HC Deb 07 November 1934 vol 293 cc1147-50

I beg to move, in page 20, line 18, to leave out from "either," to the end of line 20, and to insert: to the provision of prizes as aforesaid or to purposes which are purposes of the society or, as to part, to the provision of prizes as aforesaid and, as to the remainder, to such purposes as aforesaid. We observe that under this provision some of the proceeds must be devoted to the purposes of the society. It does not take into account the fact that prizes may be presented by a donor, and the Amendment seeks to remedy the omission. The effect of the Amendment is that where prizes are presented gratis the proceeds of the lottery can be devoted entirely to the society for which the lottery is provided.

Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move, in page 21, line 3, after "money," to insert "or valuable thing."

This Amendment is consequential upon an Amendment which I have previously moved.

Amendment agreed to.

9.12 p.m.


: I beg to move, in page 21, line 6, to leave out paragraph (f).

This matter is very similar to the one which I raised on a previous Amendment on the question of the manner in which small lotteries can in future be conducted. My Amendment proposes to leave out the words: No tickets in the lottery shall be sent through the post. These words apply to the club or factory lotteries, which will be exempt and lawful when the Bill becomes an Act. I am certain that hon. Members in all parts of the Committee know the kind of lottery about which I am now talking. It is the type of lottery in a works or a club very often for the purpose of relaying the cricket pitch for the following season, and for matters connected with sport of one kind or another and the raising of funds for that purpose. I think that I know what the hon. Gentleman is going to say in reply to the Amendment. I have no doubt that he will rise once more and tell us that it is his duty as Home Secretary to see that the Little Puddleton Cricket Club does not fall into the hands of some unscrupulous sweepstake promoter. But whether he says that or not, I would suggest to him that there can be no real objection to tickets for these small factory and club lotteries being sent through the post.

I cannot imagine that my experience is unique. There must be hon. Members in all parts of the Committee who frequently receive applications from excellent clubs and societies in various parts of the country, in their own divisions and elsewhere, asking them to help in some effort which they are making on behalf of their club. Hon. Members, being kept busy here, generally write back, "Yes, send me a couple of tickets. Here is a postal order for those tickets." It is often done, I think, by hon. Members who are anxious to help sporting organisations of one sort or another. It will be a real hardship if Parliament is to say to all these small people who depend upon these efforts for the sustenance of their club—very often their budget will not balance without this sort, of thing—"everybody who takes a ticket in your lottery for the maintenance of your club has to attend and buy it from your secretary in person." Suppose a member of the club wants to take a, ticket in the club's sweepstake on the St. Leger or the Derby, I really do not see why he should not write to the secretary of the club and ask him to send the ticket by post.

The right hon. Gentleman, when he introduced the Bill on the Second Reading, told us how disappointed he would be if the country regarded this Measure as grandmotherly. Really, I think that if this sort of provision is to remain in the Bill the right hon. Gentleman must be prepared for great disappointments rather than great expectations. He will find that all these working men's clubs regard a restriction of this kind—there is no better word than "grandmotherly" for such a proposal—as an irritating restriction hampering very many excellent little organisations, and I am quite sure that hon. Members in all parts of the Committee will agree with me that the working men who get up these lotteries and organise these small sweepstakes are the very last people in the world to fall into the hands of unscrupulous persons whatever that may mean. Those who run a cricket club or working men's club are the last people, in the world to allow visitors to come in and interfere with their domestic affairs. They are very anxious to keep their own organisation under the control of their own members and I suggest that if the Government were to delete this Subsection and make it possible for those who wish to support the club to apply for tickets by post the right hon. Gentleman would not be opening the gates of Hades particularly wide. I do not think that the members of the clubs would be entirely demoralised or that the people who bought the tickets would be demoralised. It would have a beneficial result and would give the clubs some hope that Parliament is going to conduct itself more in a human manner than we have done since we started discussing Part II of the Bill.

9.17 p.m.


I should like to draw attention to two points. What will be the position in the case of a charitable ball where each ticket is numbered and it is intimated to the person who purchases it that a draw will be held and prizes given during the night of the ball? Thousands of such tickets are sent by post and I have no doubt that the Home Secretary has bought a number in his time. This Sub-section will hit very hard boy scout and similar organisations, where usually a programme is sold for one penny and sent by post, with the intimation that a draw will be held on the ground on the appointed day. It is usually stated that the numbers would be placed in a receptacle and that the draw would take place during the entertainment. If the right hon. Gentleman does not agree to the Amendment it will be impossible to sell any of the programmes in that way and to have poll cards or entertainment cards printed and posted, with a prize given to the lucky numbers on the night of the entertainment. Perhaps he has not thought how hard this will hit hospitals and organisations like that of the boy scouts.

9.19 p.m.


The Amendment raises the issue whether the post shall be used for the transfer of tickets in lotteries. Here, again, we come up against the practical and administrative problem. If we permit small lotteries to send tickets by post it is very difficult to see how we are going to distinguish between the small lottery and the large one.


Put the price on the ticket.


That would not meet the case. If I understand the question put to me by the hon. Member for Canterbury (Sir W. Wayland) with regard to a charity ball, it would be illegal. With regard to the question of the boy scouts, here again we are up against the problem. So long as the small lottery is limited to a branch of the boy scouts in a particular district, that is one thing, but the moment we permit—here comes in the question of the post—the boy scout organisation as a whole to use the post to send these things round the country to every branch of the boy scouts, that will be a large lottery and that is illegal. My duty is to stop that sort of thing whether it is done by a pure schemer or by any bona fide organisation. However inconvenient it may be it is impossible as an administrative matter to differentiate in this way between the small and the large lottery. I have come deliberately to the conclusion that from the administrative point of view we cannot allow the post to be used by either party.

Amendment negatived.