HC Deb 02 November 1959 vol 612 cc24-5W
Sir H. Oakshott

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received in favour of a compulsory financial contribution to horse racing from betting off-the-course; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The Stewards of the Jockey Club, and other bodies concerned with the sport of horse racing and the breeding of race horses, have made representations to me that any Bill relating to betting should include provision for a compulsory levy on off-the-course betting on horse races, the proceeds to be devoted, like the surplus from the totalisator, to the support of horse racing and breeding. This proposal was not considered by the Royal Commission on Betting, Lotteries and Gaming, 1949–51; it raises important issues of principle and presents serious practical difficulties. Before coming to any conclusion on the proposal, therefore, the Government think it should be Independently and expertly examined. Accordingly, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and I have decided to appoint an Interdepartmental Committee with the following terms of reference: To consider whether it is desirable and practicable that persons engaged in betting transactions on horse races, otherwise than by means of the totalisator, should be required to make a contribution for purposes conducive to the improvement of breeds of horses or the sport of horse racing; and if so, to advise on its amount and on the means of securing it.

I am glad to say that Sir Leslie Peppiatt, past President of the Law Society, has agreed to be Chairman.