§ 11.26 a.m.
My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a third time.
Before bidding this little Bill adieu, I should like to pay tribute to my noble friend Lord Harmar-Nicholls. This Bill, as your Lordships know, is very much a result of his endeavours. Having been given the responsibility for nursing his baby, so to speak, through this House, I now have a feeling only of relief that I have neither dropped it nor poisoned it. Your Lordships will be well aware that the success of any legislation is in direct proportion to the measure of co-operation between those who administer the law and those who are affected by it.
908 This little Bill is in my untutored view a model of and a reflection of the will and determination of those in the industry to abide with both the spirit and the letter of the law as it affects them. The co-operation evident between the industry and the Gaming Board and not least the Home Office has resulted in what I believe to be a model Bill, a Bill which will accrue to the benefit in particular of an all too often neglected and rather small section of society. I should like to thank my noble friend Lord Glenarthur for his warm welcome and for his unfailing assistance in the passing of this measure, and not least Her Majesty's loyal Opposition in the person of the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon, for his ever elegant contributions. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read a third time.—[Lord Morris.]
§ Lord Mishcon
My Lords, in the face of those extremely comely and appropriate words, may I in turn from these Benches thank the noble Lord, Lord Morris, I am sure on behalf of the House, for the way in which he has conducted a good little Bill through this House. It helps in the enjoyment of many people, some of them lonely folk, some of them aged folk; and if this House has taken part in assisting in making this game possible for them in an enlarged way I think we have done a useful job.
§ Lord Glenarthur
My Lords, perhaps I may also thank my noble friend Lord Morris most warmly for his kind remarks about the assistance we have given to the Gaming (Bingo) Bill and about my own rather limited contribution to it. I wish that one or two other Private Member's Bills, were just as straightforward. I am sure your Lordships will agree that while there has not been any lengthy debate during the passage of the Bill, my noble friend has earned much credit for the care he took in presenting it at Second Reading. I know that the bingo industry appreciates his efforts, just as much as they appreciate the efforts of Mr. Peter Fry in another place.
The Bill makes some important modifications to the Gaming Act 1968, allowing a new form of bingo—called multiple bingo—in licensed bingo clubs. My noble friend explained very clearly on Second Reading why the bingo industry wants to see the Bill enacted. Licensed bingo is in decline. Attendances are falling and clubs are having to close. It will not come as any surprise if I reveal that the annual report of the Gaming Board for 1984, which will be published in full next week, suggests that the pattern of decline is continuing.
As for the next stage of the Bill, I know that my noble friend Lord Morris would like to see the necessary follow up work completed as soon as possible, so that games of multiple bingo may begin very soon. I confirm that my right honourable friend the Home Secretary stands ready to introduce regulations to give effect to the Bill; but the precise speed of implementation will turn on the ability of representatives of the bingo industry to sort out their arrangements for playing the game to the satisfaction of the Gaming Board.
In accordance with the Bill, my right honourable friend will proceed with regulations when the board 909 has been able to submit its views on the basis of discussions with the industry. I commend the Bill to your Lordships.
§ Lord Lloyd of Kilgerran
My Lords, I cannot resist intervening just to support what has been said by the noble Lord the Minister and also the words of the noble Lord, Lord Mishcon. I nearly used the words, "my noble friend" in referring to the Bill of the noble Lord, Lord Morris; I should like to congratulate him also.
§ On Question, Bill read a third time, and passed.