HL Deb 11 March 1997 vol 579 cc239-40

7.26 p.m.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (The Earl of Lindsay) rose to move, That the draft order laid before the House on 20th January be approved [13th Report from the Joint Committee].

The noble Earl said: My Lords, this order, if approved, will amend the Gaming Act 1968 to reduce the hours during which gaming is prohibited in Scotland to between 4 a.m. on Sunday morning and 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.

Currently gaming is prohibited until 7.30 p.m. on Sunday and the purpose of the amendment is to enable casinos and bingo clubs in Scotland, if they wish, to open additionally from 2 p.m. until 11 p.m. in the case of bingo clubs and from 2 p.m. until 4 a.m. in the case of casinos.

This will bring Sunday opening hours in Scotland into line with those currently applying in England and Wales and will give the Scottish public more discretion as to how to choose to spend their leisure time.

Your Lordships will be aware of the special procedures enabling Parliament to consider the substance of proposed orders under the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994. In line with those procedures this order has been subject to thorough public consultation and has been carefully scrutinised by the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee which has recommended its approval. The order has been similarly considered in another place and was approved by colleagues there on 13th February. I beg to move.

Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 20th January be approved [13th Report from the Joint Committee].—(The Earl of Lindsay.)

Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove

My Lords, I thank the Minister for his explanation. I think it is a reasonable measure. The world has changed a great deal since the period when 7.30 on a Sunday night was the only legal time at which to start gambling in Scotland. I do not think that the provision has done all that much damage in the rest of the country. I can assure the noble Earl that in the parts of Scotland where I was brought up there was gambling at all hours on Sunday. I do not think that the measure will make a great difference except that the gambling will not be in the car park or behind the old wash-houses of the tenements. I approve the Motion.

On Question, Motion agreed to.