Sunday observance

Part of Petitions – in the House of Commons at 1:55 pm on 17th February 1989.

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Photo of Mr Stuart Randall Mr Stuart Randall , Kingston upon Hull West 1:55 pm, 17th February 1989

I accept that there is on-course betting, and the Keep Sunday Special Campaign—mainly Christian people—accept on-course betting on a Sunday. Off-course betting is the stumbling block.

Will the Home Office keep an eye on what is happening in Ireland to see what lessons can be learned and find out about illegal betting? Secondly, in the next five or so years, there will be a technological solution, and we need to keep an eye on it. Again, I hope that the Home Office will look at this matter. A problem arises because workers will be required to take bets and man betting shop tills. But one can make instantaneous banking transactions—electronic cash transactions—through one's home telephone. Developments are taking place rapidly and it will be possible for people to carry out such transactions in their own homes. At the moment, we have a system of credit card payments. It is limited to people with sufficiently high credit ratings, but it proves that there is a demand for home gambling transactions. With the development of home terminals—we can buy them now—and the new phones that will come on to the market in the near future, it will be possible to carry out cash transactions, possibly even using phonecard-type technology.

In answer to the hon. Member for Crawley, those two matters are the possible bases on which we should build. I hope that the Minister will examine the matter and write to me about his views on those possibilities.