HC Deb 09 March 1966 vol 725 cc2367-9

4.37 a.m.

Mr. Albert Roberts (Normanton)

I beg to move, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to require persons receiving and negotiating bets on certain sporting events to obtain the authority of the promoters thereof; and for purposes connected therewith. I appreciate that this is not a propitious moment in the life of this Parliament to bring in this Bill, but, having given notice some weeks ago of my intention to do so, before I realised that Parliament was going to be dissolved on 10th March, I still feel that I should bring in this Measure. It requires a little pub- licity, it is a well-drafted Bill, and it is well supported.

Since the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act, 1963, was introduced there has been a change in the forms of betting, and I think that it is high time we looked at the whole situation. At the moment it is possible for a bookmaker to have a book on any kind of sport without paying any contribution to it. All kinds of sports are affected, and I can state categorically that this Measure has the support of the M.C.C., of the Rugby Union, of the Rugby League, of the Lawn Tennis Association, and of other sports. Most of these sports have very heavy overheads, and they are having a struggle to keep going. We therefore feel that if bookmakers are making money out of these sports, they should make some contribution to them.

The Bill does not mention horse racing. There is already a levy scheme in operation for this sport, introduced as a result of the 1963 Act. The Football Association to some extent has its own agreements about the money it receives. It is the other sports to which I have referred which I am anxious to cover, and I think that the Bill should have the full support of the House.

Bets are now made on the question whether one political party or another will be successful. Betting seems to be entering the way of life of most people. The situation is becoming very loose. I am broad-minded on this issue and am not against people being allowed to bet, but if bookmakers want to run books, or pools promoters want to run pools, they should make a contribution towards the sports on which they are taking bets.

There are many aspects of the Bill which I should like to discuss, but the hour is late and we have had a long sitting. I therefore merely express the hope that I shall be given leave to bring in the Bill, which has the backing of the sports that I have mentioned. The Bill has been well prepared and it should be given the maximum publicity. Many of the sports carried on in the North—including crown green bowling—are subject to betting. The National Greyhound Association is very keen to have restrictions placed on bookmakers. I therefore hope that the House will give me leave to bring in the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Albert Roberts, Mr. Brian Harrison, Mr. John Fair, Mr. J.E.B. Hill, Mr. Charles Morrison, Mr. Garrett, Mr. Gordon A. T. Bagier, Mr. Ben Ford, and Mr. David Ensor.

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