without a division, and I think the admitted evil of these betting houses was crying out for reform, but it was not intended that the provisions of that Act should be extended to racecourses. What happened next? The actual terms of the Act which was then passed are, curiously enough, the terms on which starting-price bookmakers carry on their business to-day. The Act of 1853 was an Act "for the suppression of betting houses" People had acquired the habit or resorting to these offices and the hangers-on and idlers who collected around the premises in order to be runners at that day became a public nuisance to the neighbourhood, and, naturally, the peace-loving, quiet citizens in neighbouring streets demanded from their representatives in Parliament that these houses should be suppressed. Therefore, the Betting Act of 1853 was passed, and it became illegal to keep any house, office, room or place for the purpose of betting with persons resorting thereto, or receiving deposits on bets, and all such offices were declared to be common nuisances and also common gaming-houses. It is clear from this, that to keep a betting office is not contrary to the law, so long as those making bets do not resort at the betting office for the purpose of making their bets; or, secondly no deposit is made at the betting office to await the event on which the bet is to be decided. In other words, it is on these lines that all starting prices of bookmaking offices are now operated. Bets must be made by telephone, telegram or letter, and the backer must be allowed credit. If we consider the dates, there is one point which is interesting. In 1853, when Parliament passed that legislation, the telephone was non-existent. The telegraph, I imagine, was in its infancy, and the penny-post, at any rate, had not been started, if that be a fact, surely it is high time to consider whether Parliament 2279 really did intend that this sort of business should go on, because it does seem to me, if I may sum it up in very few words, the most extraordinary thing —I speak with all diffidence in the presence of so many learned hon. Gentlemen, who, I notice, are making notes, and I hope I may be corrected if I am wrong—but it does seem to me that in no other country in the world are the betting laws in such a fantastic, ridiculous position, because, if the Betting Act, 1853, and the Street Betting Act, 1906, are taken together, there is this ridiculous, anomalous position, that the bookmaker may carry on business and bet for cash or on credit with anybody on a racecourse, provided he does not appropriate or monopolise any definite portion of it so as to constitute a "place or office." At the same time, a bookmaker may conduct his business in an office or a place anywhere on credit, as long as his clients only communicate with him by letter, telephone or telegram, and do not resort to the office in contravention of the Betting Act, 1853.
If that be the situation, it is surely necessary to ask whether all the points that have been showered upon Members of Parliament are altogether disinterested. I believe, and I have said so frequently, that it would have been far better if the Government had gone into this matter, and had had a general review of the betting laws of this country. After careful inquiry, lasting over several weeks, the two recognised authorities on racing ask Parliament to help them to do something to make a little order out of chaos, and to introduce a little control into a situation which is out of control. The Street Betting Act of 1906, Section 2, deliberately excluded race courses from its provisions, but it did nothing to give anybody any control over the business or betting on those courses. The Jockey Club and the National Hunt Committee ask that Parliament should be good enough to give a Second Reading to the Bill so that the details of these things can be thrashed out in Committee.
The Bill will enable that control to be exercised, both by means of the machine, and by the fact that, after the Bill is passed, there will be places allotted to bookmakers, who will continue to operate 2280 and to function as they do to-day, but under far more satisfactory conditions. On a cold or wet day at a race meeting it is not a very happy sight to see an unfortunate bookmaker and his clerk shivering in the cold, with the -rain dripping down their necks. It ought to be possible to provide them with some shelter from the weather, for which, of course, they would pay a licence. I am told that if you can exercise that control over the bookmaking profession, you would assist the honest decent bookmakers, of whom there are a great many, who pay their way and are an assistance to the people, and who are suffering to-day from the dishonest bookmaker. Do you suppose that an honest man can compete with a man who welshes with your money? If you do something to stop the welsher and the bogus bookmaker, you will do something to encourage the honest bookmaker to carry on his business in an honest way. The majority of bookmakers would be very glad indeed to see this Bill passed, in order that they should have these additional comforts and that additional protection. Hon Members. I know, may feel that in some of these matters an alteration was effected when the Chancellor of the Exchequer introduced the Betting Duty.
§ Major GLYN
I have never been enthusiastically in favour of the Betting Duty, and in my constituency, which is largely interested in racing, I was informed, rightly or wrongly, that the imposition of the Duty was having a detrimental effect on attendances. Therefore, I asked those of my friends who could, to consult with me as to what possible steps could be taken to get over that difficulty. I was prepared to go to the people whose business it is to train the race-horse. We think a great deal about the bookmaker, but let us think occasionally about the race-horse, for, after all, the horse is the predominant partner in horse-racing. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about the jockey?"] The horse is almost more important that the jockey. The Betting Duty is now in force. There is nothing worse than a law which is being evaded. Laws which are not carried out have a demoralising effect and 2281 should not be continued. With the mechanical bookmaker, there is no question that the Government will be able to levy the duty. I believe, further, that if this duty is to be retained, and if the House agree to this Bill, it will be possible, in his own good time and with his own good sense, for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to take into account the changed situation that will arise by the introduction of the machine, and by the fact that you will in future be able to deal with honest bookmakers and, to a great extent, get rid of those rather discordant elements that do nothing but discredit to a great national sport. If that be accomplished, it should be possible for the duty to be collected with greater success than it is to-day.
The totalisator cannot defraud the public or the Government; it does not bellow at you and yell at you if you do not patronise it. It stands there silent, and it might even be an attractive sight to see the ticker going round, and the total amount that is in the pool indicated, but there is no compulsion for people to use the machine. Is it not really better that horse-racing should have some benefit from this great stream of cash which goes pouring through the racecourses? The evidence brought before the Betting Committee shows that £200,000,000 annually goes through the racecourses of this country. I am not saying that it is right or wrong, but it is a fact, and this proposal is that we should cut a, further channel, and divert some of the flow of that great stream of money, so that it may pass through a machine, which can also be utilised by the Chancellor of the Exchequer as a big and useful dam. I do not want to give the House the impression that, by the establishment of this machine, a miracle is to be worked, and that extra money is going to pour through the machine to the great benefit of the Exchequer. It would be impertinent and ridiculous for anybody to suggest, whether this machine be adopted or not, that it will make very much difference to the Exchequer. I trust, however, that it will help the Chancellor to have his Duty collected with regularity and accuracy, which is a desirable thing in taxation.
Betting and gambling are undoubtedly evils in the State, but I do not believe that any hon. Member or right hon. Mem 2282 ber opposite will deny that far more crime comes from credit betting than from cash betting. When you read the Police Court reports, you see that people embezzle or steal in order to find the money to meet their liabilities as the result of betting. That means that they are gambling on credit. I do not hear of many men deliberately setting out to embezzle or steal for the purpose of getting the cash with which to bet. A man is much more likely to go on plunging and plunging, and hoping for a good thing, so that he can get home right on the day, but how many hon. Members, coming back from a race meeting in a third-class railway carriage, have not heard somebody say, "I got home all right in the last race." The relief with which they declared their luck in the last race shows the extent of their anxiety in the third and fourth races. Therefore, I do not believe that hon. Members opposite, whatever their opinions may be about betting, can seriously contend that machines which will only take cash or its equivalent are going to make betting worse. They must surely make it better —if one allows that a bad thing can ever be made better. I, being an optimist, believe that is always possible—that a bad thing can always be made better, and we believe this can be made better by this Bill.
Should this Bill obtain a Second Reading and go to Committee, it will be necessary to make certain amendments regarding the Vagrancy Act. I thought we, had got through all our difficulties with the passing of the Street Betting Act, but gentlemen outside this House learned in the law have remembered that there are the Vagrancy Acts of 1868 and 1873, and without amendments we should have this absurd position, should the totalisator be established: it would be possible for everybody operating the machine or using the machine to be run-in as rogues and vagabonds. [HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear !"] Hon. Gentlemen opposite cheer that observation, but I am certain they do not mean to say that everybody who would use the totalisator could be legitimately accused of being a vagabond. The people we are trying to get rid of, those who "welsh" and who rum away, cheating the public of tens of thousands of pounds—they if you like, may come under the Vagrancy 2283 Act; but surely hon. Members do not say that people using a machine which cannot run away, which is going to be linked up, I trust, with a Government Department and be under proper inspection and will bring in a great deal of money to the state, ought not to be accused of being rogues and vagabonds. I have to announce this necessity for amendment, because after Second Reading, that is what will have to be done.
Apparently, there is some doubt as to the position of bookmakers once this Bill is passed. I notice that its opponents are divided into two camps. There are the Gentlemen who believe the Bill is bad because it will encourage betting, and there are "bookies" who believe that the Bill is bad because it will diminish betting. They more or less cancel each other out. But there is also this third point of view. Surely we must recognise—certainly hon. Members who sit for Doncaster and other places in Yorkshire must recognise—that the Englishman does love racing for its own sake. Why should it be that in this country, alone of all the great countries and all the great Dominions, we should deliberately do all we can to make racing as difficult and as unpleasant as possible? If you have some lady friend who is visiting this country in the summer and you want to show her racing, you do not know how she is going to be treated. You know she is going to be hustled at the turnstiles and bellowed at by a great many raucous-voiced gentlemen who want her to bet, whereas in Australia, in Africa, in India and every other great Dominion she is accustomed to go into a place where there are the same comforts as one gets at a lawn tennis tournament, and why should we not have them at a race meeting? Why should we not lay out our race courses so that we can have comfort, without betting being thrust under the noses of everybody who goes there in order to have a happy day in the country and watch the magnificent animals racing upon the course?
Is any hon. Member going to tell me that the Englishman has ceased to love horse-racing? I think anybody who does assert that is out of touch with the majority of his constituents. If, on the other hand, it is recognised that racing is a great national industry and a great national sport, then surely powers ought 2284 to be given to the proper authority to act as they think best in order that greater comforts may be given to those persons who go racing, and that better stakes may be offered at small meetings to owners who run their horses there. At the present moment a small owner running at a small meeting is offered such a small stake as a prize that if he is going to recover his outlay at all he has got to back his horse. He has to get money somehow or other. Owing to the smallness of the stake the trainer, the stable-boy, everybody, in fact, is compelled to back that horse. That is deliberately encouraging betting. Give racing authorities the power to increase the stakes, and you diminish the necessity for the owner backing his horse, and you are cleaning up the turf. If we deny them this power, I know of no reason for supposing that racing will not suffer, and suffer seriously, in the forthcoming months. I have about 30 trainers in my constituency, and they have told me that they look to the future with the greatest apprehension. Is it really to be said that it is preferable to force a man to bet on his own horse than to offer him such a prize as will make it worth his while to run at a small meeting without betting? Of course it is not. Finally, there has been some talk about the creation of a monopoly and of a vested interest.
§ Major GLYN
My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) hates vested interests as a rule. He is not usually found on the side of vested interests, and I trust that not many people on this side of the House are going to stand up for bad vested interests, but what is the vested interest which is making all the fuss to-day? It is the vested interest of the bookmakers. Of course it is. Everybody knows that. How is it we have got to that position? Because Members of Parliament in the past—I do not for a moment suggest it of this Parliament—have been rather hypocritical and have refused to look facts in the face. As a result, every sort of subterfuge has been resorted to, and we now have not Parliament-made law, but Judge-made law. The position of affairs to-day is the result of proceedings in this House, and does not represent the 2285 intentions of this House, as, I think, is, quite obvious from the quotations I made from the Act of 1853 when it was introduced by the Attorney-General.
In conclusion, may I say that I do not stand here in a white sheet, in a humbugging way, pretending that legislation of this sort is going to do everything that everybody wants? Of course it is not, but what I am convinced it is going to do is this, it is going to enable better control to be exercised where control ought to be exercised. It is going to do something towards cleaning up the turf. There used to be an old saying that all men are equal on and under the turf. That is a perfectly good adage, but it has not been literally true. We are not equal on and under the turf to-day, because the poor man is hunted and harried and pushed about if he tries to make a bet in the street, whereas the rich man, who has a banking account, has opportunities to bet on credit with starting price bookmakers in the big centres such as the poor man has not got. By the establishment of the totalisator your millionaire and your poor man out for a day's fun will back their fancy with the machine, and the machine, being inhuman, recognises nothing but cash and treats all men, rich and poor, alike, and pays out accordingly.
§ Lieut-Commander KENWORTHY
Seeing that the hon. and Gallant Gentleman has referred to me in this matter, may I ask how this Bill is going to help the poor man who cannot afford to go racing at all, and, therefore will not be able to get to this machine?
§ Major GLYN
I did not mean any insinuation in regard to my hon. and Gallant Friend, and I merely referred to the question of the breaking down of a vested interest. I believe that by the establishment of the totalisator it will be found that betting by persons in the streets will be diminished. We propose to reduce the entry costs of persons going to race meetings by the fund that will be created through the introduction of this machine. The hon. and Gallant Member for Central Hull will agree with me when I say that it is much better if you are going to bet that you should go and see the event you are interested in than merely get to know what you want by purchasing a newspaper. In one case, 2286 you often have to sit in a stuffy room, while in the other you get out into the country air. The introduction of this machine will enable poor people to have a day out in the country with their wives and families under proper conditions, and I think that is a very desirable thing. Hon. Gentlemen opposite know that many of their constituents go to race meetings, and, no matter what laws are passed, you will never suppress betting by legislation, although you may be able to do something by law to control it. Putting aside prejudice, and believing in the single-minded purpose of those two great racing authorities, the Jockey Club and the National Hunt Committee, I hope the House will give a Second Reading to this Bill. In Committee, no doubt, Amendments will be moved by the Government and by others, but my belief is that the Bill can be hammered out into a practical Measure which will do something to improve the situation as far as betting is concerned.
§ Sir ROBERT THOMAS
On a point of Order. I did not want to interrupt the last speaker, but the hon. and gallant Gentleman made a statement more than once which is liable to reflect on a gallant nation.
§ Sir BERKELEY SHEFFIELD
I beg to second the Motion.
My hon. nod gallant Friend the Member for Abingdon (Major Glyn), who moved the Second Reading of this Bill, has done so from the point of view of the general public. May I speak from the point of view of an owner of horses, and also as one who has sat on all the Committees that have studied this question for the last two or three years. The origin of the present Bill can be traced to the Select Committee which was set up in 1923 under the chairmanship of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for East Grinstead (Sir H. Cautley), and as a result of the findings of that Committee, the Chancellor of the Exchequer initiated the Betting Duty. It is generally agreed that that duty has not proved as lucrative as the right hon. Gentleman hoped for or expected, and to those connected with horse-racing it has proved a source of great anxiety, irritation, and annoyance. I agree that 2287 the whole of the decrease in the revenues of various racecourses cannot be ascribed entirely to the Betting Duty. Other factors have to be taken into consideration, such as bad weather and the lessening of the spending power of the nation. The fact remains that the Betting Duty has diminished those receipts. In order to lessen as far as possible the evils which that duty was thought to have caused, the Jockey Club and the National Hunt Committee set up another Committee, of which I was a member, to go into the whole question, and we came to the unanimous decision that to mitigate the situation and to regularise bookmaking on the course Parliament should be asked to pass this Bill.
The opposition to the provisions of this Measure come from two sources. In the first place, from the bookmakers; and, secondly, from those who believe that betting is such an evil thing that it should never be recognised in any official way, and that it should never be legislated for but always legislated against. I cannot quite understand the opposition of the bookmakers, because, if this Bill passes, their position will be regularised. The percentage for the cost of the machine will be deducted, the person who bets will receive better odds than the bookmaker is able to lay and the bookmaker will retain his old clients and their bets. The total deduction for expenses will probably be about 8 per cent., and the amount of that deduction will be used entirely for certain specific objects such as the payment of the Government duty, the improvement of racing tracks, the lessening of entrance fees and for charity. If the bookmaker finds that the totalisator gives better odds than he is able to give, then it is quite right that the public should have the benefit of that competition. All the evidence produced before the Committee which has investigated this question shows that the two systems have been working very well side by side, and that the bookmaker and the totalisator are working together in perfect harmony.
I am aware that those who are opposed to betting think that this Measure will increase betting as a whole, but there, again, I cannot agree with their reasoning, because the totalisator is not going to be moved about in a car from street to street, and we shall not see 2288 it established at street corners, in post offices, or in our railway stations. Those who are in the habit of betting, either legally or illegally in one place or another, will not be affected by this Bill. As my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Abingdon has just explained, the totalisator will not seek patronage from any particular section of the community. On the other hand, horse owners, trainers, and race-course owners are all in favour of this Measure, and they would like to see it established. I go still further and say that a vast majority of the public would like to see this Bill passed. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Every trainer at Newmarket has signed a petition in favour of the totalisator. I will go still further, and say that those who have seen the totalisator at work in the Dominions and in the Colonies have nothing but a good word to say for it.
May I now tell hon. Members some of the benefits that will be derived from the totalisator? A great deal of noise and discomfort, which my hon. and gallant Friend also mentioned, will be done away with, and a vast amount of the undesirable element will disappear. No longer shall we see welshers being chivvied and chased and, above all, the public will have this facility, that, when they are lucky enough to hold a winning ticket and go to receive their winnings, they will know that they represent an actual true value. They will do that with increased comfort and better accommodation. Owners, too, will benefit by the higher stakes and the lessened expenses; and the backbone of horse-racing, as he was so aptly termed by Lord Derby the other day, that is to say, the small owner, will benefit side by side with the large owner. I, personally hope and trust that, by lessening these expenses, we shall see vastly more of the small owner upon our racecourses.
The totalisator will not be run for the benefit of any single individual. shareholder, or company, but will be run entirely for the benefit of horse-racing and horse-breeding, for the improvement of accommodation for the public, and for charity. The great thing, too, that we have all to remember is that, if the totalisator brings prosperity to horse-racing, it not only does that, but brings prosperity, or helps to bring prosperity, 2289 to an enormous amount of subsidiary interests. Take, for instance, agriculture in the first place. Corn is required for horses, hay is required for horses, straw is required for horses, and so on. It will also bring great benefit to local authorities, to hotel-keepers, to caterers, to stablemen, and a vast number of individuals in every walk of like. We recognise that every innovation brings difficulties with it, but we are prepared to face those difficulties. After all, mountains are not made to be looked at; they are there for us to cross or get through. The Jockey Club and the National Hunt Committee, realising that they are the custodians and trustees of one of our oldest British sports, are determined that at the same time it shall be one of the cleanest. It is for these reasons that I commend the Measure to the favourable consideration of the House.
§ 12.0 n.
§ Mr. KELLY
I beg to move, to leave out the word "now," and, at the end of the Question, to add the words "upon this day six months."
I had hoped that the Mover, when putting his case to the House, would have given us some reason, some justification, for the acceptance of this Measure by the House, but, while listening to him, I wondered what, he really had at the back of his mind, because I can hardly imagine that the hon. and gallant Member, who is usually a close thinker and a close reasoner, has told us all that he had in his mind with regard to this Measure. He stated that the desire was to assist racing in order that it might be made clean as a sport. He reminded us that the horse was more important than the jockey. I do not quite know what he meant by that, and whether it is that he asks us to believe that this Measure is going to be for the improvement of the breeding of horses in this country. I cannot find in the Measure any of the things that he stated. He spoke of street betting as being such an evil, yet he did not tell us that this Bill which he has placed before the House is one which deals with horseracing only—which deals only with the racecourse and the land adjacent to the racecourse. I think he might have told us that this Bill is a Bill for the encouragement and extension of betting.
2290 It was put to us this morning that the totalisator was not going to injure the bookmaker, that the bookmaker was going to work alongside it. Let me here say, in passing, that, while I have many friends in the country, yet, when I placed this Amendment on the Paper, I was not fortunate enough to have amongst, my acquaintances even one bookmaker; so that whatever I have to say is not being said in the interests of the bookmaker. I would ask the hon. and gallant Member how the totalisator is going to be without injury to the bookmaker, for whom he expresses such a regard, and at the same time, is going to enable such a vast volume of money to pass through the machine, without increasing betting in this country. You cannot have it both ways; and I think that reference might have been left out, at this time, to the anxiety that the racecourse owners have, or that the Jockey Club and the National Hunt Committee have, for the comfort of those who attend race meetings. My main point against the Bill is one that I have expressed—
§ Mr. KELLY
I think that that question, coming from the hon. and learned Gentleman, is one that has been answered to him time and time again while he was sitting as Chairman of his Committee. The answer is plain; it was given by the Mover and the Seconder. They stated that it was not going to be an injury to the bookmaker. I suggest that, if it is not going to be an injury to the bookmaker, it is not going to reduce the number of his clients. Otherwise, it will be injurious to the bookmaker. If it is not going to reduce the number of his clients, then it is the intention of this Bill to find a number of other people who will make use of the totalisator, in order that it may pay. My main point against this Measure is that, in the year 1928, it is an outrage that the House of Commons should be troubled with a Measure of this kind. Agriculture was mentioned by the Seconder. In the present depressed condition of agriculture, to come to us and suggest that this Racecourse Betting Bill is going to assist agriculture is begging the question and misleading the people of this country.
§ Mr. KELLY
Does the hon. Member suggest that the only way in which the farmer can be helped in producing more hay is to set up a totalisator machine on the courses that are under the control of the Jockey Club and the National Hunt Committee? The hon. Member sits for a Division of Lancashire, and, really, a Lancashire man ought to know better than that. One would imagine that there was no unemployment problem. One would imagine that we had settled all our transport difficulties and that the only question to which the House of Commons needs devote itself is that of setting up a machine known as the totalisator. I have wondered why we are being troubled with this Bill to-day. The seconder told us that it is to enable the Government to be quite sure that they will collect their duty. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, I am sure, will be quite happy if you can assure him that you can draw to the race-courses the people who are usually engaged in our industries. Racing takes place, I believe, six days in the week, and the suggestion of the Mover and Seconder was that, instead of betting taking place away from the course, people could go to the various race meetings with their wives and families and be able to put their bets on the totalisator. The Mover was very anxious that they should not be troubled by the loud-voiced shoutings of the bookmakers. I wondered why he made that point, because in the next breath he told us they intended still to have the same number, or even a larger number of bookmakers. Is it intended that the bookmakers shall conduct themselves as Members of this House have to do in the silence room of the Library? If you intend that, you may be able to save those people from having their cars violated by listening to the shouts of the bookmaker. The Seconder stated that Australians have nothing but a good word for the totalisator.
§ Sir B. SHEFFIELD
I said that those who came from the Colonies and 2292 Dominions have nothing but a good word to say for the totalisator.
§ Mr. KELLY
I accept that correction. I should like to tell the hon. Gentleman what has been heard before by the hon. and learned Member for East Grinstead (Sir H. Cautley). In the Select Committee on the Betting Duty, the question was put to Mr. Fawcett:If the totalisator was established in this country, do you think, from your experience, that it might have the same effect here?"here" meaning as against it being set up in the Dominions. The answer was:I think it is a wonderful moneymaking machine, but it is a horrible form of betting.There you have the opinion that was expressed more than once by those who appeared before that Committee.
This is a Bill for the bringing into operation of additional gambling facilities. I am not going to deal with the question of the rights or wrongs of betting, except to say that I think it is against the best interests of the country that Members should occupy our time by engaging in setting up machinery which will enable gambling to have greater facilities than it has at present. Attention might better have been directed to assisting industry to perform the work that is required at present. The suggestion has been made that if we do this we shall be able to give greater comfort to those attending the courses. I see that a Member of another House has written a letter—the promoters of the Bill seem to have been very hard pressed to whip up their forces when they have to secure letters of recommendation from those who are spending some time on the Continent—suggesting that the Measure is going to be of assistance to the small owner. He will rank alongside the big owner. Has it come to this, that, instead of those who own racehorses being prepared to pay for their maintenance out of their own pockets, they are turning to ready-money betting to help them to keep up their stables, and to keep up the ownership of these horses? That is the promise made in the letter, that these big and small owners will be able to share in the spoils, the 8 per cent. that is to come out of the totalisator, and that the racecourse owners, who have done so well in the past and who are very careful 2293 not to make known to the public all that they have put into their pockets, are going to give greater facilities not by any expenditure themselves, but by the amount that they can take out of this totalisator. There is one thing that animates a number of hon. Members opposite, and that is to set up vested interests to enable individuals to make great profits out of the rest of the community.
It has been said that there will be no monopoly. I would ask: To whom is this being handed over? It is being handed over to the Jockey Club and the National Hunt Committee. I have heard no reasons given why these people should have this monopoly handed to them. Why this House should consider that they are the people who might handle this totalisator and be given a licence, I cannot understand. There might be something in it if the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who will accept money from almost any quarter at this time, was prepared to carry the Betting Duty to its logical conclusion and see that the whole of the spoils came to him. They may deduct any amount they like and use it in any way they like. To talk of using it for charity is beside the question. It would be really far better and more decent if they had left out altogether the fact that they are going to make some small contribution out of the totalisator returns to charity.
I suggest that there is not a reason given, not one point of justification, for the House to pass this Measure. The non-betting owner who is at tie present time spending some money on the maintenance of race horses is now going to make the betting people pay for part of the maintenance of his stable. I think it is a waste of the time of the House to deal with such a Measure at this time, and I hope that the House will reject it as one which is not in the interests of the country, which is not helpful, and which is not going to provide more wealth. I notice the reference in the statements which have been sent to us that this will give work to the engineering trade. I was in conference with the engineering employers for nearly three hours yesterday on the wages problem and to suggest that the manufacture of these totalisators is with a view to giving work to the engineering trade—well I am amazed that even railway directors make 2294 that suggestion at this time. [Interruption]. I am afraid that I have not that love for them, particularly when I find that they have not concern for the general interest. My concluding words are that this Government and the Members following this Government have in the last three years set up a great many vested interests—vested interests in electricity, vested interests with regard to films—and now they are trying to hand over a vested interest in the betting world to the Jockey Club and the National Hunt Committee, and to a few other individuals who will make well out of it. I hope that the House is going to reject this Measure and keep itself clean in a better way than is suggested in regard to dealing with these spoils.
§ Sir BASIL PETO
I beg to second the Amendment.
It gives me real pleasure to follow the hon. Gentleman the Member for Rochdale (Mr. Kelly) who, as usual, has placed the arguments against this Bill very clearly and so completely before the House. I propose, as he did, in the first instance, to refer to one or two statements that were made by the Mover and by the Seconder of the Bill. First of all, I would refer to the fact—it was extremely interesting to the House I am sure—that the hon. and gallant Member for Abingdon (Major Glyn) quoted the words of the Attorney-General in introducing his Bill in 1853. The Attorney-General, as far a s I can remember, said that there was a great distinction between the betting carried on at Tattersalls and the gambling at gambling houses which that Bill was intended to make illegal. He said that gaming tables were not kept at Tattersalls. This is a Bill to enable gaming tables, not to be kept at Tattersalls, it is true, but to be installed on every racecourse in the country which is under the control of the Jockey Club and of the National Hunt Committee.
The Mover of the Bill spoke in a slightly contemptuous manner of the opposition, which, he said, came mainly from those interested in betting. The purpose of this Bill appears to me to be to transfer, in part at any rate, the business of betting from those who at present carry it on, namely, the bookmakers of the country, to another body. They are going to do away to some extent with those 2295 who are now interested in betting, and they are going to make the Jockey Club and the National Hunt Committee the only people who will have a real interest in betting, and a very real and a very substantial interest in it. As the Mover spoke of the great control this would give to those bodies, it would be just as well, if the House is going to give the control of the whole of this sport to them, that we should see that they are not interested, especially financially interested, in the very business of which we are entrusting them the control. The hon. Gentleman, the Member for the Brigg Division (Sir B. Sheffield) told us that the probable percentage that was going to be charged was 8 per cent. Earlier I was informed that 10 per cent. was proposed, but there is now a complete elasticity about the matter. As far as I can ascertain, there is nothing clearly before the House as to what percentage will be charged; it is left to the decision of those bodies to which I have referred, who are to have the control. The hon. and gallant Member for Abingdon told us that, according to the best calculation that had been made, a sum of £200,000,000 annually passes through one channel or another in bets made upon racehorses and race-courses. Taking even the modest 8 per cent., that is a levy of £116,000,000 a year upon the public in order to enable, in the first instance the Chancellor of the Exchequer to get his £4,000,000—his two per cent.—
§ Sir H. CAUTLEY
is my hon Friend aware that 90 per cent. of the betting is done at starting prices through the credit betting offices and will not go through the totalisator at all?
§ Sir B. PETO
The hon. and learned Member must address the House. Two per cent. is to go as a first charge to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and, in return for that facility in tax collecting, he is practically going to farm out this duty to this body and allow them carte blanche to charge the public what they like and do as they like with this huge balance. Take the interruption of the hon. and learned Member for East Grinstead (Sir H. Cautley). Let us suppose that half of the £1200,000,000 does not go through the totalisator at all, but 2296 is credit betting at starting prices through the office. If only half of the £200,000,000 goes through, we get at 8 per cent. a sum of at least £8,000,000, and when the Chancellor of the Exchequer has taken his two per cent. there is a very substantial number of millions at the actual disposal of the Jockey Club and the National Hunt Committee. This is really a Bill to give the whole control of the machine, and, as I will show in a moment, of the bookmaking fraternity to those two bodies. When we look at the Bill, we find that, although its provisions were quite clearly explained by the Mover, it really tells us very little of what is going to be the ultimate result of passing the Bill or the real purpose of passing it. To find out either of these two things, we have to consult the very free issue of literature which has been showered upon Members of the house during the last few days by the promoters of the Bill. I find the most instructive of these papers to be the letter, to which the Mover has already referred, from the Noble Lord, the Earl of Derby, written from Cannes in France to the Noble Lord. the Member for the Fylde Division (Lord Stanley). I find this passage which the Mover did not read, and I think I ought to read it to the House although it is only a line or two:Thanks to the pari-mutuel, the cost of keeping a race-horse in France is just about one-third of what it costs in England, due to the fact that you get big stakes and small forfeits—which are the chief expenses in England—and big premiums to the breeders.That is where the bulk of these millions of pounds that are to be taken from the public are to go. It is undoubtedly a subsidy, and by a stretch of the imagination it might be held to be a subsidy to one part of agriculture; but when we find that this House will not contemplate a subsidy to agriculture, and it is now proposed to place at the disposal of these racing bodies a sum of some millions, to be extracted from the public, and to be used in the main, I will not say exclusively, to cheapen the cost of keeping racehorses in training in this country for their Noble owners—[An HON. MEMBER: "And others!"]—yes, and others who are owners, the House should think twice before passing the Bill. But it does a great deal more than that; it gives a complete control of the only competition, 2297 the competition of the bookmakers, with these same bodies. I find that the statement made by Lord Hamilton of Dalziel, recorded in the "Times" of the 14th March, adds a ray of illumination, which I will convey to the House. At the end of the statement he says:It was proposed that the licence fee for bookmakers should be on a graduated scale according to the place they occupied, which would bring the odds he could give to about the same level as those given by the totalisator.If that means anything, it means that the fees to be charged to the bookmakers are to be so graduated that their competition is to be eliminated, because they will have to make a bigger charge, as big a percentage as the Jockey Club charge on the money entrusted to the totalisator. That proves two things: (1) The bookmakers have teen giving better odds than the totalisator proposes, and (2) their competition is to be practically eliminated by enabling them in the future to charge only the same odds as are given by the totalisator.
That brings me to the question of what has been termed the apparently illogical position of the bookmakers. When this Bill was first talked about, they did not regard it as a very serious competition, because a 10 per cent. deduction on the bets was proposed, and that was much more than the bookmaking fraternity get on their turnover; therefore, they thought that it would not be a serious competitor, but after the various statements that have been made public, as well as those that have been sent to hon. Members of this House, and those that had been made by the promoters of the Bill, it now becomes apparent that—I will not say the object of the Bill—one of the main results of the Bill will be that by this regulation and control, of which the hon. and gallant Member for Abingdon (Major Glyn) told us so much, the bookmakers, as competitors of the totalisator, will be practically run off the turf. Therefore, it is not surprising that the bookmakers now find that it is in their interests to oppose this Measure.
On the question whether this proposal will increase betting, the hon. Member for Rochdale referred to the evidence given before the Committee which considered the Betting Duty. He quoted one piece of evidence, and I would like to 2298 quote another, in connection with the statement that was made by the hon. and gallant Member for Abingdon. Mr. Colin Campbell Stephen, the Chairman of the Committee of the Australian Jockey Club, said:The bettors on the machine were generally women and small bettors, and the effect of the totalisator was to make thousands of persons bet who never betted before, mostly women.This quotation is rather remarkable, in view of the picture drawn by the hon. and gallant Member for Abingdon when he spoke of the happy day in the country that the working-class people would be able to enjoy, with the cheaper facilities for attending race meetings. He said that they would enjoy those facilities, with their wives and families. I think the House will bear that statement in mind in connection with the direct evidence that was given by the Chairman of the Australian Jockey Club to the Committee which considered this question.
There is another aspect of the matter which calls for attention. There can be no doubt—we see here to-day the Chancellor of the Exchequer—that the Government and the Treasury take a rather benevolent interest in the fate of this Bill. I am not at all surprised that that should be so, but I would call attention to the fact that this House has always been the sole authority for the levying of taxation, and that the executive, the. Treasury, controlled by its Chancellor of the Exchequer for the time being, has had the sole responsibility for collecting the taxes that have been sanctioned by this House. From that, this proposal is a very big departure. It is an alliance between the Treasury and the Jockey Club; an arrangement that if the Jockey Club will erect these totalisator machines. —which the Mover of the Second Reading has told us are so beautiful in their automatic working that no money can escape them once it has been put into them without paying its contribution—and take the responsibility of handing over to the Treasury the first 2 per cent. that goes into the machines, they can have the rest, and charge what they like to the public. That is an arrangement which means practically farming out tax collection in this country, a practice which I thought we had left behind us in the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries.
§ Major GLYN
I do not see any difference between the Jockey Club or the National Hunt Committee collecting this taxation, and the ordinary collection of Entertainments Duty by those responsible for the entertainment.
§ Sir B. PETO
It appears to me that there is a very clear difference. We did not in this House give any authority to those who supply entertainment to the public to set up a machine, which is now illegal, on purpose to collect the Entertainments Duty. That Entertainments Duty is merely a Duty which is charged, like any other Duty by the imposition of stamps, and that is a perfectly well-known method of collecting revenue. The present proposal is a novel departure and one which this House should deny to them, even if for no other reason than that which I have just given. Of course, the reason that causes the interest of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is well known to hon. Members in all parts of the House. The Betting Duty has not brought in anything like what was expected, and I am not surprised, because while it might seem to be moderate in amount, 3½ per cent., or 2 per cent., or 5 per cent., it is a duty on capital. It is not a question of 2 per cent. or 3½ per cent. on profits, but on the capital employed in every transaction, and there is nothing which can stand a Duty like that and yield anything like what was expected. This is not the way to do it. If the Chancellor of the Exchequer is reconsidering the amount of his Duty, he should do so independent of the question of setting up new machinery and mechanising the whole of the betting transactions of the country.
We are told that this Bill does not legalise betting. No, it does not, but it turns it into a regular business conducted with regular machinery throughout the country. I am reminded of those other mechanical appliances for betting which are being set up all over the country for greyhound racing. Does this House seriously think that they can authorise the Jockey Club or the National Hunt Club Committee to set up these machines on race-courses under their control and stop there? Once you have done that you will have to allow them on every greyhound racing track, and you will have the complete machinery of gambling set up all over the country 2300 for this one purpose only without the slightest control by any local authority. We must look much beyond the proposals of this Bill. We must look at the results if it is passed, and I think they will be most detrimental so far as the interests of the country are concerned. Before the war our good friends the French, when we were not quite such good friends as we are now, used to call us perfidious Albion. On no account would we allow establishments to be set up anywhere for roulette or anything of that sort, but we are to have machines into which you can put your money without knowing what the odds will be when you come to take out your money.
§ Rear-Admiral BEAMISH
I traverse that statement. A super-totalisator has been invented, but even with the existing totalisator you can tell perfectly well what you are going to get.
§ Sir B. PETO
They tell you very prettily what the odds are at the moment you make your bet but you have not the least idea what the odds are going to be when you get your money out. I am not interested in it myself but I do take the trouble before I speak to find out the actual facts. I approach the subject from a slightly different angle to the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Kelly). I do not take any interest in racehorses or racing, but I am very keen about sport. Although I do not care very much for this particular kind of sport I have complete sympathy with it and those who indulge in it, but in the interests of clean and legitimate sport of all kinds I think the Jockey Club and the Royal Hunt Club Committee could not do worse than mechanise racing in this country and start a new system which is bound to extend to greyhound racing tracks, and everywhere else as well, and thus mobilise public opinion against sport of all kinds in this country which might lead to the sweeping away of some forms of sport which are a good outlet for the people of this country and should be maintained. For these reasons I think it would be a bad thing for sport generally, for the public and for the wives and families of the working classes of this country, if we pass this Bill, and I confidently rely on the sound sense of hon. Members in all parts of the House to see that this novel experiment is not tried.
§ Sir H. CAUTLEY
As one of those who was responsible for the Report of the Betting Commission in 1923 perhaps I ought to give my views to the House as to the reasons why I put my name to that Report. I should like to preface them by this statement, that the Report I made was made as Chairman in a quasi judicial position, and the facts of that Report, as far as I have been able to ascertain, have never been questioned. I rather wish the hon. Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto)—
§ Mr. CRAWFURD
Do I understand the hon. and learned Member to say that that Report has never been questioned?
§ Sir H. CAUTLEY
The facts stated in the Report have never been questioned, although the deductions may have been. I rather wish the hon. Member for Barnstaple had read that Report before he made the absurd statement that anything like £100,000,000 or £150,000,000 would go through the totalisator.
§ Sir B. PETO
I only quoted the figure given by the hon. and gallant Member for Abingdon (Major Glyn) and I left it to the imagination of the House as to what percentage of that total would go to the totalisator.
§ Sir H. CAUTLEY
If he had read the Report he would have known that nine-tenths of the betting takes place in offices and that the amount of money which would go through the totalisator would be only some 10 or 15 per cent. of the total betting in this country. The hon. Member vitiates the whole of his points by not making himself acquainted with the facts. On that Committee the main objection was by persons who felt keenly that some recognition was being given to betting, which is vicious, by the mere fact of taxing it, and with that view everybody will have a good deal of sympathy. It is too late now to take that ground of opposition, because the Betting Duty having been made part of the law of the land, Parliament has recognised what I, as Chairman of the Committee, found was indisputable—namely, that betting in this country has arrived at such a state in amount and in quality amongst every class of the community that it is perfectly hopeless to try and stop it.
2302 My only connection with racing was as Chairman of this Committee, except, of course, that in my practice as a lawyer I had a good deal to do with it, and I was acquainted with the laws of gaming and wagering. I was perfectly horrified by the evidence that was put before us to show how deep down and how bitten into the heart of this country is this betting habit. We even had illustrations of bookmakers arranging betting with children in our State schools. I was a little shocked that persons who, on religious grounds, felt so strongly against betting—bodies which have adopted that view—have not lifted one little finger either to stop or cure this habit of betting. The line that I took and still take is that we must control betting, which is no vice in itself but is a vice when carried to excess, just as the taking of alcohol is no vice in itself but becomes a vice when carried to excess. The only way that a civilised people, and an advanced civilised people, can deal with this evil, is to control it in the same way as we control other things. I do not mean identically the same way, but to control it by taxation and regulation.
§ Mr. MORRIS
Was not the evidence given before the hon. and learned Member's own Committee by Mr. Colin Campbell Stephen to the effect that where the totalisator was established, it tended to increase illegal betting?
§ Sir H. CAUTLEY
Not to increased illegal betting, but evidence was given that some persons who would not go to a bookmaker were induced to bet with the totalisator. With that we did not agree. Having made the point, so far as I can, that we have got this enormous stream of betting and that the only way is to regulate it, what does this Bill propose to do? You have the stream. Is it to be suggested that where you have a stream, if you cut a channel and divert part of that stream to another course, you are going to increase the stream? Of course you are not. How on earth is it to be suggested that you are going to increase betting because you have an alternative method of betting—a bookmaker here and a totalisator next door? The hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Kelly) talked of this as a horrible means of betting. Is he aware—
§ Sir H. CAUTLEY
And the hon. Member adopted the answer. If he did not adopt it, what was the point of reading it? I will assume that he adopted it and regards it as a horrible form of betting. Is the House aware that this horrible form of betting is established in every British Dominion? Is the House aware that it is adopted in every civilised country in the world except the United States, that we have it in France, in Germany, in Italy, in Austria, in Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, in Bengal and in India, and that the only reason why they have not got it in America is that America is so rich that they have no need to tax the luxury of betting.
§ Mr. MORRIS
The evidence given before the Committee by Mr. Colin Campbell Stephen was the evidence of a man who had witnessed the system at work on the spot?
§ Sir H. CAUTLEY
Of course, the evidence of Mr. Stephen was considered with the rest, and if hon. Members read the rest of the evidence they will see that we had evidence as to nearly all the countries. The evidence which we had was that the totalisator made a racecourse pleasant, that the betting was brought under control, that it produced revenue for the State, that bookmakers could exist and did exist alongside the totalisator, and that the benefit to everybody was that it created a system of control both for the bookmaker and for the race-course betting. That is what is now put forward by the hon. Member as a horrible kind of betting. I think it is a genteel form of betting. I do not attend race-courses, except Goodwood, which is about the only one I visit. Go to the French race-courses and compare them with the English race-courses. In France you have some of the most attractive racecourses in the world to which all rank and fashion goes, to which everybody goes for what is after all a very pleasant amusement.
§ Sir H. CAUTLEY
No, of course I do not. I am a strict Protestant. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, failing that courage for which he is so famous, would not adopt my system. He was afraid really, I believe, of hon. Members opposite. In my report, I proposed a system which would set aside and put an end to all the anomalies that we have in our betting law and would provide a strict system of control for all betting. My right hon. Friend did not do that. But he did what every other civilised nation has done—taxed this foolish practice, this luxury of betting, and he has by this Betting Duty provided a method of taxing all bets made on race-courses or in the betting offices. My Committee heard at great length the evidence on behalf of the bookmaking fraternity and everyone connected with betting on race-courses, and I came to the conclusion, and my Committee did not object, that the bookmakers on the whole carried on their business on really fair lines and were straightforward and honest. I was at that time very reluctant to disturb these men, who had grown up with the race-course and with the betting, system, or to deprive them of the position that they had.
I was also satisfied in my own mind at that time, that the totalisator, of which we had a demonstration, was an expensive thing to set up on our racecourses, which differed in some way from other racecourses which had many more days racing per course than we have in this country. In the report, I rather declared against the totalisator. So far as the practical difficulty of expense is concerned, I understand that that has now disappeared, and that there is no practical difficulty to the setting up of these machines on the racecourses in England. I believed that the bookmakers would be sensible people and would make the Betting Duty a charge on the industry, that they would pay it direct and, by shortening the odds, would get it out of the backers, passing it on to them. But to my surprise they proved to be a stupid lot of men. who began by declaring a ridiculous strike. They warned everyone from backing the Bill. One effect was that many of those who were opposed to betting supported the Betting Duty. And after that the bookmakers have refused to pay the Duty and are honestly evading it.
§ Sir H. CAUTLEY
Yes, honestly. I will call the attention of the House to one or two figures. In answer to a question I put to him only a few days ago, the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that the net amount of revenue from Betting taxation for the 12 months to 31st January, 1928, was £2,740,000. The bookmakers' certificates run for a year to the 31st October, and the number of certificates issued for the year ending on 31st October, 1927, was 15,194. That shows that there were in business during that year 15,194 bookmakers. That is about 50 per cent. more than we had estimated for in our Committee. Whether the increase is due to the start of greyhound racing or not I do not know. This number produced a revenue for licences of £151,000. As the House is aware, the duty is 2 per cent. on the course betting, and 2½12 per cent. on the office betting, and I still think the Chancellor of the Exchequer made a huge mistake in having a differential rate. I think if he had made it 2½ per cent., or 6d. in the £, from the very first and stuck to that it would have been better. But let us take it at 2½ per cent., which is giving an advantage against the argument I am putting forward. It works out so that the total on which duty is paid comes to £109,600,000, and, dividing that among the 15,194 bookmakers, gives a total turnover for each bookmaker of £7,210. If you take 2 per cent. as the rate of net profit that means that these men are only earning £144 a year each and that the turn-over on 30 weeks would be only £240 a week or on the whole year £138 a week. The figures are perfectly ludicrous, and the fact stands revealed that while we have a Betting Duty in this country the Chancellor of the Exchequer is not collecting the amount due.
§ Mr. J. H. THOMAS
I have an open mind on this question, and I want to hear all the arguments. Would the hon. and learned Gentleman as Chairman of the Committee tell me this. The figures which he has given show a 50 per cent. increase in the number of people estimated before his Committee to be carrying on business as bookmakers. Undoubtedly, his figures show a ludicrous turnover as far as they are concerned. Has he any figures to develop that argument for the benefit of those who are in 2306 terested, and to show what proportion of the betting which he estimates would be done by the totalisator as compared with other betting, so as to give us a more accurate figure?
§ 1.0 p.m.
§ Sir H. CAUTLEY
The totalisator is an absolutely new machine, and has never been put into operation in this country. What I say is this. The bookmakers having refused to pay this tax, is not the Chancellor of the Exchequer bound in the interests of the State to insist on having the totalisator? Take another point of view. Admitting that betting is rife all over the country, the poor man cannot go on the racecourse, and the totalisator gives very much better odds for the public than the bookmaker. There is not the slightest doubt that the totalisator, when established, will give the starting price odds. Let me put another point to those who are interested in the betting fraternities in our big towns. The bookmakers will have to bet up to the totalisator. The starting price will be there. It is anticipated by the promotors of the Bill that only 8 per cent. will be deducted—2½ per cent. for the duty and 5½ per cent. for the other purposes. That will correspond to the bookmakers' expenses and figures can be produced to show that the bookmaker is taking a much larger share for expenses out of his odds than he ought to do.
§ Mr. THOMAS
I wish to put the hon. and learned Gentleman this question. Supposing the totalisator odds, whatever they may be, automatically decide the price. The totalisator draws 8 per cent., and if the bookmaker is paying on the totalisator odds, does he not escape that 8 per cent. and benefit by it—in other words, does he not get his expenses?
§ Sir H. CAUTLEY
No, he has his expenses to pay against the totalisator expenses, whatever they may be. He would have to pay the duty—and I am certain the Chancellor will have to make it 2½ per cent.—in any case he would have to pay 2 per cent. and he will have to pay his own expenses to get into the racecourse, and the expenses of the, rather expensive life which he has to, 2307 live. Thai is one of the reasons why the Jockey Club, who are the only people who have authority over the various courses, are claiming the right to levy a licence on the bookmaker for giving him these facilities. The bookmaker whom the hon. Member for Barnstaple is championing today is in this dilemma. If he gives better odds than the totalisator, he has nothing to fear, because English people prefer doing business with a live man to doing business with a machine, or if there is any truth in the suggestion that he gives as good odds as the totalisator, he has nothing to fear from this machine. If, on the other hand, the totalisator gives the better odds—and I am certain the Chancellor of the Exchequer will gain from the totalisator, because it cannot make a mistake, and tax will be collected on everything—why on earth should not this vast number of people who do bet, and whom neither this House as a whole nor hon. Members opposite lift a little finger to stop betting, have the fairest odds that can be given? That is the view that is taken in the Dominions and in all these other countries.
It is for these reasons that I, as Chairman of the Betting Committee, who have no interest in this matter except that of purifying and lessening betting by controlling it, support this scheme. Somebody has jeered at the suggestion that it would benefit agriculture, but I would point out that it benefits another great industry, and that is the breeding of the thoroughbred horse. The thoroughbred horse is the foundation of all our light labour horses in the country, and although horses are going out for Army purposes, they are still wanted. There is no test for the perfection of a thoroughbred horse which can he devised, either for soundness, stamina or speed, except the racecourse. We in this country produce the best sires for thoroughbred stock in the world. We do a very large trade in this stock, and every other civilised nation which gets thoroughbreds has to come here for them. Every other country which taxes betting, except the United States, I am assured, encourages the breeding of thoroughbred stock, and does something for raising it by making some contribution out of the totalisators, and I have always thought that, being the leaders in this particular 2308 line of business, which is a very valuable industry, we ourselves ought to do something to supply the means for assisting it in some degree. For these reasons, I support the Bill.
§ Mr. HAYDAY
I rise to oppose the Bill, and I feel that, if the purpose of it had been described in terms of providing a subsidy for horse breeding or for particular owners of race horses and the Jockey Club, we should have been better able to understand why all this fervour is expressed on the Floor of the House of Commons. I noticed that the hon. and gallant Member for Abingdon (Major Glyn), in introducing the Bill, said that the machine should be controlled or tended by a Government Department in order to assure the backer and keep a hold over the revenue. I am prompted to make an observation on this subject because of what the hon. and learned Member for East Grinstead (Sir H. Cautley) has just said, to the effect that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be bound to support the introduction of the totalisator because there has been some sort of leakage in the meeting of the Betting Duty. I cannot see what on earth can have prompted the introduction of this Bill unless it be a desire now to legalise monopolistic control of betting in the country. One is prompted, first of all, to ask who are the Jockey Club, whom do they represent, and are they an elected body in any sense at all? So far as my information goes, the Jockey Club are a self-elected body, and their principal interests are to control or to regulate racecourses coming under their jurisdiction.
§ Brigadier-General CLIFTON BROWN
Does the hon. Member think the Jockey Club are any more self-elected than many of the trade unions are?
§ Mr. HAYDAY
That interruption is very stupid, and I cannot see its relationship to the point I was making, because you would never propose to hand over an industry to a trade union official, but here it has been suggested that racing is an industry, and that for that reason it should be controlled by a body which. I presume, is a non-elected body. I know it is said that the trainers support the Jockey Club in this matter, but can the trainers afford to run counter to the wishes of the Jockey Club? Would their 2309 position as trainers be strengthened if they were brought into direct opposition, whatever their thoughts might be, to the Jockey Club? It is said that you would give control of the totalisator to the Jockey Club, but there are many meetings over which the Jockey Club have no control, and where the totalisator could not be of any service because of the cost of its erection.
We hear the figure of 8 per cent. mentioned. This Bill will enable the Jockey Club to take control of the totalisator, which will deduct 8 per cent. from the backers' investments. The rest will be divisible according to the number of backers and the amount of money at the disposal of the totalisator in fixing the odds so far as the first three places are concerned in any particular race. Can anybody in this House inform me whether the figure of 8 per cent, will at any time be fixed in the Bill? Is there anything to prevent the Jockey Club at any time, if it gets these powers, which I sincerely trust it will not, making it 10 per cent., 12 per cent., or 20 per cent.?
§ Sir H. CAUTLEY
Then the people would not bet with it. The hon. Member should also remember that of the 8 per cent., 2 per cent, is duty.
§ Mr. HAYDAY
The hon. and learned Member forgets that the Jockey Club will control the machine and the course and that they will have a limited number of licences for bookmakers competing against the totalisator. Therefore, if they feel that 8 per cent. will not give them enough to increase the stakes to be contested for and to make the contribution to help agriculture and for the lessening of admission fees, is there anything to stop them going to 10 per cent., 12 per cent., or 20 per cent., and, at the same time, controlling in the monopolistic sense the whole field of operations, diminishing the competition from the bookmakers on the course itself, and compelling any person who desires to bet to accept the conditions which they themselves lay down through the medium of the totalisator? Is there anything to prevent what I believe has happened recently in Australia, where they have had to appeal to the Government for a further amount of money because of the losses that have accrued on account of the deductions, which they have no doubt 2310 taken from the totalisator, not being sufficient to meet their obligations and responsibilities?
§ Sir H. CAUTLEY
In New Zealand they put up the tax so high that people would not use the machine, and the Government were appealed to and had to reduce the amount.
§ Mr. HAYDAY
If they put up the tax to 12 or 15 per cent., and returns diminished, and they had to reduce their stakes and increase their admission fees, they might then come to the Government for a subsidy to make good their losses. Then, where on earth would be all the benefit to agriculture from the glorious totalisator and how would the interest of blood-stock breeding be preserved? Surely it cannot be assumed that the sport of kings has become so impoverished, that the owners of racehorses are so poor, and that the trainers and breeders are hard up that they must wipe out competition? The small backer has a perfect right to see that his investment is safeguarded, and not filched away under any particular control such as this Bill proposes to place in the hands of the Jockey Club. Must the small backer be asked for a contribution in order to lift up the sport of kings to its great and glorious traditional position, to help the poor racehorse owner and to assist blood-stock breeding?
The hon. and gallant Member who introduced the Measure said that it would democratise betting. Imagine the millionaire and the workman walking arm-in-arm to the totalisator! The totalisator will not take a word or a sign for a bet. It will not take a cheque. It must be hard cash, and is it to be thought that wealthy backers will go to the totalisator and pull out a £1,000 cheque or a bulk of notes alongside the person who is putting his humble florin on his fancy? It is ridiculous, and even if we were to let that go by, what would happen if the man with a thousand-pound bet on a particular horse was followed by a large number with their 2s. or half-sovereign bets on the same horse? Then the big 2311 backer would be making odds which would control the ultimate result of the bets in that particular instance, and there would be the possibility that all the backers, through nominating a winner, would have less to come back than they put in, because there would always be 8 per cent. of the ingoings deducted before anything was handed out. Picture the scene when the man with a thousand-pound bet is waiting in the queue with a winner. I suggest that the totalisator in those circumstances would he the means of collecting people a hundred times more undesirable than the worst bookmakers that could be produced, and do not let this House get away with the idea that the bookmaker is a man of less honour than members of the Jockey Club, racehorse owners, or trainers. I like to try to believe that they are all honourable men, from members of the Jockey Club to the humblest bookmaker. If they have lived on their wits and become keen men, there is more credit to them if they can beat the keen backer who feels he has a greater knowledge than they have. That battle of wits cannot go on when there is the totalisator.
The hon. Member made my blood almost curdle when he pictured the possibility of totalisators being placed at nice distances on the courses, the workman no longer having to wait at the street-corner to have his bet with a starting-price bookmaker, and the totalisator wiping out the starting-price bookmaker; how the workman would welcome it because he, his wife and family, could walk on to the course, having paid a reduced fee of admission, brought about by the deduction of 8 per cent. The workman would be anxious to take his wife and his children to the racecourse, with its beautiful atmosphere, and would be able to have a day in the country and have his modest bet through the totalisator. It is the very thing, from the moral point of view, that some of us dread. The totalisator will not restrict betting. I do not think any Act of Parliament will destroy or restrict it. I believe it is inherent in the British race. Even those who have a moral point of view upon the matter, if they enter into an argument with you, the very first thing that comes from their lips is, "I will bet you"—it does not matter whether it is a glass of ginger-beer, or anything else. There is always 2312 that inclination, but I do dread the totalisator if it is to be used for the purpose of opening the way for women to bet in greater numbers than now.
Who is going to judge whether a boy is 16 or a girl is of adult age? Who is to say that women will not be tempted? Because we must remember that the majority of people who go to a racecourse go there to back their particular fancy. They develop the inclination, perhaps, beyond their original intention when once they get there, and they go there, I suppose in 80 or 90 per cent. of cases, to "have a bit on," but if you are going to say, "You shall no longer make your investment through the bookmaker in the ring, but everything will be set out nicely for you, and you will just go up to the totalisator and make your investment," there will be temptation for women and young persons, who have never had the inclination to bet in their lives, to go first out of curiosity. They will have their wager out of pure curiosity, and with no craving for betting, but it will develop. The hon. and gallant Gentleman who moved the Second Reading said that one often heard people remark that they got home on the last race; that they had anxious times on the three or four earlier races, but that they plunged on the last race, and cleared their deficiences on the earlier races. If you begin to encourage women to start out of curiosity, they will go on and on, and will become regular backers. In fact, they will become practised in tick-tacking and adepts at most of the inside knowledge about which at the moment they know nothing. They will plunge and plunge, and their whole moral structure will be destroyed.
The House ought to hesitate before it says to the Jockey Club, "Here are powers to you small number of gentlemen; do as you will with them. Make your terms, take eight per cent.; and, if eight be not enough take ten, and you will have the Treasury and the Government itself entering into collusion with you. Its share of the spoil is to be 2 per cent.; its share of the spoil is to be a proportion of what is taken out of the investors' money." If our betting system and methods have got out of control, if they have become a real and serious danger, let the Government 2313 have an all-inclusive inquiry into every branch of horse racing. If, after that inquiry, it is found to be necessary for the State to recognise it because it cannot destroy it, let the State regulate it, and not leave it to a small body of non-elected persons who, in my opinion, would use their power, not in the interests of the sport, but to provide a higher stake for the contestants and to give a rebate to men who are already wealthy enough, and do not want it.
I have had conversations with one or two small breeders, and their opinion is that they do not desire the erection of the totalisator. They are not so poor that they must come to the country and say, "We cannot afford to go on breeding." If they cannot go on breeding, they would rather go out of business than feel that they were to be the subject of a dole at the will or whim or fancy of the members of the Jockey Club. Therefore, for purely common-sense reasons, if we want to control betting, we are not wise in handing over that great power to a small body and giving them scope to make every racecourse a kind of kursaal. There is nothing to prevent them, once they get the power, from putting up casinos on racecourses, and so having control of roulette tables and every form of gambling. Instead of diminishing betting, or strengthening the control over betting, it will be an incentive for general loose application of the betting laws, with the State afraid to touch the question and yet not sufficiently strong to refuse the advantages that will come from it. Therefore, I hope that the Bill will be rejected.
§ Mr. HARNEY
I am in favour of the Bill. It is a non-party Measure, and the views which I express are entirely my own. I have been quite unable to understand the amount of heat that has been imported into the Debate. I regard the Bill as a practical method of removing some of the objectionable elements that now attach to betting. The opponents of the Measure fall into two classes: the bookmaker, whose case has been voiced by the last speaker, and those who base their opposition on moral grounds and who, to serve their own purpose, have recourse to the bookmaker. I look at it purely from a detached and commonsense point of view. It is closing our eyes to the obvious to say that betting 2314 is not now rampant, not only in this country, but in every part of the world. It is equally refusing to face the facts to deny that betting will continue as long as the human race does, because it is an appeal to a fundamental instinct, an instinct which runs into most of our commercial activities and into nearly all our enterprises. The wrong thing is not betting. The wrong thing is the doing of those matters that are incidental to betting. The diamond is pure enough, but it is caked over with matter that is offensive and has to be removed.
All that this Bill proposes to do is to cleanse betting, as far as it can be cleansed, of its objectionable features. It is hopeless for anyone to question that we must recognise this evil. I do not consider it a great evil. I think the mischiefs attending betting are grossly exaggerated, but let it be supposed that it be an evil. Because of it there was an Act passed in 1845, which said that no one shall be able to recover bets in a Court of Law. Did that put it down? Did that lessen it? Everyone knows it did not. It had a bad effect because it brought into being, in addition to the then existing backers and bookmakers, the "welshing" bookmaker and the fraudulent backer. This Act of Parliament told them, "You can bet on velvet, or back on velvet; if you win—well and good; if you lose, you may default and the law will not move against you."
That is the effect of the attempt to put down betting by the Act of 1845. Then the Act of 1853 came along. People said, "Now we will make it absolutely impossible to bet." That Act said that it should be unlawful for any person to resort to a place to make a bet. It was thought, "To make a bet involves a place in which to make it, and if you cannot resort to that place, how can you make a bet?" What happened? At once the ingenuity of man, which is always set to work when you try to foist upon the community a law which is in conflict with fundamental human nature, found evasions. "A place! Ah, but if I peregrinate I am not in a place, and, therefore, there is nothing to prevent me going up to a bookmaker if I met him in the street, or in a public house, or in his private room." Street betting came in as a result of that Act, and a special Act 2315 had to be passed to put an end to street betting, that did not apply to racecourses.
In the result, any fair-minded person must admit that legislation about betting in this country has reached such an anomalous state that it is ludicrous in the eyes of the whole world. The hon. Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto) quoted a French saying that we English people are humbugs. I think if anyone were asked to give an illustration of the humbug that goes on in England he would pick on the betting business. I cannot go honestly into a bookmaker's shop or business place and put down my 10s. or so for a bet; I cannot go to his place and make a bet on credit; but I can telephone to him,, I can telegraph to him, I can send him a letter. Surely the history of our legislation on this subject corroborates what, to me, needed no corroboration—my knowledge of human nature would have satisfied me—the view that betting will go on and will increase with population, and that the most a Government can do is to control it and keep it in channels where, at all events, its grosser and more mischievous elements will be removed.
Why do I say the totalisator will tend in that direction? I was a senator in Australia, and I saw the totalisator at work there, and I know what I am talking about. In Australia, when the totalisator was set up, a deduction of 10 per cent. was made from the takings to be devoted to establishment charges, the upkeep of the racecourses, making the entrance charge cheaper, and beautifying the courses. It did not kill the big bookmakers. Of course it did not. Someone has spoken about bets of £10,000. A man who bets on that, scale will never be affected by the totalisator. He is a horse breeder, or a racing man, who is making that bet as a private transaction, and the big bookmaker must be there for him. Bookmakers exist side by side with the totalisator in Australia, as they will continue to do here. The cleansing effect exercised by the totalisator in Australia was that it did away with small men going around shouting "Two to one, three to one, four to one," when, in point of fact, they could honestly have given six to one. Also you abolish the excitement of the chorus of solicitation, draw 2316 ing the unwary to make bets which otherwise they would not make. [Interruption.] I am speaking now from the point of view of those who think betting is illegal—I do not—but I am speaking from their point of view.
With a totalisator you get a fair return for the money you put down—as far as science can do it. The totalisator is co-operative betting. Those who go to the racecourse put their bets on, and the winner gets the proportion less 10 per cent. of what is put on the horse he has selected as against the total that are put on all the other horses. That is a fair and scientific way. Somebody has said, "With the totalisator you can never know the odds." Of course you can. You have only to look at the board. You say "There is £50 on my horse, and £150 is the total; price—three to one." You can see at every stage the price you are going to get. The result of the introduction of the totalisator is that in Australia to-day there are racecourses which are models of how the grounds should be laid out, with their artistic finish, with their flower beds, with proper luncheon rooms and with proper tea-rooms. In Australia thousands go to race meetings not merely for the purpose of making a bet but for getting a day out in what are well-kept and well-tended parks.
I can well understand people saying that betting is a bad thing, and, therefore, that we should have nothing to do with it. I am not one of them, but I can understand persons saying that. They are probably the same class of persons who would say "Drinking is an unmitigated evil, down with it." But I think that class of person would say, "Because drink is such a bad thing, half a glass is better than a whole glass, and half a good glass is better than half a bad glass, and therefore we support a law which limits the quantity and, we hope, may improve the quality of drink." By a parity of reasoning, why not say with respect to betting, "Here is a bad thing"—if you like to call it so—"which we find we are powerless to stop. We have legislated against it for 100 years, but it has thriven on the opposition of Parliament. Let us do with it as we do with drink and mitigate its mischief"? As Edmund Burke said in reference to another matter, "Halve its viciousness by re 2317 moving all of its coarseness." Remove the "welsher," remove the small man who goes soliciting children and poor persons to bet, remove the wild chorus of invitation which now resounds on all our racecourses, and set up a quiet machine which cannot "welsh," which must pay the fair odds, which cannot solicit, because it is silent, will not take paltry sums—provision will not be made for them—and which will return to the public every penny which the public ventures upon this amusement or this excitement—less the amount necessary to pay the tax, to keep up the establishment, and to beautify the grounds and give other amenities to the public.
What do bookmakers live upon? You put your money on with a bookmaker, and he lives upon what does not come back to you. Does anyone tell me that is not so? [Interruption.] Does 8 per cent. keep 15,000 bookmakers? Of course it does not. In Australia they deduct 10 per cent. and there is no cheating there. After doing all I have said, they give a reduction on the entrance fees. I can scarcely believe the statement that 15,000 bookmakers who keep up such large establishments are only making 8 per cent. As a matter of fact, you usually get back from the bookmakers just what they choose to give you, but, under the totalisator, you get back every penny, less what is necessary for the upkeep of the racecourse.
§ Mr. HARNEY
Under the totalisator you get a scientific system. In the case of the bookmaker you may get odds of 4 to 1 at one time, and ten minutes before the race the odds may go up to 7 to 1. On the totalisator you may see a total of £500, and your horse may be running at 5 to 1. More money may be placed on other horses in the race, and the odds may change to 6 to 1, but the two columns are there up to the time the horses start. You back your fancy, and the odds are determined by the total bets on all the other horses. In this way matters are arranged as accurately and scientifically as pos 2318 sible. In Australia you get higher odds on the totalisator than you get from the bookmakers, and that is always so.
I have noticed from my own observation that very often the bookmaker, in order to get customers, puts his odds a little bit lower than the totalisator, and just before the race he goes to have a look at the totalisator and then adjusts his own odds to those of the totalisator. In the observations I have made, I wish it to be clearly understood that I am not binding any Members of my own party, and they are not at all responsible for my views. During the whole of my life, I have never been able to join in the chorus of those who exaggerate matters so much in their condemnation of betting. I also wish to say clearly that every argument I have used in favour of the Bill is not intended to be in favour of betting, and most certainly not in favour of betting among young people. In all I have said, I assume betting to be a bad thing, but it is a thing which the law is powerless to minimise. That being so, I welcome any suggestion which, in my humble judgment, will lessen the evil by raising its qualities and removing some of its mischievous effects.
§ 2.0 p.m.
§ Mr. OAKLEY
I rise to oppose this Bill. It seeks to repeal the Act of 1853. My view is that if racecourses are exempted this Measure will make them legal gambling places. The real object of the Bill is to place betting under the control of the Jockey Club and the National Hunt Committee. The members of these two bodies are not democratically elected, and they are to have absolute control of racing. The members of those two bodies represent the bulk of racehorse owners, trainers and jockeys. In other words, these two authorities are being given a monopoly to rule and run racing. Incidentally, this proposal will prevent numerous reputable associations outside who run and rule minor racing from enjoying the same privileges.
The whole scheme of this Measure is the creation of a great monopoly. The only people who make money out of racing outside those who get their living from it, such as trainers, stablemen, jockeys, caterers, waiters, and others, are the owners and rich breeders of horses, who win fabulous sums in prizes and then sell their horses at high prices [Inter- 2319 ruption].It is not often I intrude upon the House, and perhaps those hon. Members who are dissenting from my views will put their case afterwards. The Derby winner last year won £10,000 in stakes in that one race alone, and therefore it is true that money making is associated with horse racing. The particular horse that won the Derby last year was afterwards sold for £60,000. In face of these facts, it is easy to see that there are vast financial interests at stake. These people are not satisfied with all these earnings, but they wish to introduce a gambling machine on the racecourse with the object of obtaining through the totalisator another 8 per cent. or even more. To get this they promise the Government to give them 2½ per cent. The whole business, in my opinion, is self. A monopoly of this kind, in these days, is a thing which this House certainly should not bring into existence.
I also have listened to various speakers in the Debate, and I am interested in the question of a subsidy. I object, myself, to a subsidy, and that is exactly what this Bill would mean. As has been explained to us, its object would be to give a subsidy. I object to a subsidy being given, out of the tax on betting, to racehorse owners. Whether it is derived from the pari-mutuel or from bookmakers, I object to it because, in my opinion, racing does not need any subsidy. In fact, the figures which I have already quoted show that there is no need for a subsidy in order to get bigger and richer prizes. Racing would go on just the same if some of the big prizes were cut down. That would enable smaller entrance fees to he charged, and the prices of admission to the course lowered. I object also to a subsidy for racing because the present Government has definitely refused to give a subsidy to agriculture. Agriculture is one of our national industries, and it is an industry the workers in which receive the lowest possible pay. Why pass legislation which would allow, indirectly, of a subsidy which would enable rich breeders and owners to obtain still larger prizes and bigger prices for their horses?
If it would do any good to racing—I am not approaching it from the same point of view as some of my hon. Friends 2320 —I should not object, but, in my judgment, in every country where the totalisator has been introduced, it has been very prejudicial to the small sporting meeting. Such meetings have generally died out or become amalgamated with meetings at populous centres. The history of totalisators or gambling machines shows that, to make them pay, they must be near populous centres, where the public can be attracted in large numbers to have a gamble. In fact, in spite of our so smugly reproaching Monte Carlo with its gambling houses, this Bill will provide quite an equivalent by gambling machines on our racecourses. The squeezing out of our smaller meetings—and I repeat that the totalisator, to be successful, mutt of necessity be able to attract a crowd—will put many trainers of moderate horses out of work, and also their stablemen, racecourse workers, and many others who depend on small meetings for a living. We are told by the promoters of the Bill that these small meetings will not be damaged. In France, where the totalisator is in operation, there is 33 times as much betting done at the meetings round Paris as there is at the whole of the provincial meetings held in France. Moderate horses which run at these small meetings would have no chance at all the big meetings.
We have been told that, if the Bill becomes law, we shall see admission fees lowered and the entrance fees paid by the owners decreased. Let us examine the position and see if that is likely to eventuate, as some suggest it will. Just after the War, nearly every racecourse in England began to make big profits. Many of them put huge sums to reserve. They were approached and asked to reduce admission fees, but, instead of that, the owners of racecourses as a body approached the Jockey Club and asked them to raise the entrance fees to owners in minor races by 100 per cent. This the Jockey Club thought fit to do, and they brought in a rule for the purpose. Instead of charging owners 1 per cent., as previously, they gave permission for 2 per cent. to be charged. In face of these facts, is it at all likely that the promises to reduce the various fees are likely to be carried out? For many years past there have been three parties in racing. There have been the owners, breeders and trainers, and 2321 there have been the bookmakers and the backers. During the life of this present Parliament another party has been added by the introduction of the Betting Duty, that is to say, the State. The introduction of the Betting Duty was the beginning of the trouble in racing circles, with its tax on turnover of 3½ per cent, away from the course and 2 per cent, on the course. I should think there is no law that is in such a state of chaos as the betting law in this country. Notwithstanding the intention of the Government to take a share of the turnover of betting, it is still allowed to be illegal in one direction while it is legal in another, and probably there is no other example of class legislation in existence comparable with that in connection with betting. Every Member of this House can, if he wishes to do so, bet in perfect safety and freedom by telephone or telegram or letter; but if a workman, during his dinner hour, leaves the workshop and goes into the street and puts a shilling on with a bookmaker in the street, both he and the bookmaker run the risk of being brought before the Courts of Justice for breaking the law.
I venture to say that, if the Jockey Club had been as active and alive when the Betting Duty was first introduced into this House, and had worked as hard as they have done to get the monopoly which will be conferred by this. Bill, we should not have had a tax of the nature of that which exists to-day. Last year, some of my Friends in this House and myself tried to get the tax on the course reduced from 2 per cent, to 1 per cent. The course tax last year brought in £712,000. It reduced attendances at racecourses by £151,000, and those who suffered from that reduction were railway companies, caterers, and so on, and the Entertainments Duty also suffered. If the Duty had been revised last year as we suggested, it would, in my opinion, have given satisfaction to that section of the community who are interested in the industry. The Mover of the Bill made a point of the fact that the trainers did not oppose the totalisator; but how could they oppose it when they themselves depend on their licences for their living? Therefore, I think one can discount the point made about the trainers. The Promoters of this Bill may have been aware of the quotation about calling up 2322 spirits from the vasty deep. They did not do that, but they have called everyone, whether in this country or any other country, to their assistance in passing through this House a Measure for which they had to go to every extremity to find some support.
We are offered to-day the choice of a free vote. I venture to say that if, when the Betting Duty as it exists to-day was introduced, there had been a free vote of this House, not 20 Members of the House would have gone into the Lobby in favour of it. In my opinion it would have been better to have inquired into all the anomalies that exist, and to raise such a tax on betting as would have ensured the contribution of some money to the Revenue, which I believe all interested in the sport desire, but a tax of such a nature that it would have insured the co-operation of all, rather than dealing with the matter piecemeal in the way in which it has been brought before this House. For the reasons which I have advanced, I oppose the Second Reading of the Bill.
§ Sir ELLIS HUME-WILLIAMS
There is one phrase uttered by the last speaker with which I can cordially agree, and that is that the present state of the law in relation to betting is perfectly ludicrous, and one of the reasons why I am supporting this Bill is because I think it will be the first and, I hope, an important step towards bringing a little common-sense into the law in relation to this question. It is legal to make a bet. It is legal to make the contract, but you cannot recover the proceeds of the bet. In other words, the law says it is perfectly legal and proper for you to enter into a contract—after all, that is what it is—but, if the other party breaks the contract, you may not have recourse to the Courts of law to recover that which is due to you. That, in itself, is a sufficiently ludicrous position. Then, when you go on to investigate it, you find at every turn the extraordinary anomalies that have been pointed out in this Debate. You may bet on a racecourse, you may bet in a club, but you may not bet in the street. Opulent Members of the House may send a telephone or telegram to their bookmaker at his office putting £100 on a horse if they like, and it is perfectly legal.
§ Mr. MORRIS
The hon, and learned Gentleman is dealing now with anomalies of the law. This Bill has nothing to do with the totalisator as such at all. It merely repeals the Act of 1853. Would not the repeal of Section 6 of that Act add considerably to the already anomalous state of the law?
§ Sir E. HUME-WILLIAMS
I do not agree that it would. The installation of the totalisator, and the control that it gives to the authorities of the racecourse, would substantially reduce some of the anomalies in the existing law. At present, another absurdity in the law is that when a race meeting takes place bookmakers are allowed to come. If it be a bad system altogether, you ought to keep them off the course, but the extraordinary compromise which apparently existed in the mind of the House and other people for a long time has resulted in this, that they are allowed to come, but when they arrive at the racecourse either they may wander about in the fields without an office of any kind or they can be turned like sheep into an enclosure, where they make the air hideous with the shouts and yells which they appear to think are required. That really is an altogether ridiculous condition of things. If betting be wrong and bookmakers are a nuisance, keep them off the course altogether, but if betting be legal, as it is, why not allow them to come on to the racecourse and provide them with the ordinary amenities? This really is a very simple question. There can be no doubt at present that the bookmaker in many instances is making enormous profits. You have only to see the very substantial fortunes that have been left from time to time by bookmakers to realise that the profits have been very large. The totalisator is not designed, as it is in some foreign countries, to keep bookmakers off the course altogether. They arc allowed to go, and the large amount of business that is carried on by opulent persons by telegram and telephone may continue undisturbed, but what is going to happen is that you are going to take for the first time a legitimate share of the profits made by this occupation of betting and devote it partly to State purposes and partly in aid of horse racing and breeding.
2324 The reason why bookmakers have made such substantial profits is largely the difficult nature in existing arrangements of calculating what arc the mathematically fair odds. I think they err a little in favour of themselves, which is not altogether to be wondered at perhaps, but it is practically impossible under existing arrangements mathematically to calculate the proper proportions, and, if you stand outside the pen and listen to the chaos that is going on inside it, you may perceive, lost among the crowds of sheep who are enclosed in it, some gentlemen getting up and wagging flags and making extraordinary signs to someone in the distance, whereupon the odds will alter from hour to hour, and from second to second sometimes. They cannot tell. They have to follow the course of the betting as it is going on and adjust as they best may the odds which they think are fair. Here you have in the totalisator something which, at any rate, before the race starts gives you a mathematically accurate proportion of the profits which will come to you if you win. One of the great though indirect advantages which I see in the introduction of this machine will be that, because it gives the mathematically accurate and consequently fair proportion of the profits to the man who has backed a horse, the bookmakers will be obliged to do the same. There will be no possibility in future of offering five to one as the starting price if the totalisator has shown seven to one, and it will remove all this flag-wagging and gesticulating that goes on. They can even spare their voices, because they do not want to shout as much to tell people what the starting price is when it is indicated in the machine. I should have thought the bookmakers would have welcomed an innovation of that kind.
The real result of this Measure will be that it will give a fair proportion of the profits to the State and the owners of the race horses. It will enable the directors of the racecourse to make it a better place, to organise it with greater comfort, to increase the stakes for the entrance of the horses, and consequently to improve the breed of horses and make it more worth while for the small owner to enter horses, because the expense will be less and the prices will be larger. It is for the first time spreading the profit over a greater area, 2325 and, therefore, in my opinion it is doing very good work, if for that reason only. It is no good now taking up the position, which I can sympathise with and understand, that betting is an evil and must not be recognised directly or indirectly by the Government. It is too late. That has been done. That was done when the House authorised the taxation of the profits.
§ Sir E. HUME-WILLIAMS
I quite agree, and, if there were some suggestion now to do away with it altogether, we should be discussing something quite different, but there is not.
§ Sir E. HUME-WILLIAMS
That is just what I have been doing. The interruption which I answered had no connection with the Bill at all, but in common courtesy I was obliged to answer it. I am suggesting that it is a very reasonable and a very sensible attempt, not to put an end to the evil—it is too late to do that—but to impose taxation with advantage from the point of view of the taxpayer, and at the same time introduce at long last some order and some regulation into the occupation of those who attend racecourses, and, therefore, it has my support.
§ Mr. BARR
The hon, and learned Gentleman the Member for Bassetlaw (Sir E. Hume-Williams) has dwelt on the great anomalies that exist, and he has defined what this Bill will do. What it does is that it virtually gives the bookmaker a place and a position where he is held now to be a legal nomad. It gives the racecourse a position in law it has never had before. Does the hon, and learned Member for a moment suggest that it is going to relieve class distinction? I say that it exaggerates it, to give to racecourses and nowhere else these special privileges. I wish to call attention to another aspect of the subject. When the Betting Duty was introduced 2326 the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that he had no purpose of changing the law. He did not desire to make anything legal which was not now legal. He said further, speaking on behalf of the Government,We do not propose to invest a wager with any recognition, sanction, or recoverability which it does not now possess."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th April, 1926; col. 1707, Vol. 194.]We maintained at the time that the whole issue of the Betting Duty would be in movements to legalise betting in new forms, and that prediction is fortified to-day. I heard the hon. and gallant Member for Abingdon (Major Glyn) read from the speech of the Attorney-General on the occasion of the introduction of the Betting Bill on the 11th July, 1853, and I wish he had gone on a few sentences further. Speaking of the licensing of betting houses instead of prohibiting their operations the Attorney-General—I think he afterwards became Lord Chief Justice Cockburn—said:He believed that would be discreditable to the Government, and would only tend to increase the mischief, instead of preventing it.I now go on to show that, in my view, if this Bill should secure a Second Leading and the Government, as they have announced, should give it facilities, it would be discreditable to the Government and would tend to increase the mischief instead of preventing it. The hon. and learned Member for East Grinstead (Sir H. Cautley) gave a summary of what he had done on the Select Committee on Betting, but he also put out a challenge in an intervention, Where can we say there was any increase in the totalisator? He was good enough to say that the facts-submitted there had never been questioned. I will read to him part of the summary he signed himself in regard to the totalisator:They are popular with the majority of the public who frequent the racecourses where they are installed. Indeed, there is some evidence to show that they are an actual inducement to some people, especially women, to bet.I want to show how this is bound to increase betting. The Jockey Club and the Exchequer have an interest not only in the continuation of betting, but in seeing it increase. More than that, this machine presents new attractions, especially to young people. It has been stated 2327 by the hon. and learned Member for East Grinstead that you should regulate this evil. I say that there is no real moral regulation in this Bill. If you go to the Bill recently before the Victoria Assembly in Australia it will be seen that it prohibits and regulates as well. In many of the States of Australia it forbids any young person under 21 years of age from lodging a bet. I say that here you have an institution and a security given to the racegoers and not a single moral restriction introduced in the Bill.
There is another very important factor. Think of the capacity of some of these machines! The largest totalisator in Australia in one day will take 300,000 bets with a turnover of £120,000. The Select Committee had evidence given before them by Mr. Arthur Fawcett, whose name has been mentioned here to-day. In the "Birmingham Post" of the 5th of this month he said that it would benefit the course, but he says nothing about what he gave in evidence when he said, "I think it is a wonderful money-making machine, but it is a horrible form of betting." I was recently in Australia and New Zealand for six months, and I gathered some knowledge that I would not otherwise have had on this subject. There is no use giving comparisons on the one side or the other, because you must have regard to the increase of population in the country, to the economic situation of each particular year, and to the number of racing days. But let me give a little of my experience and the knowledge which I would not have acquired had I not visited those Dominions. In Victoria, recently, a Bill was thrown out by the Legislative Council. It was passed by the Legislative Assembly in the first instance by 25 to 16, and it was thrown out by the Legislative Council by 19 to 12. I read the whole of the discussion, and it was all founded on the knowledge that in the other States of Australia it had not diminished but had increased betting. In Western Australia it has been stationary practically from 1921 until now. In New South Wales there was a steady rise from 1916 to 1922, but since then until now a decrease to an amount of £636,000. There has been a decrease also in Tasmania. I will explain these figures, first of all, in the words of the hon. and gallant Gentle 2328 man who introduced this Bill. He said in a recent utterance:Experience in one State of Australia has already shown that to put the tax too high reduces the volume of business. In other words, it is the strangling of the goose that lays the golden egg. That is bad policy, and is the best safeguard for the future.But the hon. and gallant Gentleman is not going to strangle the goose, but the goose that frequents the racecourse is going to be induced to lay more golden eggs for the Jockey Club and for the Revenue. After all, in some cases, they go from the totalisator back to the bookmaker. We have heard of mathematics. If it is a rank outsider that comes in, fabulous sums may be obtained from the totalisator. As a matter of fact, I find that there has been a record in New Zealand of 890 to 1, in France of 1,200 to 1, and at Poona in India of 1,710 to 1. In spite of all that, we have the "Sydney Herald" declaring:It is quite evident that the totalisator will in no way diminish the amount of betting; it will increase it.There has been a steady rise in Queens-land and in South Australia. It is a remarkable fact that the totalisator was introduced in South Australia by Sir Richard Baker, who within three years, because he had seen its working and because it increased betting, introduced a Bill to cancel his former introduction of the totalisator. In New Zealand it was introduced by a man whom we regarded with honour, the late Richard Seddon, and towards the close of his life he admitted that it had added greatly to the practice of gambling. The hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Harney) spoke of the evils of betting as being greatly exaggerated. Who exaggerates them? Did Mr. Justice Grantham exaggerate them when he said thatGambling with bookmakers is the cause of more crime and misery than anything else in the land"?Lord Beaconsfield saidThe turf was a vast engine of national demoralisation.Why, then, should we support this Bill? What reasons have been given why we should support it? I will deal with a few of the reasons which have been given. First of all, we have been asked to support it on the ground of revenue. On that point I would quote the words used 2329 by James Martin in 1794, when the same argument about revenue was introduced in connection with the slave trade:He never expected to hear that the everlasting laws of righteousness were to give way to imaginary, political, and commercial expediency; and that multitudes of our fellow creatures, several scores of thousands annually, were to be reduced to the most wretched of all states in order that individuals might enjoy a greater degree of opulence or that the State might collect somewhat more for its revenue.The question of the breeding of horses has been raised. I know something about horses. I was brought up on a farm, and I know something even of thoroughbreds. I maintain that the running of horses for a short distance and a few minutes in the intervals of betting is not conducive in the end to the staying power of the horse and the breeding of the horse. In 1844 a Select Committee of the House of Lords stated that even if it gave a stimulus to the breed of horses and maintained the purity of blood, and even if it made the British thoroughbreds superior to those of any in the worldthey would consider those advantages more than problematical if they were to be unavoidably purchased by excessive gambling, and the vice and misery which it entails.I am more concerned about the breeding of men than I am about the breeding of horses. I am more concerned about the finer moral fibre and that we should rise above "those lesser breeds without the law," of which the poet speaks, and rely more on the staying and enduring power of mankind itself. With regard to the argument in favour of this proposal from the sport point of view, "Punch" settled that question long ago:Although it suits the baser sort, What's sport to them, is death to sport.Further, the Bill has been advocated on the ground of charity. That is a sop to the conscience of men who will vote for this Bill who would otherwise have voted against it on its merits. The hon. Member for Brigg (Sir B. Sheffield) dealt with that point. The totalisator has thrown more on to charity than it will ever relieve of their distress. This scheme would besmirch, vulgarise and degrade charity, and it is absolutely contrary to that charity which is real charity. 2330Charity doth not behave itself unseemly; seeketh not her own.It has also been advocated in the interests of democracy and that the poor man will go with the millionaire. There are two great principles of democracy for which I stand—that labour is the ultimate source of all wealth; labour, not luck; and that the first consideration should ever be, not profit for oneself but human well- being and human happiness. I see in the totalisator something that seeks to give gain without labour, something which is callous selfishness, disguised only by the gilding of charity. One hon. Member said would cause intelligent people to frequent the racecourse. I say that this totalisator is an enemy to intelligent and disinterested citizenship. Some hon. Members have spoken of wishing to have clean betting and clean sport. There is something more that I desire, and that is, a clean demorcracy; a democracy that will have a love of pure sport. I want a democracy with a conscience void of offence, loving all pure sport and whose mirth as Kipling says shall have no bitter springs and no bitter outgoings. I want a democracy with moral standards which are not too good for human nature's daily food, but still high, noble, exalted, and thus—A virtuous populace may rise the while, And stand a wall of fire around their much-loved isle.
§ The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Guinness)
As the Government are taking no definite action on this Bill I wish to say a few words as the Member representing a constituency in which is situated the town of Newmarket. I will not go into general arguments. I recognise the scruples of hon. Members like the last speaker, whose conscience would be outraged by a change in the law which may in his opinion lead to better facilities for betting. I would, however, say to the hon. Member for Motherwell (Mr. Barr) that although he condemns the thoroughbred as not of much value he should remember that the same area produces the Suffolk Punch, and that we have in the Newmarket area the two extremes, the finest bloodstock and also the finest heavy horses. My argument will be directed to those who support racing and who face the fact that racing never has been and never will be carried on without betting. 2331 My own interests are quite simple. I speak for thousands of my constituents who, whether as owners, trainers, stable-boys, jockeys, or bookmakers, depend on racing, and I also speak from the point of view, not only of agriculture, but I think of our national advantage in the maintenance of the breeding of our blood stock, of which we have many thousands in Newmarket, and in which our predominance is unrivalled throughout the world.
In view of the uncertainty in certain quarters as to whether the totalisator is or is not in the interests of racing, and the very wide publicity which is being given to the alleged adverse result of the ballot of electors in the Newmarket area, it may be of interest to the House to have a little more detail as to the local position. I have taken every possible opportunity to consult the opinion of those whom I represent and who are directly concerned, and there have been very many well intentioned persons who have applied themselves to the task of informing me exactly as to what Newmarket opinion is or, in their opinion should be. The hon. Member who moved the rejection of the Bill I notice has one of those postcards, but he cannot possess the detailed information as to those post cards which I have had. I did not take a card vote, but several have been taken. The first was taken by the National Workmen's Council for Thoroughbred Horse Breeding and Racing Protection. That was an absolutely fair vote. Cards were sent out broadcast in Newmarket, and the result was very interesting.
On this vote taken about a couple of months ago, only a few dozen people took the trouble to answer; and there was great ignorance at the time on the subject. I am assured that many of my convivially-minded constituents voted against the totalisator, because they said there were far too many teetotallers in the country already. Then the Betting Reform Association got to work, and they took care to inform the electors of their side of the case. They did not send their cards by post; they collected them by means of canvassers, who were admittedly hostile to the proposal. In these circumstances, it is not altogether surprising that the return showed 1,750 against and 75 in favour. Then I was given the cards 2332 and had them analysed. I first eliminated 150 who were outside the constituency, and of whom I had no trace. I next had them checked with the register, and I found that just over 400 out of the remaining 1,680 were not on the register at all, although they lived in the district. Many were undoubtedly children. I then found that there were 500 and over who wrote from areas in no way connected with racing.
I know many of the people who signed these cards. They have told me that they signed out of friendship for a particular bookmaker who was a good fellow and who had told them that if they did not sign he would lose his job. They understood that the proposals of this Bill would involve the elimination of the bookmaker. From Newmarket and Exning, the area directly concerned with racing, there were 813 cards returned, which is not a large number when you realise that there are nearly 4,500 electors. It is less than one-fifth, and these cards seem for the most part not to have been returned by people who are directly interested in racing so much as in betting. These cards were never sent to the trainers, and very few of the stable lads, of whom there are thousands in Newmarket, had an opportunity of expressing their opinion.
This effort to show one side of the case prompted an instantaneous expression of opinion on the other side. The Jockey Club had held absolutely aloof from this agitation, but unsolicited evidence was provided as to the extraordinary confidence which the Jockey Club and the National Hunt Committee enjoy. There are 50 licensed trainers in Newmarket. They held a meeting. The Jockey Club sent them a form to fill in and return to me, but expressly asked me not to tell them, that is the Jockey Club, how they voted; and everyone of the trainers of Newmarket, with one exception, is in favour of the totalisator. I am informed that the trainers speak also for the stable lads, at least 2,000 in number, who are in their employ. I have to decide between these two interests.
I can understand the uneasiness of the bookmaker and professional backer. It is a new situation for them, and they are afraid, naturally, that the more profitable business will go to the totalisator, that the "mug's money" will be taken from them and go through the machine. 2333 They fear that they are going to be put out of action. I believe these fears will prove to be unfounded, as they have been proved to be in other countries where the totalisator exists. On the other hand, we have to recognise that the Jockey Club and National Hunt Committee exist merely for the purpose of promoting the interests of racing and the breeding of thoroughbred stock. The present position of the industry is undoubtedly serious, not merely because of the Betting Duty but because of the competition of other attractions. The attendances and revenues at race meetings are falling, and it is imperative that new resources should he made available for the encouragement of racing. The hon. and learned Member for East Grinstead (Sir H. Cautley) mentioned the Duty and suggested that it might be raised as a result of this Bill. I want to make it clear that the Government have no financial interest in this one way or the other. There is no thought of increasing the Duty, and there is no possibility under this proposal of bringing in the illegal or street betting. I do not believe that there is much illegal betting on the racecourse and, therefore, the Government from the financial point of view, are entirely impartial.
§ Sir B. PETO
Surely the right hon. Gentleman forgets that they have an interest in the automatic collection of the Duty.
§ Mr. GUINNESS
Although there may be a considerable leakage of the Duty at present, I am advised that there is no evidence that on the racecourse there is any serious amount of dishonesty in the return of the Duty. We have really to decide between the fears of the bookmaker and the desires of the authorities responsible for racing that they and the public, the racegoers, should get a share of the advantages of the profits which are now going entirely to the bookmaker. I certainly do not want to see any injury inflicted on bookmakers, but they are claiming a monopoly, and I do not think it is just, or in the long run would prove to be in the interests of the bookmakers themselves, for their immediate advantage to outweigh the greater advantages to the racing industry upon which the bookmakers must ultimately depend. It is very easy to exaggerate these conflictinterests. There is no suggestion what 2334 ever to abolish the bookmakers. Newmarket is overwhelmingly of opinion that the bookmaker should not only be allowed side by side with a totalisator, but should be encouraged, because he is of value to the racing community. There is no doubt that if this Bill passes the bookmaker will exist in free competition side by side with the machine. In view of the absorbing interest taken in this matter in my constituency I have given it careful consideration for weeks past, and I have no doubt that in the best interests of racing, the industry by which thousands of my constituents live, I shall do right to vote for the Second Reading so as to give the Jockey Club and the National Hunt Committee the powers for which they ask.
§ Mr. CRAWFURD
The right hon. Gentleman who has just spoken divided his speech, like ancient Gaul, into three parts. The first was an explanation of the card voting, and then he gave what he considered to be a counter vote in the opinion expressed by the trainers of New market. Let me remind the right hon. Gentleman that those trainers are to a very large extent dependent upon the Jockey Club. Does the right hon. Gentleman really think that when Members on the Government side of the House followed the Whips into the Lobby in support of the Betting Duty they really believed in the Betting Duty? No, they did not. They voted in the Government Lobby on that occasion lest a worse thing befall them.
§ Mr. GUINNESS
Is the hon. Member aware of this distinction? Members of this House vote under the eyes of the Whips, whereas the trainers of Newmarket sent me their opinions without any information being given to the Jockey Club.
§ Mr. CRAWFURD
Yes, but they knew perfectly well that the information would be made public and would get to the Jockey Club. Of course they knew. At any rate, I cannot accept the evidence that the right hon. Gentleman gave to the House, even as to the opinion of Newmarket trainers. Then the right hon. Gentleman proceeded to tell us that the Government have no financial interest in this Bill. Really that is crediting us with a little too much credulity. It has been obvious from every speech in favour of the Bill that the Government must have 2335 a direct interest. The objection of hon. Members who have opposed the Bill is partly on that ground—that they do not wish the Government to have a direct interest in a thing of this kind. The hon. and gallant Member who proposed the Second Reading of the Bill said nothing about the Bill. That is an innovation, even on a Friday afternoon, when we have some remarkable debates. Let me ask the hon. and gallant Member who moved the Second Reading, has he read his own Bill? Does he know what is in it? Can he find anything about the totalisator in it?
The hon. and learned Member for Bassetlaw (Sir E. Hume-Williams), perhaps even more remarkably because he is learned, was interrupted by an hon. Friend who said, "Will you talk about the Bill?" The hon. and learned Member replied that he had been doing nothing else. Up to then, however, he had not started to do so, and he did not start afterwards. This is not a Bill to erect a totalisator. It is a Bill to repeal the Act of 1853. Even if, by removing a, certain prohibition contained in the Act of 1853, you enable certain people to erect totalisators, you also by passing the Bill make every provision of the Act of 1853 inoperative. Does the hon. and learned Member realise that? Has the hon. Member who seconded the Motion for Second Reading read the Act of 1853? Do the Mover and the Seconder of the Bill know what their proposals are? If I were a bookmaker and this Bill passed, I would know that by the repealing of the Act of 1853 I was entitled to employ dozens of people to run about the racecourse outside the totalisator and everywhere else, inviting people to come and bet with me.
§ Mr. CRAWFURD
I have never yet in this House failed to give way to an hon. Member. I have very few minutes in which to speak. I have waited all day to get an opportunity of speaking, and I am sorry I cannot sacrifice any of my time. No one has yet tackled that point that 2336 this is a Bill to repeal the Act of 1853 and not a Bill to set up totalisators. Nor have we had any adequate reason, although the Seconder attempted one, why this Bill was introduced. When I turn to the Bill I find a memorandum attached to it, but the memorandum does not tell us why the Bill was introduced. It is true that the hon. Member said that the Bill was the direct outcome of the Commitee of 1923. If that is so, why has it not been introduced before 1928? That is not the origin of this Bill. The origin of this Bill is to be found in the Budget speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1926, when the right hon. Gentleman made several prophecies, none of which has yet been fulfilled, and said he was going to get £6,000,000 in a full year from the Betting Duty. The history of the Betting Duty is not one into which we can go at length to-day though at the proper moment it will be necessary to examine it. I would remind the hon. and learned Member for East Grinstead (Sir H. Cautley) that the effect of the Betting Tax has been that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has collected between one-seventh and one-eighth of the total turnover of betting in this country, and not more. That is the origin of this Bill.
We listened very innocently to the speeches of the Mover and Seconder of the Bill. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has collected the Duty on a total of £100,000,000, and what he has collected represents, at a conservative estimate, about one-seventh of the total turnover of betting on horse racing in this country. I make the assertion now, so that hon. Members can challenge it, that that figure is not very far from being accurate. The Proposer and Seconder of the Bill gave one reason for the origin of this Bill, but when the hon. and learned Member for East Grinstead got up we realised what its origin really was. His speech was simply a discussion of the relation of this Bill, and what was to follow it, with the yield from the Betting Duty, and he established the connection very closely. This Bill has been introduced and is being befriended by Members of the Government because the Chancellor of the Exchequer made a miscalculation which, even in the list of his performances, will be regarded as a failure. As a result of that he has reduced by £150,000 the receipts taken on racecourses during the 2337 past season. If you want to restore that sum of money and make it available for these very excellent purposes, such as improving the breed of horses, all you have to do is to get the right hon. Gentleman for the first time in his life to admit that he was wrong, and to remove the Betting Duty.
What you are doing now is proposing to make good that £150,000. You are proposing to extract from the poorest and most credulous class of backers in this country, enough money to reimburse the racing authorities for what they have lost through trusting the right hon. Gentleman. We have heard discussions as to the comparative advantages of backing with the bookmaker and backing with the totalisator. The hon. and learned Member for East Grinstead (Sir H. Cautley), who is always a very difficult man to cross-examine or criticise on these points, has said that the profit of the bookmaker was shown before his own Committee to be 3 per cent. on turnover. If you add the amount of the tax, there is taken from the public, through the bookmaker, 5 per cent. or 6½ per cent. Now that 5 per cent. or 6½ per cent., at present taken by the bookmaker, is to be compared with 8 per cent. which is the minimum to be taken by the totalisator. Who is going to bet with the totalisator? Is it to be the rich backer—the man who bets in hundreds of pounds a week? Is he going to have 8 per cent. taken off his turnover every time he makes a bet? Of course, he is not going to bet with the totalisator. That is why hon. Gentlemen opposite have talked about making the racecourse a pleasant place, to which wives and families can be taken. You are going to furnish attractively the parlour where the spider can entertain the fly. The totalisator is to be used as a means of attraction, as in Australia. The evidence given before the Committee showed that the effect of the totalisator in Australia was largely to induce women to bet.
There may be some contention as to whether this Bill is or is not going to increase betting, but there is no doubt about this—that such increase as takes place will be among those least able to afford it. The professional backer and the rich backer will not use the totalisator. That brings me to my second point; you are not only repealing the 2338 Act of 1853 but you are doing so in the interests of the Jockey Club and the National Hunt Committee. Excellent as these bodies may be, you are going to put them in the position of having a monopoly and, if they find, as I think they must inevitably find, that the totalisator will suffer in competition with the bookmaker, then things are going to be made hot for the bookmaker. I hold no brief for the bookmakers but the right hon. Gentleman was warned by the racing world that he would not get half the tax he budgeted for. He did not believe the racing world. Some people do not. I have heard of a boy who was asked to give the derivation of the word "hypocrite" and he said it was derived from two greek words a horse and, a judge, meaning a judge of horses, or one who was not to be trusted. If we are going to blame the bookmaker then abolish him; but as long as the bookmaker is held to be a respectable person within the law we should treat him fairly. It seems a monstrous principle for this House to approve, that you should create a monopoly in one or two bodies and give those bodies the power to make it impossible for anybody else to bet. I hope on all these grounds the House will reject the Bill.
§ 3.0 p.m.
It is the chivalrous practice of this House to grant an indulgence to a Member who is making a maiden speech. I claim that indulgence to some considerable extent this afternoon because, although this is not a maiden speech, it is the first time I have had the privilege of addressing the House during this Parliament. In the many hours which I have spent in this Chamber listening to the speeches of others, I have not added one inch to the many miles of the OFFICIAL REPORT which have been written since this Parliament met. It is quite unusual that one who supports a Bill very strongly, as I do in this case, should agree in any measure with the Mover of the rejection of that Bill. I agree with the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Kelly) that we ought never to have had to come before the House to ask for the privileges which are being asked for in the Bill, but that is no our fault. That is the fault of the bad draftsmanship of those who were responsible for Bills in 1853. We are asking 2339 now that anomalies and restrictions should be taken away which were never intended by the Act of that year, and were imposed on racecourses, not by the desire of the House of Commons at that time, but, I understand, by the ruling of a Judge before whom a particular case was brought. That is as far as I can go in agreement with the hon. Member for Rochdale. I cannot help feeling that he is starting a dangerous precedent by moving the rejection of the Bill on the ground that it is a waste of Parliamentary time. I think he will find there are different opinions as to when the time of the House is being wasted and when it is being well spent. From personal experience of listening in silence to many speeches, I have known of cases where Members have engagd in debate with obvious enthusiasm and interest, but the same opinion of that Debate has not been held by other Members. In this case, at any rate, the hon. Member for Rochdale has shown consistency because he is only carrying on the good work begun about 10 days ago when he and his colleagues allowed the House to be counted out rather than have time wasted by a Debate initiated by the hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Mosley).
On the Order Paper there was another Motion for the rejection of this Bill on the ground that it did not go far enough. I can understand the disappointment of my two hon. Friends whose names were down to that Motion. It must be very trying to back a horse to win over a mile and a-half and then see it deliberately pulled up after going six furlongs. I am glad to see, however, that they are not going to vent their disappointment by opposing the Bill as they are not in their places. Although these two reasons—namely, that the Bill is a waste of time, and that the Bill does not go far enough—are those which have been put on the Order Paper they are really a smoke screen for more important and sensible lines of attack. These are lines of attack which require and deserve the greatest consideration, and I wish I could do more justice to their importance in answering them. The Bill is opposed from the point of view of morality, from the point of view of the bookmakers, from the point of view that it is undemocratic and from 2340 the point of view that the Jockey Club is being given undue power and that there is a fear of that power being unfairly exercised.
I have only a very short time at my disposal and a great many questions to answer. I think I should say that, whatever some of the Opposition speakers may surmise, the Bill has been fairly fully dealt with, from both the political and the legal aspect, and I should like to deal with it, to use a very hackneyed phrase, from the point of view of the man in the street, and also of one who derives intense amusement out of racing and intense interest out of the breeding of racehorses, and who is not ashamed to admit that he does so. The hon. and gallant Member who moved the Second Reading said something, in the early part of his speech, about the industry of horse-racing, which was greeted with laughter and ironical cheers. If we are going to get a proper appreciation of this Bill, it is no use taking a one-sided view of it. The conglomeration of interests which actually culminate on a racecourse comprise very largely the question of the breeding of horses, the training of horses, and the upkeep of racecourses on which those horses can be run, and I submit that all three together entitle us to call ourselves the horse-racing industry. Otherwise, what is going to be the definition of an industry? Is a business to have a trade union before it is an industry, or is the mere fact that betting on racing is allowed to prevent it being an industry? I should say that an industry is a business which gives employment to a very large number of people who would otherwise find a great deal of difficulty in being absorbed in industrial life, and there is no doubt at all that horse-racing and the things that lead up to it employ a very great number of men who would otherwise find considerable difficulty in getting employment.
Further, horse-breeding is an integral part of agriculture. I quite admit that the breeding of horses cannot possibly interest arable farmers in the Eastern counties or in the North, but still it is a small and highly specialised section of our agricultural community, and it is one of the few that are fairly prosperous. We have a large export trade, we 2341 employ a great number of men, and in the breeding of horses we have to employ a large number of agricultural processes as well. We have to buy a large number of bullocks, and nobody can say that the fattening of bullocks is not a very important part of agriculture. We have to grow foodstuffs for our horses, and there again it must affect the industry of agriculture. I do not wish to labour this point, except to say that, in my opinion, horse-racing and horse-breeding, for they must go together, have for years achieved a position in this country which is really of considerable importance, and therefore, when for the first time in the history of that particular industry we come to Parliament with a Bill, I think it deserves the serious consideration of the Members of this House.
If I may, I will deal with the main objections which have been levelled against the Bill, and, to my mind, by far the most serious is the objection which is based on moral grounds. We have heard the most eloquent speeches on the subject this afternoon, but, if I may say so, they had nothing whatever to do with the Bill. The Bill before the House is not to decide whether or not betting is going to be allowed; it is to decide whether we shall have power to license bookmakers and to put up a mechanical contrivance called the totalisator. Speaking personally, I do not think the granting of that additional power will make for any increase or decrease in the volume of betting. It may vary from year to year with the varying prosperity of the country, but I do not think the mere fact of putting up a mechanical bookmaker is going to make any radical difference in the way of an increase in betting. If it is going to make this increase, if it is going to be this social menace, why is it strongly supported by Governors who have been in charge of Dominions, and who wrote to the Press stating that, in their opinion, the totalisator was an advantage, not only from the racing point of view, but from the point of view of the general benefit of the community?
All that we are asking in this Bill, which surely must be an advantage from the moral and police aspects of betting, is that, instead of a large body of betting being allowed to go uncontrolled in whatever direction it likes, we should direct 2342 it into channels where it can be properly controlled. There is no intention to increase the volume of betting in this country. I should like to have dealt more with that question. We have had whole speeches directed to that aspect of the case with great eloquence and with great sincerity, and another one is coming on to-day, but I have only the same time to deal with every aspect of the case that some hon. Members have to deal with one. A great deal of criticism has been levelled against the control which the Jockey Club is going to get over this money, and also against a subsidy being given to horse-racing. Those two points go very largely together. Let me say one word about the position of the Jockey Club. It is, I admit, an autocratic body with very great power, but it has that great power for the same reason that the Speaker has great power in this House. It has the complete confidence of the people in whose interest it exists. If at any time the Jockey Club overstepped the limits of the power put in its hands, it would lose the confidence of the country, and in a short time its power would dwindle — and rightly dwindle—to nothing.
Both the Jockey Club and the National Hunt Committee ought to give the public a certain feeling of confidence, because the members of those two bodies are not drawn from people who are interested in racing only. They are drawn from people who have taken a very great part in the political and administrative life of our country and Empire. Looking through the lists of those two bodies, there will be found names which, I think, would gain respect wherever mentioned in any part of the world. One particular member who has been a steward of the National Hunt has risen from that to take up a post as Governor in Australia, and I think that shows the type of men who are elected to these bodies. In these circumstances, there can be no fear of a monopoly getting into their hands. We are not creating a monopoly by the totalisator; we are trying to set up a cooperative bookmaker to break down the vested interests and monopoly which are admitted to be in the hands of the bookmakers at the present time.
I must make a brief reference to a letter from my father, a short extract from 2343 which has been read. I am sorry that only one extract has been read. It implies that he and I are moving this Bill for our own selfish ends. I admit that we are connected with one of the biggest stables and biggest breeding industries in the country; but what we feel is that, though the big studs and big stables are necessary for racing, the real backbone, the people whom we want to encourage, are the small owners and the small breeders. We want this money levied so that we can raise the status of the small owners, and encourage the smaller people, so that racing can go on on the lines on which we should like to see it. Why should a subsidy be given to racing? It is not a subsidy which would be dragged out of a reluctant public for something in which they take no interest. We ask that the people who make profit out of the business, for which they do not pay a penny, should pay a small tribute for those who are responsible for the financing of this sport. In every other country in the world where there is racing, some subsidy is given to horse-breeding and the raising of stakes of small owners. That money is not all given by the racecourse companies, but is largely provided by the people who run horses. The owners in the big races are running for their own and other owners' money.
In every other country, this subsidy is given by those who go racing, so why should it not be given in this country, which has far greater breeding and racing interests than any other country, where it is given with entire success. You never hear in, those countries any grievances or doubts as whether the money is well or wisely administered. The administration of that money can well he left in the hands of the Jockey Club and the National Hunt Committee. If they were to overstep the limits, and do things contrary to the interests of the country or of racing, the public would have an easy remedy. The Bill has been attacked from the point of view of the bookmakers. I assure the House that the Jockey Club have no antipathy whatever to bookmakers. I have found them a very much maligned race. Bookmakers and politicians have been made by caricaturists to look very much worse than they are. You should not judge a bookmaker from the odds which he gives you. 2344 In private life, you may often find that he is an extremely generous man, and a very good citizen. We want to set up the totalisator to run side by side with them, and we want them to do something to support racing out of which they get a living. If only we are given the power to license bookmakers, bookmakers will find that, far from having had an injustice done to them, they will really gain owing to the great convenience with which they will be able to carry on their business.
This Bill has been attacked on the ground that it is undemocratic. We have heard little of that in the House this afternoon, and so I will not dwell on that particular feature, except to say that betting by totalisator, where you can tell at any moment what horse is being backed, how much money is going on it, and at what price, must be a very great advantage to the small man who is not himself able to go to the owner or trainer and ask whether they are going to back that particular horse. Also, it is going to bring another advantage to the smaller men who go to races. At present they go racing in intense discomfort. With decreased attendances, the racecourse companies are unable to put down the necessary capital to rebuild stands and to give people comfort, and we feel that if we are able to licence bookmakers and to get something out of the totalisator we shall be able to give the public proper accommodation and allow them to have far more enjoyable afternoons. I am afraid that in the time at my disposal I have been able to make a very inadequate defence of the Bill. but I would like to add this. If you vote against the Bill on moral grounds, I really feel that you will be wrong, because I think it is a genuine endeavour to turn betting into controlled channels and to control evils which may arise from it. If you vote against the Bill because you think it will do an injustice to the bookmakers, again I think you are wrong. I do not see any reason why they should have a monopoly, and I believe, although they themselves do not realise it, there will be great advantages to them if this Measure passes. If you vote againt this Bill for anything that is outside those considerations, not for what is in the Bill, but simply for the things which you read into the Bill or the things you would like to see in the Bill, 2345 you will do less than justice to the motives which have prompted the promoters to ask you to give this Bill a Second Reading. It is for these reasons that, with very great respect, I ask the House to give the Bill a Second Reading.
§ Major HILLS
Very few minutes are left to me in which to put the case against the Bill, and I can only indicate shortly one or two fundamental objections which exist. First of all, let the House appreciate that this Bill puts racecourses, during the time that races are held, outside the operations of the statute law. Things can be done on racecourses which cannot be done in other parts of the country, and the bodies which control those racecourses are given powers which you and I, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, do not possess. The body that is concerned is, of course, the Jockey Club. It is a body with vast powers already, and this Bill will give it a right to tax. It will be enabled to tax the betting public, it will be enabled to tax the bookmaker. I object to the delegation of the powers of taxation. It really is a triviality for my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Abingdon (Major Glyn) to say to us that the right given to the Jockey Club to tax is comparable to what happens with the Entertainments Duty, for here we should give the Jockey Club a right to break what is the ordinary law and, in breaking that law, to tax the public. I say that is entirely wrong.
There has been some dispute as to the amount of money which will be realised. Anyhow, it will run into millions, and this vast sum is to be spent by the Jockey Club. In what I am going to say, I hope that I shall not give offence to anybody, but I certainly intend to speak plainly. The Jockey Club have told us the distribution which they propose to make of the money. After paying the Betting Duty and the upkeep of the totalisator, their first object is to increase the stake money; secondly, the reduction of the charges for entries; thirdly, to improve the racecourses: fourthly, the breeding of horses; fifthly, to improve the accommodation of the public; and the sixth object is charity. I know they are all good objects, but I do not think any outside body of men ought to be empowered to tax the public, 2346 and then apply the tax to their own profit. I do not suggest that those who control the Jockey Club would do anything dishonourable, and I know they are men of ability and integrity. I have no sort of suggestion of that kind to make, but what I ask is ought you to put any men in a position where their private interests conflict with their public duty. Hon. Members must not forget that these men who are to control betting are the owners and breeders of horses, and all that goes to increase the profits of racing will make the breeding and racing of horses more profitable. That is a wrong position into which we ought to put any body of men.
I could say a great deal more on the subject, but I intend to confine myself to two more points. I am not speaking for any special interest at all. I do not represent either the trainers or the bookmakers, but, nevertheless, I plead for justice to the bookmakers, and I do not think they ought to be placed entirely in the hands of the Jockey Club who are their trade rivals. You are giving to the Jockey Club the power to say to the bookmakers: "We are going to put on a tax which will drive you out of the business and put more money through the totalisator." [An HON. MEMBER: 'They cannot do that."] It is true that they may not do it, but I do not think anybody ought to be put into that position. I sincerely hope that we shall not pass this Bill, because it would put these gentlemen in the position which I have just described. I know the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been put in a position of great difficulty. I opposed the Betting Duty from the first, because I knew what was going to happen. I know the hon. Member for East Grinstead (Sir H. Cautley) also foresaw what would happen, and he has worked for the legalisation of betting. In that respect, he has been perfectly consistent, but I have no hesitation in saying that he has done a great deal towards the creation of betting houses all over the country, and that is a result which I do not think the majority of our people would approve Under this Bill, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will become a partner in the betting business. He will sit at the receipt of custom and take a part of the plunger.
2347 The Act of 1853 rests on two principles. They are self-contradictory, but I think they correspond to the views of a great many hon. Members of this House. The first principle is that betting is not a crime. I do not believe that it is a crime; I believe that it is a matter entirely of private judgment, and that anyone is entitled to bet if he likes. The second principle is that public betting places are undesirable in the public interest, and there again I think those two principles conflict, but I believe that they correspond with the general view of betting. There is a third principle, which is not included in the Act, but will be included in this Measure, and one to which I believe we all, or at least a very large majority, should object and that is that the State should come in, take a share of the money, be interested in the increase of betting, and become a participator in the public betting houses which this Act is meant to create.
§ The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER (Mr. Churchill)
I have been deputed to state to the House, in the first place, the attitude adopted by His Majesty's Government towards this Bill. It is an attitude which can be very shortly explained. The same differences of opinion, of temperament and of feeling upon this subject which have been reflected in this Debate, and which find their expression in every party, are also found in the ranks of the Government and of the Cabinet. I hope that I shall not be accused of irreverence, or of comparing small things with great, if I say that we are as much at sixes and sevens upon this question as upon that of the Prayer Book. Therefore, the Government refer for guidance to the sound and, I might almost go so far as to say, the unerring instinct of the House of Commons on large and vague general issues of this character. That is the first thing that we have to say—that the Government have no wish to place undue pressure upon or to influence unduly the vote of any Member in the House; it is left entirely to the decision of the representatives of the constituencies.
The second thing that I should like to say is that the vote which will soon be taken will be taken on principles, and on principles alone. There is no need to mix up with this decision—admittedly, a 2348 difficult one for some Members to take—those questions of detail, important though they may be, to some of which my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Ripon (Major Hills), who has just spoken so clearly and heartily, has referred. The Government have undertaken to give facilities for the further progress of this Bill if the House approves the broad principles; but that does not mean at all that we are committed to any particular form or detail of the Measure. Should the House decide to give this Bill a Second Reading, then, of course, there will have to be very careful discussions with the promoters of the Measure on several important and possibly controversial points. I have not attempted to thrash out these matters, because, if the House should decide, as it may do, to reject the Measure, then, of course, all previous discussion on points of detail would merely be love's labour lost; but, obviously, should the Bill be sent—as, indeed, would be in accordance with the usual practice in considering questions of this character—to a Committee, then we shall have to go into the question of the relations between the Jockey Club and the bookmakers, and the relations between the Jockey Club and the Exchequer.
I must say, however, that I have a great deal of confidence in these two bodies, the Jockey Club and the National Hunt Committee, so far as the racing sphere is concerned. I believe they have rendered enormous service to British sport. These bodies, known to be no respecters of persons, trusted to do their utmost to maintain clean and honest conditions of racing, and ready to strike the richest or the highest without a moment's hesitation, have invested the great national British sport of horse-racing with an air of dignity and prestige; and therefore I am animated by feelings of confidence in them. There is the question of their interest. There is their corporate interest. As to that, I do not consider that they would be wrong in studying the interests of racing, and of the Jockey Club as one of the powerful controlling influences in racing. As to their personal interest, I am sorry my hon. Friend put rather more emphasis on that than I believe justice would indicate. It is true that members of the Jockey Club have to be owners of racehorses. It is like the trade union qualification of hav 2349 ing worked at the job themselves. If the stakes for which the horses race are improved and the forfeits for not running a horse after it has been entered are diminished in consequence of there being more money available for the promotion of the sport of horse-racing, it is no doubt true to some extent that the owners of racehorses, a handful of whom are found among members of the Jockey Club, will find it cheaper to own these animals and to race them on the public racecourses, but I do not myself suppose or imagine that that consideration has entered in the slightest degree into the thoughts of any members of the Jockey Club in the attitude that they have taken upon this Bill. However, we shall have to have our discussions with them should the House decide to send this Bill to a Committee, and of course the House will remain in entire control of the arrangements, because all the other stages of the Measure remain open to it. Therefore, I deprecate altogether a vote upon this Second Reading being in any way complicated in the mind of any Member with any question of the form in which the general principle will be actually expressed.
I am also glad that the promoters of the Bill have not included dog racing within its terms, because, if so, I am sure the Government would have been obliged to oppose the Second Reading. It may be said that attitude is rather illogical, but these matters are not considered on chop-logic lines. There is a very great distinction between what was called by the Attorney-General, in his speech on the Betting Act in 1853, the great British National sport of horse racing, and other developments of the gambling trade which crop up from time to time and disappear again.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I do not know what classes the hon. Member supposes are excluded from Epsom Downs on Derby Day. Anyhow, there can be no greater nonsense than to represent British horse racing as the sport of the rich and greyhound racing as the sport of the poor. Nor can a Labour representative do more disservice to the working men of this country than by any chance observation thrown out in the course of debate to seem to wish to see an extension of these animated roulette 2350 boards at which working men and all classes in some of the poorest districts would be tempted to attend, not in the daylight hours to see a sporting scene, but night after night, at what is nothing more than a casino. I would not have expressed myself so strongly but for the remark of the hon. Member. We consider that horse racing by long custom and tradition stands in a different position altogether from other forms of sport and that it is one in which all portions of the country participate.
I have spoken of the attitude of His Majesty's Government on the subject of this Bill. What is the attitude of the Chancellor of the Exchequer? My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Abingdon (Major Glyn) who introduced the Bill, in the course of a very excellent speech, upon which everyone will congratulate him, said that he was animated, among other motives, by a desire to help the Chancellor of the Exchequer and to bring in a great deal of money to the Government. I am sure the House of Commons will see things in their proper proportions. I was looking in the autumn quite frequently at cartoons representing me being drawn out of all my financial difficulties by these little greyhounds racing round the track and so forth; and now in the same sort of way a certain number of people in the Press and out-of-doors have got it into their heads that this Bill is of some consequence or importance to the Exchequer. I am quite sure the House will dismiss such absurd delusions from their mind. When one has to raise revenue amounting unhappily to about £840,000,000 a year—and when the normal fluctuations in this direction or in that sway the accounts by two or three millions, up and down, can it be imagined that any financial gain that could come from a rather more efficient collection of a small portion of the Betting Duty by means of a totalisator would weigh for one half moment in the mind of any Minister charged with the responsibilities which fall to my lot? On the contrary, if this Measure should obtain a Second Reading it will be my duty to consider the fact that the Totalisator Bill has received approval in principle, in relation generally to the rate of duty at which the Betting Duty should be levied.
2351 There is no doubt whatever that this Bill will be a hardship to bookmakers. What is the use of pretending that it will not? Of course, it will be a hardship to the bookmakers, and I do not at all complain that they have had their case ably stated by Members who feel that they have a right to have their point of view expressed. The bookmaker will lose by this Bill in three ways, first, because the odds that will be given by the mechanical totalisator will be the true odds and fairer odds than are paid at the present time; secondly, he will lose because, undoubtedly, custom will be diverted to the mechanical totalisator which otherwise he would have; and, thirdly, he will lose because, I am sure, the money which will be invested in the totalisator will to a large extent be the money of the simple public—what is called, I am afraid, in technical parlance, the "mug's money." [Hon. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Hon. Members had better listen to the rest of the argument before they cheer—What is called the "mug's money," will be, in the main, invested in the totalisator, and, after the deductions have been made, the whole of it will be returned to those people, at better odds than they can get from the bookmaker. Whereas, what is called the inspired money, which has information behind it, will probably still continue to operate through the bookmakers, and on that money there is little profit to be made. The bookmakers, therefore, will lose, and I think we must frankly admit it, on these three grounds: (1), by more severe odds ruling in favour of the public; (2), by the diversion of custom and diminution of turnover; and (3), because the class of money that will be lodged with them will be the best-informed money, out of which they are less likely to gain in the hazard of speculation on the turf. It is for that reason that I say it will only be just to consider the rate of the Betting Duty if the totalisator should form part of our betting laws.
I have said all that I have to say on behalf of His Majesty's Government, and now, as I have had to see a great many deputations on this subject and have been brought into contact with the question from time to time through having to pass the Betting Duty, the House will perhaps grant me indulgence to say a few 2352 words on the more general issue, before we go to a Division. There is, first of all, the moral issue. There is what is called the doctrine of the unclean thing. [An HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear!"] That excites the enthusiasm of one hon. Member. That is a doctrine which has become dominant in regard to liquor legislation in the United States of America. That doctrine is that the State must in no way touch the unclean thing; that it should prohibit it by law, and in no circumstances should derive any advantage from it. That is a very important and a very respectable kind of doctrine, but we have no reason to suppose that it has worked much better than the view which has prevailed up to the present time in this Island in regard to liquor, which is, that you should tax it, that you should not prohibit it, but that you should regulate this form of luxury consumption and should not hesitate to take profit to the State if in so doing you are also able to diminish the evil. The result here has certainly been that, while we have an immense, though steadily diminishing, revenue from liquor, yet, as we have respect for the law and very strict regulations. we have an immense diminution of the vice of drunkenness, of crimes due to drunkenness, and of disease due to drunkenness.
These are the two diverse views—whether you should not touch the unclean thing, or whether you should regulate it, by taxing it deter it, and draw revenue for the State. I say, frankly, that on the whole I believe modern opinion in this country is tending increasingly towards the second of these two views, not only in regard to liquor legislation but also in regard to our dealing with the betting and gambling evils. If you leave that main issue on one side, and everyone knows where they stand upon it, you come to the question of method: the question is whether there is any moral distinction between a gang of bookmakers shouting in a ring and a totalisator electrically working and ticking off the odds from moment to moment. I cannot see any moral distinction between the two. At any rate this is an issue on a different plane to the one I have just mentioned.
You may have a great discussion about capital punishment. Some may think it wrong, and some may think it right, but if you decide in favour of capital punish 2353 ment it is a very minor question, although one of some interest I agree, as to whether you should chop a man's head off with an axe or use the machinery of the guillotine. In this case, as in others, I must confess that I am in favour of the machine. When I am told of the horrible method of betting which it is proposed to introduce I am bound to say that if it is so horrible I am astonished that it is already in operation in every important country in Europe and in every Dominion of the British Crown, and that it has gained support in the last few months from newspapers as representative as the "Times," the "Manchester Guardian," the "Morning Post," the "Daily Mail," the "Daily Express," the "Evening Standard," the "Westminster Gazette" and the "Daily Herald." It cannot really be such a frightful and horrible invention if so many enlightened organs of public opinion are able to treat it as a proper matter for discussion.
I must confess that there are two practical considerations which lead me to vote for the Second Reading of this Bill, reserving full freedom to discuss details afterwards. The first is the undoubted improvement which will be effected upon our racecourses. There is no doubt that there is more betting done in England than in any other equal community in the world, and there is no doubt that it is done in more disagreeable and irritating conditions, more unsatisfactory conditions, than in any other country in the world. A year ago I sent two Customs officials to visit various race meetings—"Dilly and Dally" seeing life! They went to one racecourse near London and to another in Paris, and described the difference. I wish I had time to read it to the House this afternoon. On the one hand you had a hustling, shouting, roaring crowd, with the touts of the bookmakers thrusting their way in and out, an utter lack of accommodation, spectators jostled out of the way; enormous expenditure which really is a very serious deterrent to people of modest means; practically no facilities whatever for social amenities except for the wealthy who can go into the expensive enclosures.
We have to think of the sport and pleasure of the million. In France all classes go to the racecourse, men with their wives and families, and betting is but a small factor in the day's enjoy 2354 ment. The pleasure, as it has been described, of seeing the beautiful animals is enjoyed by large numbers of people, men and women, and betting does not reach anything like the height or vigour that it does here. I am all for that change. I believe that the contrast between British racecourses and French racecourses, at the present time, is a contrast between 18th century barbarism and rowdyism and the new civilisation that we hope the 20th century will offer for very large numbers of people. There is one other reason that the House ought not to neglect, and for this purpose I am going to read a very short extract from the speech of Lord D'Abernon in introducing a deputation to me a year ago. This is what he said:England has been till now the fountain-head of the thoroughbred horse and has hitherto supplied the world with the best stock. The prominent position of England is, however, threatened by other countries. France and the United States must be regarded as serious competitors. Thus the horse-breeding industry which, apart from considerations of international prestige, is of commercial value to this country, the volume of trade reaching considerable dimensions, requires careful guidance and intelligent support. The basic necessity is to retain in England the best mares and stallions. Fundamentally, this depends upon the prizes open to horses in this country compared with the prizes offered abroad. The best horses gravitate to those countries where the best rewards await them. This aspect of the question has hitherto received very inadequate attention here.I am obliged to the House for allowing me to express my opinions. It is, I think 20 years since I spoke in a similar Debate, and that fact is brought to my mind by the protest of the hen. Member for Barnstaple (Sir B. Peto), who spoke so well early in the discussion. He protested against this novelty. I remember well that 20 years ago, when I was President of the Board of Trade, I spoke on the Daylight Saving Bill. That Bill was received with the same incredulity and doubt and the same misgiving as this present suggestion, and I am sure that not only the Conservatives who were opposed to it, but many of the oldest and ablest minds in the Liberal party, were shocked by the idea of such a departure. Yet I am certain that no one would dream of going back on such a decision now, and it is my personal belief, which I venture most modestly to 2355 submit to the House, that when this particular piece of machinery is introduced into our sporting life the convenience and cleansing effect will be such that there will never be any question of altering it again.
§ Mr. MORRIS
I have listened to this Debate from beginning to end and it has turned on one issue. It has been said that the Bill is a Bill for the erection of totalisators. The issue in this Bill is a
§ totally different issue. It is whether the Act of 1853 shall or shall not be repealed, and, if so, in what form shall it be repealed. The Bill provides two things.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 172; Noes, 111.2357
|Division No. 41.]||AYES.||[4.0 p.m.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Fairtax, Captain J. G.||Merrlman, F. B.|
|Applln, Colonel R. V. K.||Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Mllne, J. S. Wardlaw.|
|Apsley, Lord||Fielden, E. B.||Mltcheil, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wilfrid W.||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Moore, Sir Newton J.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Foster, Sir Henry S.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent,Dover)||Fraser, Captain Ian||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Cllve|
|Atkinson, C.||Gates, Percy||Naylor, T. E.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Balniel, Lord||Gower, Sir Robert||Nicholson, Col. Rt. Hn. W. G. (Ptrstid.)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Grant, Sir J. A.||Pennefather, Sir John|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry cavendish.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Phillipson, Mabel|
|Berry, Sir George||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Plicher, G.|
|Blrchall, Major J. Dearman||Hacking, Douglas H.||Pildltch, Sir Philip|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skiopten)||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwlch)||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Blades, Sir George Rowland||Hamilton, Sir George||Remnant. Sir James|
|Blundell, F. N.||Hammersley, S. S.||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vanslttart||Harney, E. A.||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon. Totnes)||Ropner, Major L.|
|Bowyer, Capt. G. E. W.||Henderson, Capt. R. R.(Oxfd, Henley)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Rye, F. G|
|Brldgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Holbrook. Sir Arthur Richard||Salmon, Major I.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Holt, Captain H. P.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k. Nun.)||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Savery, S. S.|
|Buckingham. Sir H.||Hopklnson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W. R., Sowerby)|
|Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Horllck, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Smlthers, Waldron|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney,N.)||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)|
|Cazaiet, Captain Victor A.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hunter. Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Stanley, Lord (Fylde)|
|Charterls, Brigadier-General J.||Huntlngfleld, Lord||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Wastm'eland)|
|Chllcott, Sir Warden||Hurd, Percy A.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Hurst, Gerald B.||Styles, Captain H. Walter|
|Clayton, G. C.||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Insklp, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Conway. Sir W. Martin||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cenl)||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Courtauld, Major J. S.||Kindersley, Major Guy M.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Cowan, Sir Win. Henry (Isllngtn., N.)||Knox, Sir Alfred||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)||Lamb, J. Q.||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Loder, J. de V.||Wells, S. R.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Long, Major Eric||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dalrymple|
|Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Galnsbro)||Luce, Major-Gen. Sir Richard Harman||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Lumley, L. R.||Wilson. R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Wlnby, Colonel L. P.|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Macdonald, Sir Murdoch (Inverness)||Wlndsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Davles, MaJ. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovll)||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Wlnterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Davlson, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Macintyre, Ian||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Ellis, R. G.||Malone, Major P. B.||Major Glyn and Sir Berkeley|
|Erskine, James Malcolm Morrteith||Mason, Colonel Glyn K.||Sheffield|
|Everard, W. Lindsay||Meiler, R. J.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Huslam, Henry C.||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Hayday, Arthur||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Hayes, John Henry||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwieh)|
|Baker, Walter||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Burnley)||Runclman, Hilda (Cornwall, St. Ives)|
|Barr, J.||Hills, Major John Waller||Runclman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Batey, Joseph||Hirst, G. H.||Saklatvala, Shapurji|
|Briant, Frank||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Broad, F. A.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Scurr, John|
|Bromley, J.||Jephcott. A. R.||Sexton, James|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mol. (Rentrew, W)|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphlliy)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Burman, J. B.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Kennedy, T.||Sitch, Charlas H.|
|But, Sir Alfred||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Cape, Thomas||Lansbury, George||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhlthe)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lawrence, Susan||Smith, H. B. Lees (Kelghley)|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Lawson. John James||Snell. Harry|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Derltend)||Lindley, F. W.||Snowden. Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Davles, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Livingstone, A. M.||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Dennison, R.||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Stephen. Campbell|
|Duncan, C.||Lowth, T.||Storry-Deans, R.|
|Dunnlco, H.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Strauss, E. A.|
|Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Fenby, T. D.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aboravon)||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Gardner, J. P.||MacNeill-Weir, L.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Macqulsten, F. A.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Gosling, Harry||Montague, Frederick||Thorne, W. (West Ham, Plaistow)|
|Graham, Rt, Hon. Wm. (Edin., Cent.)||Morris, R. H.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Viant, S. P.|
|Grenfell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Oakley, T.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Groves, T.||Oliver, George Harold||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Windsor, Walter|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydvll)||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wright, W.|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Ponsonby, Arthur|
|Harris, Percy A.||Putts, John S.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Preston, William||Mr. Kelly and Sir Basil Peto.|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."2358
§ The House divided: Ayes, 149; Noes, 134.2359
|Division No. 42.]||AYES.||[4.7 p.m.|
|Appiln. Colonel R. V. K.||Courtautd, Major J. S.||Henderson, Capt. B. R.(Oxfd, Henley)|
|Ashley, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Wllfrid W.||Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Henn, Sir Sydney H.|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islingtn., N.)||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.|
|Atkinson, C.||Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Holt, Captain H. P.|
|Balniel, Lord||Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun.)|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Crookshank, Cpt. H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)|
|Bellairs, Commander Cariyon||Culverwell, C. T. (Bristol, West)||Horllck, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.|
|Berry, Sir George||Curzen,Captain Viscount||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. (Hertford)||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)|
|Bird, E. R. (Yorks, W. R., Skipton)||Davles, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Hume-Williams, Sir W. Ellis|
|Blades. Sir George Rowland||Davlson, Sir W. H. (Kensington, s.)||Hunter Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer|
|Blundell, f. N.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Huntingfield, Lord|
|Bourne, Captain Robert Croft||Elliot, Major Walter E.||Hurd, Percy A.|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Illfle, Sir Edward M.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Everard, W. Lindsay||James, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. Cuthbert|
|Bridgeman Rt. Hon. William Clive||Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Kindersley, Major G. M.|
|Briscoe, Richard George||Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Knox, Sir Alfred|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Fielden, E. B.||Lamb, J. Q.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks, Newb'y)||Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Loder, J. de V.|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Foster, Sir Harry S.||Long, Major Eric|
|Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Lumley, L. R.|
|Butler, Sir Geoffrey||Grant, Sir J. A.||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir N.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Macintyre, Ian|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Makins, Brigadier-General E.|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Mason, Colonel Glyn K.|
|Chlicott, Sir Warden||Hacking, Douglas H.||Meller, R. J.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Merriman, F. B.|
|Clayton, G. C.||Hamilton, Sir George||Mline, J. S. Wardlaw|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Hammersley, S. S.||Mitchell, W. Foot (Saffron Walden)|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunel||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Moore, Sir Newton J.|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Harney, E. A.||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Naylor, T. E.||Sandeman, N. Stewart||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Nicholson, O. (Westminster)||Savery, S. S.||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Penny, Frederick George||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Philipson, Mabel||Smithers Waldron||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Pilditch, Sir Philip||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)||Wells, S. R.|
|Pownall, Sir Assheton||Spencer, George A. (Broxtowe)||Williams, Herbert G. (Reading)|
|Rentoul, G. S.||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)||Sprot, Sir Alexander||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)||Stanley, Lord (Fyide)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Ropner, Major L.||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westm'eland)||Wood, B. C. (Somerset, Bridgwater)|
|Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Rye, F. G.||Styles, Captain H. Walter||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Salmon, Major I.||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.||Major Glyn and Sir Berkeley|
|Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.||Sheffield.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Hayday, Arthur||Potts, John S.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Hayes, John Henry||Preston, William|
|Ammon, Charles George||Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Price, Major C. W. M.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Commander F. W.||Hills. Major John Waller||Rees, Sir Beddoe|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Hirst, G. H.||Remnant, Sir James|
|Baker, Walter||Hopkins, J. W. W.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)|
|Barr, J.||Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield).||Runclman, Hilda (Cornwall, St. Ives)|
|Batey, Joseph||Hume, Sir G. H.||Runclman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Hurst, Gerald B.||Saklatvala, Shapurji|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Inskip, Sir Thomas Walker H.||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Briant, Frank||Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Scurr, John|
|Broad, F. A.||Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Sexton, James|
|Bromley, J.||Jephcott, A. R.||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. O. Mel. (Renfrew. W)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||John, William (Rhondda, West)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Buchanan, G.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Burman, J. B.||Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Burton, Colonel H. W.||Kennedy, T.||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Cape, Thomas||King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Smith, H. B. Lees (Kelghley)|
|Charleton, H. C.||Lansbury, George||Snell, Harry|
|Crawfurd, H. E.||Lawrence, Susan||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Crooke, J. Smedley (Deritend)||Lawson, John James||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Davles, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lindley, F. W.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Dennison, R.||Livingstone, A. M.||Storry-Deans, R.|
|Duncan, C.||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Strauss, E. A.|
|Dunnico, H.||Lowth, T.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Edwards, J. Hugh (Accrington)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Ellis, R. G.||Lynn, Sir R. J.||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Fenby, T. D.||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton. E.)|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Thorne, W. (West Ham Plaistow)|
|Gardner, J. P.||MacNeill-Weir, L.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Macquisten, F. A.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Gates, Percy||Malone, Major P. B.||Viant, S. P.|
|Gosling, Harry||Montague, Frederick||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on. Hull)|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Morris, R. H.||Wellock, Wilfred|
|Grentell, D. R (Glamorgan)||Morrison, H. (Wilts, Salisbury)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||White, Lieut.-Colonel G. Dairymple|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Williams, Com. C. (Devon. Torquay)|
|Groves, T.||Oakley, T.||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Grundy, T. W.||Oliver, George Harold||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydyll)||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Windsor, Walter|
|Hamilton, Sir R. (Orkney & Shetland)||Pennefather, Sir John||Wright, W.|
|Harris, Percy A.||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Harrison, G. J. C.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Pilcher, G.||Mr. Kel'y and Sir Basil Peto.|
|Hasiam, Henry C.||Ponsonby, Arthur|
Bill read a Second time.
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the Bill be committed to a Committee of2360
§ the Whole Housc."—[Captain GarroJones.]
§ The House divided: Ayes 126; Noes, 128.2361
|Division No. 43.]||AYES.||[4.17 p.m.|
|Alexander, A. V. (Sheffield, Hillsbro')||Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-||Burton, Colonel H. W.|
|Ammon, Charles George||Boothby, R. J. G.||Butt, Sir Alfred|
|Applin, Colonel R. V. K.||Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Cape, Thomas|
|Baker, J. (Wolverhampton, Bilston)||Briant, Frank||Charleton, H. C.|
|Baker, Walter||Broad, F. A.||Crawfurd, H. E.|
|Barr, J.||Bromley, J.||Dennlson, R.|
|Batey, Joseph||Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Duncan, C.|
|Beckett, Sir Gervase (Leeds, N.)||Buchanan, G.||Dunnico, H.|
|Edwardt, J. Hugh (Accrington)||King, Commodore Henry Douglas||Salter, Dr. Aifred|
|Ellis, R. G.||Lansbury, George||Scurr, John|
|Fenby, T. D.||Lawrence, Susar:||Sexton, James|
|Fraser, Captain Ian||Lawson, John James||Shaw, Lt.-Col. A. D. Mcl. (Renfrew, W.)|
|Gardner, J. P.||Lindley, F. W.||Shaw, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Preston)|
|Garro-Jones, Captain G. M.||Livingstone, A. M.||Shepherd, Arthur Lewis|
|Gates, Percy||Lloyd, Cyril E. (Dudley)||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Gosling, Harry||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Vere||Slesser, Sir Henry H.|
|Greene, W. P. Crawford||Lynn, Sir Robert J.||Smith, Ben (Bermondsey, Rotherhithe)|
|Grentell, D. R. (Glamorgan)||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Aberavon)||Smith, H. B. Lees (Kelghley)|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley||Macdonald, R. (Glasgow, Cathcart)||Snell, Harry|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||MacNeill-Weir, L.||Snowden, Rt. Hon. Philip|
|Groves, T.||Macquisten, F. A.||Spoor, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Charles|
|Grundy T. W.||Malone, Major P. B.||Stephen, Campbell|
|Hall, G. H. (Merthyr Tydyll)||Maxton, James||Storry-Deans, R.|
|Harris, Percy A.||Montague, Frederick||Strauss, E. A.|
|Harrison, G. J. C.||Moore, Lieut.-Colonel T. C. R. (Ayr)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Harvey, G. (Lambeth, Kennington)||Morrison, H. (Wilts. Salisbury)||Thomas, Sir Robert John (Anglesey)|
|Hasiam, Henry C.||Morrison, R. C. (Tottenham, N.)||Thompson, Luke (Sunderland)|
|Hayday, Arthur||Maylor. T. E.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton, E.)|
|Hayes, John Henry||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Thorne, W. (West Ham, plaistow)|
|Henderson, Right Hon. A. (Burnley)||Oakley, T.||Varley, Frank B.|
|Hills, Major John Waller||Oliver, George Harold||Viant, S. P.|
|Hirst, G, H.||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Ward, Lt.-Col. A. L. (Kingston-on-Hull)|
|Hopkins, J. W. W.||Pethick-Lawrence, F. W.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Hudson, J. H. (Huddersfield)||Pilcher, G.||Williams, Com. C. (Devon, Torquay)|
|Hurst, Gerald B.||Ponsonby, Arthur||Williams, T. (York, Don Valley)|
|Jackson, Sir H. (Wandsworth, Cen'l)||Potts, John S.||Wilson, R. R. (Stafford, Lichfield)|
|Jenkins, W. (Glamorgan, Neath)||Price, Major C. W. M.||Windsor, Walter|
|John, William (Rnondda, West)||Rees, Sir Beddoe||windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Remnant, Sir James||Wood, E. (Chest'r, Stalyb'ge & Hyde)|
|Jones, T. I. Mardy (Pontypridd)||Roberts, Rt. Hon. F. O. (W. Bromwich)||Wright, W.|
|Kelly, W. T,||Runciman, Hilda (Cornwall, St. Ives)|
|Kennedy, T.||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Kenworthy, Lt.-Com. Hon. Joseph M.||Saklatvala, Shapurji||Sir Basil Peto and Mr. Morris.|
|Alexander, E. E. (Leyton)||Gower, Sir Robert||Morrison-Bell, Sir Arthur Clive|
|Astor, Maj. Hn. John J. (Kent, Dover)||Grant, Sir J. A.||Nicholson, O. (Westminster)|
|Balniel, Lord||Graltan-Doyle, Sir N.||Penny, Frederick George|
|Beamish, Rear-Admiral T. P. H.||Grenfell, Edward C. (City of London)||Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)|
|Bellairs, Commander Carlyon||Guinness, Rt. Hon. Walter E.||Peto, G. (Somerset, Frome)|
|Berry, Sir George||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Philipson, Mabel|
|Birchall, Major J. Dearman||Hacking, Douglas H.||Pilditch, Sir Philip|
|Blundell, F. N.||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Bowater, Col. Sir T. Vansittart||Hamilton, Sir George||Rentoul, G. S.|
|Brassey, Sir Leonard||Hammersley, S. S.||Richardson, Sir P. W. (Sur'y, Ch'ts'y)|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Harmsworth, Hon. E. C. (Kent)||Roberts, Sir Samuel (Hereford)|
|Broun-Lindsay, Major H.||Harney, E. A.||Ropner, Major L.|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks, Newb'y)||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Buckingham, Sir H.||Henderson,Capt. R. R.(Oxf'd, Henley)||Rye, F G|
|Burgoyne, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Alan||Henn, Sir Sydney H.||Salmon, Major I.|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Hennessy, Major Sir G. R. J.||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Cazalet, Captain Victor A.||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Sandeman, N. Stewart|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Sir Evelyn (Aston)||Hope, Capt. A. O. J. (Warw'k, Nun,)||Savery, S S.|
|Chadwick, Sir Robert Burton||Hopkinson, Sir A. (Eng. Universities)||Shaw, R. G. (Yorks, W.R., Sowerby)|
|Charteris, Brigadier-General J.||Horlick, Lieut.-Colonel J. N.||Slaney, Major P. Kenyon|
|Chilcott, Sir Warden||Howard-Bury, Colonel C. K.||Smithers, Waldron|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Somerville, A. A. (Windsor)|
|Clayton, G. C.||Hume, Sir G. H.||Spencer, G. A. (Broxtowe)|
|Cockerill, Brig.-General Sir George||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Spender-Clay, Colonel H.|
|Conway, Sir W. Martin||Huntingfield, Lord||Sprot, Sir Alexander|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Hurd, Percy A.||Stanley, Lord (Fyide)|
|Courtauld, Major J. S||Hutchison, Sir Robert (Montrose)||Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Weetm'eland)|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir G. L.||Iliffe, Sir Edward M.||Steel, Major Samuel Strang|
|Cowan, Sir Wm. Henry (Islingtn., N.)||Kingersley, Major G. M.||Styles, Captain H Walter|
|Craig, Capt. Rt. Hon. C. C. (Antrim)||Knox, Sir Alfred||Sykes, Major-Gen. Sir Frederick H.|
|Crookshank, Col. C. de W. (Berwick)||Lamb, J. Q.||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Crookshank,Cpt.H. (Lindsey, Gainsbro)||Loder, J. de V.||Warner, Brigadier-General W. W.|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Lumley, L. R.||Warrender, Sir Victor|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset.Yeoyll)||MacAndrew, Major Charles Glen||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Davlson, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Watson, Rt. Hon. W. (Carlisle)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Maclntyre, Ian||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Elliot, Major Walter E.||Macnaghten, Hon. Sir Malcolm||Wells, S. R.|
|Erskine, Lord (Somerset, Weston-s-M.)||Makins, Brigadier-General E.||White, Lieut.-Col. Sir G. Dairymple-|
|Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Mason, Colonel Glyn K.||Winby, Colonel L. P.|
|Evorard, W. Lindsay||Meller, R. J.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Fairfax, Captain J. G.||Merriman, F. B.|
|Fanshawe, Captain G. D.||Milne, J. S. Wardlaw||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Forestier-Walker, Sir L.||Moore, Sir Newton J.||Major Glyn and Sir Berkeley|
|Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Sheffield.|
§ Bill committed to a Standing Comittee.
§ The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.2364
§ Whereupon Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to Standing Order No. 3.
§ Adjourned at Twenty-five after Four o'Clock until Monday next, 19th March.