§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading, read.
§ LORD HERSCHELL
My Lords, in asking you to read this Bill a second time it is not necessary to detain you with more than a very few words. When I brought before your Lordships a Bill some little time ago I alluded to the fact that I proposed to introduce this Bill. Your Lordships are doubtless aware that by an Act of 8 & 9 Victoria any contract by way of gaming or wagering is rendered null and void, and it is provided that no action shall be brought or maintained in respect of it. Therefore no action can be brought in a Court of Justice in order to enforce the payment of a sum due in respect of a bet. But it has been held within the last few years that that Act does not apply to the case of a payment which is sought to be enforced of a sum due in respect of a bet when an agent has been employed to make the bet; that is to say, if an agent be employed to bet, and he is paid money in respect of that bet, it has been hold that he can bring an action to recover the money he has so paid—that the implied promise to pay that money is, not rendered void by the Statute of Victoria. The consequence is that there have been a number of actions brought in recent years in the Courts of Justice which have involved several days' inquiry into betting transactions; and I think everybody has felt—cer- 454 tainly the Judges who have had to administer the law have felt—that that was a scandal: that when you have made bets irrecoverable, and the Courts of Law have refused to recognise them as creating, an obligation, it is not seemly that you should have these actions brought, and should,, indirectly, in that way enforce betting and engagements which the law considers it to have been mischievous and inexpedient to do directly. The present Bill proposes simply to remedy that state of things by making null and void any promise, express or implied, which would give rise to any obligation already made null and void by the 8 & 9 Victoria. The Bill provides for that in a single clause, which requires no further explanation, and I hope your Lordships will give it a Second Reading.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(The Lord Herschell.)
§ Motion agreed to; Bill road 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House on Monday next.