§ Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee, read.
§ Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(Lord Newton.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee accordingly.
§ [The EARL OF DONOUGHMORE in the Chair.]
§ Clause 1 agreed to.
§ Clause 2:
§ 2. "Betting business" shall mean any business or agency for the making of bets or wagers or for the receipt of any money or valuable thing as the consideration for a bet or wager in connection with any race, fight, game, sport, or exercise. "Tipster's business" shall mean any business or agency carried on solely or mainly for receiving money or any other payment for advice relating to bets or wagers in connection with any race, fight, game, sport, or exercise.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY moved, after the word "exercise" in the middle of the clause, to add the words "Advertisement" in relation to a betting business shall mean any announcement which contains any statement relating to or descriptive of that business, other than the name and address of the person who is carrying on the business but shall not include any announcement which is sent to any person at his own request."380
§ The noble Earl said: I wish, first of all, to thank the noble Lord in charge of the Bill for his courtesy in putting off the Committee stage from last week in order to meet the convenience of Lord Durham and myself. Lord Durham had intended to be present to-day, but he is, I regret to say, ill in bed with influenza. I also wish to explain to the noble Lord that I am not in any way antagonistic to his Bill. Indeed, the Amendment which I wish to see inserted would, in my opinion, not only not weaken but would strengthen the Bill and better secure the object he has in view. But before I deal with the Amendment I should like to ask one or two questions on the general subject of the Bill. Lord Strachie stated when the Bill was before your Lordships last session that it was badly drafted. I do not notice that the noble Lord has put down any Amendments with a view to improving the drafting, and I desire to ask whether it is his intention to move any Amendments to make the drafting of the Bill accord with his view as representing the Home Office. I also wish to ask the noble Lord in charge of the Bill a question as to the effect which the Bill may have on the ordinary daily newspaper. The daily newspapers, as a rule, have an article on racing, and finish up at the end with tips for the various races. Could that be called an advertisement of a tipster's business? Again, would the term apply to the placards which are put out, notably by an evening newspaper which represents the politics of noble Lords on the other side of the House, which is published at half-past ten in the morning and gives not only its own tips but the tips in other newspapers—placards which advertise that in this edition of the newspaper are to be found the tips given in the various other newspapers? Would that come within the scope of this Bill? Football coupons were mentioned by the right rev. Prelate the Bishop of Wakefield last year. There is no mention of football coupons in the present Bill. I understand that they are to be dealt with in a separate measure, and I ask the noble Lord whether I am correct in that. If not, why are they not included in this Bill?
§ I am entirely in accord with that part of the Bill which suppresses tipsters. The advertisements of these people are a real inducement to betting, and the more effectually they are suppressed the better I personally shall be pleased. As a matter of fact, the principal sporting newspapers 381 have already agreed among themselves to exclude al] tipsters' advertisements. Therefore I am very glad indeed that this Bill should effectually deal with this particular matter. My Amendment only applies to bookmakers' advertisements. I wish to see bookmakers permitted to advertise simply their name and address. I do not wish to see any of the flaming articles which we see about them, with photographs of their huge offices; I do not want them to advertise what their business is, or how large a clientele they have. But I want them to be allowed to advertise simply their name and address; and for this reason. The noble Marquess who leads the House knows that although the Jockey Club, the supreme authority of the turf, do Dot take any cognisance of betting, there is a body formed, on which are members of the Jockey Club, called Tattersall's Committee, which does deal with the subject of betting. This committee make it their business to inquire into any case where the integrity or solvency of a bookmaker is concerned, and they submit a report which the authorities of the turf are able to deal with to this extent, that if the offence is proved the bookmaker in question is prevented from going on to any course under the rules of racing. That gives you a very distinct hold over such bookmakers, and therefore you may be perfectly certain that any bookmaker who advertises in the leading newspapers, or, indeed, in any of the newspapers, is one who has not come under the ban of that Committee.
§ It must be remembered that betting is not a crime. There is no law against betting. It may be bad, although I think it is a great pity that people do not differentiate between betting and gambling, which is a very different thing. Betting is no more a crime than speculating in shares, and therefore you should not legislate against those who bet as if they were criminals. If you suppress bookmakers' advertisements altogether, you are going to do two things. In the first place, you are going to penalise the sporting Press to such an extent that, owing to loss of advertisement revenue, it is very doubtful whether many sporting newspapers will survive, and that would mean a heavy blow to the purity, not only of racing, but of sport generally. But you are also going to do something that, to my mind will accentuate those very evils which you are at the present 382 moment trying to remedy. You will lead to the starting all over the place of small bookmakers over whom you will have absolutely no control. You will have just as much, or even more, betting, but the bookmakers with whom the bets are made will be subject to no ban such as, as I have already explained, at present exists, and you may be perfectly certain that there will be a great deal more swindling and welching than there is now.
My noble friend Lord Durham, as your Lordships know, supports very strongly this measure. Before I put this particular Amendment on the Paper I consulted him upon it, as I look upon him as the highest authority at the present time on the turf. Lord Durham thoroughly agrees with the Amendment, and has written me a letter stating that he is sorry that in consequence of an attack of influenza he cannot come to the House to-day to support it. He says—
The Amendment appears to me to supply a necessary definition of 'advertisements' and does not weaken the powers of the Bill in dealing with pernicious literature.
That is exactly my point, and that is why I hope your Lordships will pass this Amendment. With regard to the second part of the Amendment—"but shall not include any announcement which is sent to any person at his own request"—I do not know that these words are really necessary and I shall be perfectly ready to omit them. I am informed that any such announcement sent out by a bookmaker at somebody's request would not be considered as advertising his business. If that is so, the words are superfluous and I shall be very glad to omit them. But I would ask the noble Lord how he is going to deal with the betting circulars that come from abroad. At the present moment a vast amount of betting is done from England with bookmakers abroad. Are you going to prosecute English bookmakers, over whom you have some control through Tattersall's Committee, for sending out these circulars, while at the same time bookmakers abroad, over whom you have no control, will be allowed to disseminate these circulars broadcast over the country? That is one of the points on which I hope the noble Lord will give the House an answer. Meanwhile I sincerely hope he will accept the Amendment which I have the honour to move.
Clause 2, page 1, line 20, after ("exercise") insert ("'advertisement' in relation to a betting business shall mean any announcement which contains any statement relating to or descriptive of that business, other than the name and address of the person who is carrying on the business, but shall not include any announcement which is sent to any person at his own request").—(The Earl of Derby.)
§ LORD NEWTON
My Lords, I wish to be the first to recognise the authority with which my noble friend speaks and the position which he, in conjunction with the other joint pillar of the turf, enjoys with regard to what is termed the sport of kings. I should like also to acknowledge the moderation of his proposals. But at the same time, whilst cheerfully conceding these points, I am bound to say quite honestly that I do not think my noble friend is treating me particularly well. When I introduced this Bill I took the precaution, which I do not think has ever been taken by anybody before in introducing so-called anti-gambling measures, of consulting the people who really happen to know something about racing. I consulted, among others, Lord Durham, and as the noble Earl has quoted Lord Durham in support of his Amendment I propose to quote Lord Durham on my own behalf. When I introduced this Bill in December of last year the eulogies of Lord Durham were so strong that if I were not of an abnormally modest disposition my head would have been almost turned. Lord Durham then said—There is not a single member of the Jockey Club, not a respectable owner of racehorses, not a respectable trainer or bookmaker who will not approve of Lord Newton's Bill".He went on to say—It is a modest and sensible Bill because it deals with a specific evil.…It will not affect any interest which ought not to be affected, but will do a great deal of good and destroy what is an increasing evil—these betting advertisements and circulars. Newspapers have been warned for years that they ought not to receive money from these advertisers who merely gull the public and deceive the credulous, but they have taken no notice. I for my part am delighted that my noble friend has brought in this Bill, and I heartily support it.What I desire to point out is this, that this Bill is in so many words a bargain upon my part with the sporting authorities and the racing pundits. They supported this measure because it contained proposals of which they thoroughly approved. 384 On the strength of their support I rigidly confined the Bill to this particular point, and when Amendments were pressed upon me by right rev. Prelates and others with a view to enlarging the scope of the Bill I rejected all those Amendments because I wished to adhere to my bargain with the racing authorities. Now my noble friend invites me to upset the decision at which we arrived, and I am afraid that, with the best intentions on my part, I cannot concede what he wants.
Let me illustrate for a moment what will happen. Supposing this Amendment were carried, what will happen will be this. Mr. Gant and any other of the blatant bounders who send us their circulars every day of the week will send us envelopes with their name and address, and included in the letter will be another document, merely requiring the signature of the recipient, requesting full particulars, and, of course, in the event of their receiving this assent they will go on continuing to send these florid circulars to their dying day; and really we shall revert to the present position except that these blatant advertisements, instead of appearing openly in the newspapers, will be included in these circulars which will be spread broadcast. I desire to be perfectly honest with my noble friend on the subject of this Bill, and I cannot help thinking that he, like many other persons, is labouring under some slight illusion with regard to it. The object of this Bill, I frankly admit, is not to distinguish between honest and dishonest bookmakers, welchers, or people of that kind. The object of the Bill, and I am not ashamed to admit it, is to make betting rather more difficult than it is at the present time. The fact is universally conceded that betting is made far too easy, more especially by the daily Press, and I think it is admitted by every sensible and impartial person that some slight effort is required in order to check it.
Years ago I sat in company with my noble friend's father, the late Lord Derby, upon what was known as the Betting Committee, and one of the most important and most sensible decisions, in my opinion, that we arrived at was that it was desirable that betting should be confined as much as was practicable to the places where races took place—that is to say, to the racecourse itself. I have persistently 385 endeavoured to make it clear that in bringing in this measure I did not wish to deal a blow at racing, and if my noble friend is anxious as to racing being affected by this Bill I am perfectly willing to insert a clause stipulating that it shall not apply to racecourses. I confess that, as far as I am concerned, I have never anticipated any startling results from this measure if it ever became law. I take it that the position roughly is this. People who bet now will find it just as easy to bet in the future, because everybody who bets now knows to whom to go; but there are a number of persons in this country, especially the younger generation, who have not yet indulged in the practice of betting, and under this Bill they will find it somewhat more difficult, because they will have to make inquiries as to where bookmakers are to be found. The only persons, so far as I can see, who will suffer at all under this Bill are the very small proportion of the public who are financially interested in the sporting Press. And with regard to the Press, may I point out this to my noble friend. Whereas a small section of the Press is very strongly opposed to this yet judging from the communications which I receive the vast majority of newspapers in the country are strongly in favour of the Bill. It was only on Saturday that I received a communication from the Federation of Northern Newspaper Owners explaining that a meeting had been held at; Manchester, I think on Wednesday last, at which, I believe with only one dissentient, approval was expressed of this Bill; and this particular Federation includes, I am told, and I have every reason to believe it is true, every paper in the North of England and in Scotland.
Now I will endeavour to answer my noble friend's questions. The first question related to newspaper articles with which tips were combined. The sporting Press, in fact the Press generally, have been treated with extreme generosity in this respect. Every newspaper is allowed to have its tame prophet, and this prophet is allowed to expatiate to any length he likes, and nobody proposes to interfere with him. I hope my noble friend is reassured on that point. The second question was as to the circulars which come from abroad. That is a question which with more propriety might be addressed to the Postmaster-General. I take it that if a firm established abroad has an office in this country it 386 would be possible to sue that firm under this Bill, but as long as the Post Office do not interfere I admit it will be extremely difficult to legislate with regard to these particular people. On the whole I fail to see that the small section of the sporting Press referred to have much ground for complaint. Nobody interferes with their privilege of publishing the ordinary sporting news. Nobody proposes—at least I do not propose—to interfere with regard to the publication of starting prices or of the odds; and they have the liberty which I have just pointed out of employing their own scribes to give such advice as they please to their readers. If a section of the sporting Press do suffer as the result of the passing of this Bill, I cannot help feeling that it is, as was said last year by Lord Durham, largely their own fault, because they have been repeatedly warned. Yet in spite of these warnings they have been in the habit of opening their columns to people whom in their own elegant vernacular they would probably term "wrong'uns." In view of the previous decision of the House not to amend the Bill; in view of the fact that I, at all events, have honestly kept my bargain with the Jockey Club—
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
Not with the Jockey Club. I do not think there has been any communication with the Jockey Club.
§ Loan NEWTON
All I can say is that members of the Jockey Club assured me that they fully approved of the Bill, and a noble Lord who is a member of Tattersall's Committee came to me and volunteered the statement that Tattersall's Committee fully approved of it. But if the noble Earl chooses to rebut that statement—
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
I quite under stand that the noble Lord may have had communications with single members of the Jockey Club, but the Jockey Club as a whole take no cognisance whatever of betting and as a body have had nothing to do with this Bill.
§ LORD NEWTON
At all events Lord Durham took upon himself to speak on behalf of the Jockey Club in this House in support of the Bill. Although I should desire to oblige my noble friend, to whom I am under many obligations for various reasons, yet I regret I am unable to accept this Amendment; and I ask the House not to emasculate this measure, which I have already reduced to comparatively insignificant proportions.
My Lords, I did not intend to intervene in this debate, but perhaps I may be allowed to say a few words, having been for ten years a member of Tattersall's Committee, a position which I vacated on being appointed a steward of the Jockey Club. I can bear Lord Newton out to this extent, that my Committee empowered me to go to him and say that they agreed with his Bill in principle but were not prepared to go very much further in regard to the details. I am not any longer a member of Tattersall's Committee, but I am confident that the committee would support the line taken to-day by Lord Derby in moving this Amendment. I feel sure, from my experience during the ten years I was a member of the committee, that the proposal as placed on the Paper by Lord Derby would meet with their unanimous approval. In these circumstances I appeal to my noble friend in charge of the Bill to withdraw his objection to the Amendment, which in my view is a perfectly sound Amendment and will do not the slightest harm; in fact, it will help to achieve the object Lord Newton has in view.
§ *LORD FABER
My Lords, I desire to support the Amendment. But before doing so I wish to say that I consider that the noble Lord who has introduced this Bill has done very good work in one way, because directly his Bill was introduced the owners of the sporting newspapers came together and made up their minds from that time to thoroughly sift the advertisements sent to them and to cut out the advertisements of those who were said not to be able to pay and to cut out altogether the advertisements of tipsters. They went through the whole of their advertisements in this way, with the result that they have lost considerable revenue, but they desired to do what was right. They formed a committee, and that committee is open to hear any complaint brought before it about any advertisement inserted in a newspaper, and if the complaint is well founded the advertisement will be discontinued.
I confess that I was surprised to hear Lord Newton say that the Federation of Northern Newspaper Proprietors had approved of this Bill as it stands. I do not contradict that statement for a moment, although I thought I knew something about the opinion of newspaper proprietors in the north. But there is this difference between 388 the sporting newspaper pure and simple and the ordinary newspaper which has a measure only of sporting news. The sporting newspaper pure and simple has only advertisements relating to racing in it, and if these advertisements are lost the paper is very seriously hit. In these Circumstances this Amendment allowing of advertisements being inserted by bookmakers containing their names and addresses only would be of great use to the sporting newspapers; but if these advertisements are no longer in any case to be allowed I think that several of the leading sporting newspapers will have to discontinue publication. The result of that would be not only to throw a great many people out of employment but to interfere with the enjoyment of thousands of readers who take in sporting newspapers to read the news about racing, shooting, hunting, fishing, golf, and half a hundred things of that sort. You will stop all that, because these sporting newspapers will very likely have to discontinue publication.
Moreover, betting will not be stopped, but will continue in one shape or another. Look at the gambling which goes on every day in the produce market. The very essence of the produce market is the up and clown process. That is gambling. So are the operations on the Stock Exchange. A man gambles there on the rise and fall of stocks, and even if he is an investor he is more or less a gambler. Is it not rather Pecksniffian to prevent a bookmaker from advertising merely his name and address when he is known to be a reputable bookmaker while these other things are permitted? Shall we not be going far enough if we prevent the objectionable advertisements from appearing in the newspapers, and secure that only the names and addresses of bookmakers shall be advertised? If your Lordships do not allow this Amendment to pass I much fear that you will bring a great deal of hardship upon those connected with sporting newspapers, and will at the same time not do much to prevent betting.
*THE LORD BISHOP OF WAKEFIELD
My Lords, I regret very much that his Grace the Primate is unable to be in his place to-day through indisposition. As your Lordships are aware, the most rev. Primate has taken great interest in this Bill from the beginning. I had the advantage of a conversation with him yesterday, in which he expressed the gravest fears 389 with regard to the effect of this particular Amendment if it were inserted in the Bill, and I know that had he been present he would have made a very strong appeal to the noble Earl to withdraw the Amendment. The noble Earl told us, and we know it to be the fact, that he desires to strengthen the Bill and not to weaken it, but as far as I can see the effect of accepting the Amendment would be to leave the Bill in an emasculated condition.
As the noble Lord in charge of the Bill has pointed out, it was passed by your Lordships through all its stages last session without any Amendment. It was, so to speak, an agreed Bill. It represented at that time the views of thorough supporters of sport. The Bill is not a harsh and puritanical interference with the ordinary pleasures of the people. It does not touch ordinary unorganised betting between man and man. It is solely directed against excessive inducements towards betting, and is therefore aimed, not at the interests of pure sport, but at what all lovers of pure sport truly deplore—the corruptions which have grown like parasites around some of the most manly English sports. Under this Amendment as it stands it would be quite possible for bookmakers to continue to advertise in such a way as to hold out the same inducements to betting as before. It would only be necessary for them to insert, in addition to their name and address such a sentence as this, "Particulars cannot be sent without a personal request." Their names would be thoroughly well known and the inducements would go on exactly as before. One sporting paper, I was told to-day, had in view of this Amendment already issued a form which any person could sign who was desirous of betting, and one signature would be effective for all future transactions, so that instead of putting a stop to this great system of inducements to betting it seems that this Amendment would not close the door at all.
The Bill is not aimed at what one might call honest betting, if I may use the phrase. No one can say that betting is a crime. From a legal point of view it is very difficult to say that it is anything but a perfectly lawful pleasure and occupation. The thing at which this Bill aims is simply a gigantic system of trading upon the follies of the public, and the question before your Lordships is whether we ought to do anything which would continue to make it easy to engage in seek betting.
390 I approach this from an absolutely different point of view from that in which it has been brought before your Lordships by Lord Newton. To persons in your Lordships' position betting does not present temptations of the same kind that it does to large sections of the working classes, especially to younger members of the working classes. On this point I can speak from actual experience as an old parish priest. The noble Earl asked why, as the Bill had been re-introduced, football coupon betting was not included within its scope. I was extremely anxious to include that on the last occasion, and I am still very anxious that some steps should be taken to stem the tide of a rapidly increasing evil in the North of England—a more rapidly increasing evil than I think could be possibly comprehended by many of your Lordships. We know that among the working classes betting becomes in many cases almost as great a craving as intemperance and lust, that thousands of homes are ruined by it, and that young people are drawn into its toils by these advertisements. Surely the object of our legislation should be to make it more difficult for such young people to be drawn into what to them certainly is the evil and mischievous habit of betting.
I would ask your Lordships, from this point of view, to pause before you admit an Amendment of this kind. It may seem that the Amendment does not go very far, but I have consulted several persons who have had experience and I am told that it would certainly not close the door to any appreciable extent to the evils which already take place in consequence of the widespread advertisements of bookmakers, not only abroad but at home. The noble Earl asked why we should let alone those who work from abroad and punish only those at home. I am quite certain that everyone here would like to put his hand upon these men who dare not live in England but conduct their business from abroad. But is that any reason why we should not do what we can at home? You may say it is not fair, but let us at all events do what we can. If this system of advertising is really creating mischief—and I know it to be creating great mischief especially among the younger members of the working classes—then I say let us do what we can to suppress it, and I trust the noble Earl will see his way to withdraw his Amendment.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
My Lords, I am sorry to intervene again, but I should like to deal with the one or two points that have been raised. The noble Lord in charge of the Bill rather gave the impression that I wished to encourage betting, but I am glad that the right rev. Prelate acknowledges that I am honestly trying to strengthen rather than to minimise the Bill. I believe that if you stop the advertisements of bookmakers over whom you have control you will send the betting to places abroad over which you have no control, and that you will start a great number of small bookmakers all over the place who will not advertise but who will be known in their respective localities and over whom Tattersall's Committee and racing officials generally will have no control. It is because I honestly believe that unless this Amendment is introduced the cure will be worse than the disease that I have moved it. The only amount of advertising that would be allowed would be the bookmaker's name and address, in the same way that we see announced in the newspapers that Lord So-and-So has arrived in London and is staying at such and such an hotel. The bookmaker will not be able to state what his business is. Lord Newton said that circulars would still continue to be sent round. I admit that there may be some force in that argument. I am quite in accord with him in wishing to stop these betting circulars, and if it would in any way help to secure the adoption of this Amendment I would be quite willing to leave out the words "but shall not include any announcement which is sent to any person at his own request," leaving the Amendment simply and solely as giving power to a man to advertise his name and address in the public Press.
§ *LORD SANDERSON
My Lords, I wish to make a further appeal to the noble Earl. The Betting Acts of 1853 and 1874 were designed to prevent betting houses and the advertisements of betting houses. Those Acts have been evaded by the removal of betting houses to places abroad, while advertisements of the business are still published in this country. Of that the Committee of 1902 were made aware, and they recommended that Section 7 of the Act of 1853 should be extended so as to include advertisements in this country of any betting house within the meaning of the Act which is kept abroad. They further recommended that the Betting Act of 1874 392 should be extended to the advertising of information or advice to be obtained from any person or at any place though it may not come within the description of a betting house, whether within or without the United Kingdom. For the purpose of testing to a certain extent what the effect of this Amendment would be I purchased a sporting paper which by its colour will be familiar to many of your Lordships. The first thing I find is an advertisement of the person mentioned by the noble Lord in charge of the Bill. He gives no description of his business, but apparently finds that his name and address are sufficient. Another firm of advertisers describe themselves simply as a "sovereign firm," and state that their headquarters are in Switzerland. Then there are the advertisements of half-a-dozen other firms carrying on abroad this business which would be illegal in this country. The proposal contained in the noble Earl's Amendment now before the House is exactly the reverse of what the Committee of 1902 proposed. The noble Earl's proposal is that these advertisements should be legalised provided the name and address only are given and nothing added which is descriptive of the business. If this Bill passes into law it will, no doubt, be to a certain extent evaded. It was. I think, the first Lord Brougham who said that an astute lawyer could always drive a coach and six through an Act of Parliament. But what the noble Earl is proposing by this Amendment is that this House should open wide the gate and legalise these advertisements, and that these people should be able to plead in the future that a special exception had been made in their favour by the House of Lords. I cannot think that such a course is at all politic, and I am confident that it would interfere with the effective working of the Bill.
§ THE PAYMASTER-GENERAL (LORD STRACHIE)
My Lords, I do not intend to go into the question raised by the noble Earl as to the tabling of drafting Amendments, otherwise I should be inclined to ask him why he proposes to insert this Amendment in this particular place. Certainly the Home Office find it difficult to understand the Amendment. The view of the Home Office is that the first part of the Amendment is apparently intended to protect bookmakers who send round to their clients notices of change of address. There is nothing in the Bill as it now stands which makes it an offence for any one to send 393 round such a notice. The only effect of the Amendment, it would appear to the Home Office, would be to allow a person to circulate advertisements of a betting or tipster's business under cover of a change of name and address. That is the view the Home Office take. But they are not quite certain exactly what the Amendment means. I have stated what it is thought the effect of it would be.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I do not know how we are to interpret the rather oracular observation of the noble Lord who has just sat down. He spoke in the name of the Home Office, but I confess I did not gather what the view of the Home Office is in regard to this Amendment.
§ THE MARQUESS OE SALISBURY
I have often been puzzled at the meaning of terms used in an Amendment, but as far as Parliamentary language goes this Amendment seems to me clearer than usual. It is quite plain what is intended, though it is possible that there might be some slight modification afterwards suggested in the words. What my noble friend intends by this Amendment is to make a distinction between the bare announcement of the name and address of a bookmaker's business and any adornment of that name and address which might act as an inducement to the public to bet. Upon that my noble friend has advanced a weighty argument that it is rather dangerous to suppress these things altogether, and that if you drive them underground you will have to deal with a worse class of individual than if you allow him to show his head above ground. On the other hand, the noble Lord in charge of the Bill and the right rev. Prelate opposite contend that, as a matter of fact, if you open the door, however slightly, to advertisements of this kind you practically open it altogether. In their opinion even the bare announcment of the name and address of the betting agent is quite sufficient to carry with it all the other consequences, and that either by private arrangement or in some other way the victim will be made the target of these inducements and that therefore the Bill will fail in its object.
394 I have some doubt as to the efficacy of this legislation at all. I believe that people who intend to bet will bet. But I have been profoundly impressed with the evil of betting throughout the country. I am afraid it is a formidable evil, more formidable even than the great evil of intemperance, and it does almost more damage than intemperance. Therefore it seemed good to your Lordships' House to carry through to the present stage this Bill, in which rather drastic proposals are made to stop advertisements of this particular class of business. I might have had some little doubt as to whether it was wise to enter upon the measure at all, but it has been entered upon, and entered upon, as I have said, in deference to a desire to suppress a very great evil. It does seem to me inconsistent to step in now at the last moment and say we will prevent nearly every kind of advertisement but just the one kind containing the name and address only. If we are going to suppress these advertisements, I cannot see why we should draw the line and allow the insertion of the name and address only. The statement that we are threatening the solvency of the sporting newspapers does not impress me very much. They seem to me to command great public support judging from what we see, and I am sure they will survive this Bill. But even if some of them do not, I do not think we can go out of our way to keep them alive by making the distinction proposed in this Amendment, for which in my opinion my noble friend has not made out a sufficient case. If the Bill is to be passed at all and these advertisements suppressed, then I think we cannot draw the line. It is better to, as it is said, go the whole hog and pass the Bill as it stands.
*THE LORD PRIVY SEAL AND SECRETARY or STATE FOR INDIA (THE MARQUESS OF CREWE)
My Lords, the noble Earl who has moved this Amendment has used an argument to which I am sure we would desire to attach all weight—I mean the argument that if you go ahead of public opinion in a matter of this kind you are in danger of driving the evil underground and of ultimately thereby doing more harm than if you do not attempt to suppress it at all. That is obviously the view of the noble Earl, and I, for one, do not deny its force; but, of course, it is an argument that you must not press too far, because if you attached too much importance 395 to it you would allow the existence of gambling hells in every street on the ground that people will gamble and the existence of a public gambling place therefore makes matters no worse. So far as these advertisements in newspapers are concerned I confess I do not think that their presence or absence would be of very great importance except for one consideration, and it is that consideration which prevents me personally from agreeing with the Amendment. It is this. So far as the ordinary advertisements of bookmakers such as you see in the sporting papers are concerned, I do not know that the presence there of the bookmaker's name and address, particularly if the noble Earl leaves out the last phrase of his Amendment, would make any very serious difference; but the noble Earl himself has, I think, provided a key which makes a decision more easy on the merits of his Amendment. I suspect that the advertisements which the sporting Press are so anxious to keep and with which they are so unwilling to part are in the main those of the foreign betting houses the activities of which the noble Earl so much deplores, and my impression is that a very large proportion of the earnings from advertisements in relation to betting are those of these foreign betting shops. The noble Earl asked, and asked with great force, how it is that you are going to interfere with the proceedings of the bookmaker in the United Kingdom but are not going to interfere with foreign bookmakers, and it was asked how it was that the Postmaster-General did not intervene. We all know very well—it applies not only to these circulars which arrive in such large quantities from abroad in relation to betting on racing, but also to the advertisements of lotteries and various other objectionable communications which are circulated broadcast from abroad—that it is not practically in the power of the Postmaster-General to open closed letters, and consequently that form of the mischief is exceedingly difficult to prevent. But I think it would be a distinct check to it if the advertisements of those particular bookmakers were prevented from appearing in the public Press; and I confess it is just that fact, and not the appearance in either the sporting Press or in the ordinary daily Press of the names and addresses of a certain number of English bookmakers, which makes me unwilling to support the Amendment of the noble Earl opposite.
*THE LORD BISHOP OF LONDON
My Lords, I for one absolutely believe that the noble Earl who has moved this Amendment desires as much as any of us to stop this evil. But when I examine the page of advertisements from the current copy of the Sportsman which has been put into my hands to-day I find that if the Amendment were adopted scarcely any alteration in those advertisements would be made. There might be a little change in the form of them but the advertisements themselves, which are of great value to the newspaper—I am informed that £1,000 a year is paid for one of them—would still remain. I may say that I am constantly in touch with young men who have been ruined by these betting advertisements. Only last week I met one young clerk who lost £15 which he could not afford and which he would never have thought of risking but for these betting inducements. Therefore if we are going to interfere with these advertisements at all let us clear them out altogether. I will hand this page of advertisements to the noble Earl opposite, and he will see that if the Bill passes without his Amendment nearly all of them will disappear.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
On the page which the right rev. Prelate has handed to me there are sixteen advertisements altogether. Under my Amendment there would be three able to be put in; the other thirteen would be excluded.
THE LORD BISHOP OF WAKEFIELD
But by a slight alteration—namely, by omitting the word "sporting" and by inserting a sentence such as this, "Particulars cannot be sent without a personal request "—almost every one of those advertisements would stand.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
It is evident that your Lordships have been going in for extensive purchases of sporting papers. With regard to the point just raised, I shall be glad later to show the right rev. Prelate that he is not correct in the statement he has just made; but I do not think the matter is one which can be argued across the floor of the House.
§ On Question, whether the words proposed should be added to the Clause?
§ Their Lordships divided:—Contents, 12; Not-contents, 43.397
|Chesterfield, E. (L. Steward.)||Falmouth, V.||Faber, L. [Teller.]|
|Derby, E. [Teller.]||Farquhar, L.|
|Essex, E,||Pirrie, L.|
|Lonsdale, B.||Colebrooke, L.||Wolverton, L.|
|Vane, E. (M. Londonderry).||Dawnay, L. [V. Downe.)|
|Haldane, V. (L. Chancellor.)||Goschen, V.||Emmott, L.|
|Morley of Blackburn, V. (L. President.)||Gough, V.||Gwydir, L.|
|Crewe, M. (L. Privy Seal)||Bangor, L. Bp.||Lawrence, L.|
|Northumberland, D.||London, L. Bp,||Mersey, L.|
|Wakefield, L. Bp.||Newlands, L.|
|Salisbury, M.||Newton, L. [Teller.]|
|Beauchamp, E.||Ashby St. Ledgers, L.||Ravensworth, L|
|Craven, E.||Ashton of Hyde, L.||Rotherham, L.|
|Cromer, E.||Atkinson, L.||Rowallan, L.|
|Loreburn, E.||Barrymore, L.||Sanderson, L. [Teller.]|
|Lovelace, E.||Bolper, L.||Stanley of Alderley, L. (L. Sheffield.)|
|Stradbroke, E.||Brodrick, L. (V. Midleton.)|
|Verulam, E.||Courtney of Penwith, L.||Stanmore, L.|
|Waldegrave, K.||Devonport, L.||Strachie, L.|
|Westmeath, E.||Digby, L.||Wynford, L.|
§ Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.
§ Bill reported without amendment.
§ LORD NEWTON
In order as I thought to study the convenience of the House I put down a Motion to suspend Standing Order XXXIX. I need hardly say that my only object is to get the Bill through before Whitsuntide so that it can be sent down to the House of Commons; but if there is any objection to the suspension of the Standing Order in this case I shall be glad to postpone the further stages of the Bill until to-morrow or another day. I would venture to suggest that the noble Marquess the Leader of the House should give me his opinion on the subject.
*THE MARQUESS OF CREWE
Like the noble Lord, I am entirely in the hands of the House in this matter. The noble Lord has placed on the Paper a Motion which would enable him to take all the remaining stages of the Bill to-day if the House so desires. There is, I understand, no other business On the Paper, and in the event of the House agreeing to pass the Bill through its remaining stages to-day I should move, at the end of to-day's sitting, that the House should adjourn for a holiday. But it is entirely a matter for the House, and if any noble Lord or any number of noble Lords express a desire that the further stages of this Bill should be postponed until to-morrow and, 398 if necessary, the next day, I, of course, should not feel it right to offer any opposition. But failing any definite statement of that kind accompanied by reasons, I should propose to agree with the noble Lord in the course which he has suggested.
§ THE EARL OF DERBY
As I ant the only one who brought forward any Amendment to this Bill I may say that, having made the protest which I felt I was justified in making against one part of the Bill, I have not the slightest objection to the noble Lord taking the Bill through its remaining stages to-day.
§ THE MARQUESS OP SALISBURY
The procedure proposed is unusual, but where there is practical unanimity in the House that a certain course should be taken we do not insist too rigidly on our rules. I am entirely of the same opinion as the noble Marquess the Leader of the House, that if there was even a small minority who wished this Bill to proceed according to the Standing Orders it would not be advisable to concur in Lord Newton's Motion. But as the opinion of the House seems to be unanimous in favour of passing the Bill through its remaining stages to-day, I offer no objection to that course being taken.
§ Then it was moved, That Standing Order No. XXXIX be dispensed with (The Lord Newton); agreed to: Bill read 3a and passed, and sent to the Commons.