Clause 1 - The licensing objectives

Part of Gambling Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 9th November 2004.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Malcolm Moss Malcolm Moss Shadow Minister, Home Affairs 10:15 am, 9th November 2004

Thank you, Mr. Gale; that was helpful.

I was talking about the existing casino industry's resistance to the Government's response to the second report There is a breakdown in communication, a breakdown in trust and a breakdown in co-operation, not just across parties, but with the people on the scrutiny Committee who did an excellent job over a long period. All the previous consultation with the industry in this country seemed to count for nought when, out of the blue, the Government suddenly came up with the final proposals that are enshrined in the Bill. I hope that we can chip away at those, but essentially that relationship broke down.

The amendment seeks to reintroduce some fairness and equity. We are dealing not just with a commodity that is traded on our high streets and through our normal business channels. At the level of regional casinos, gambling is highly profitable. Let us not kid ourselves; people will make a lot of money. Those profits will be made on the back of ordinary people, not just the high rollers that I happened to see in a club in London the other week—I went on an investigatory expedition, of course. I could not possibly afford the stakes that I saw being used on a blackjack table, but such gambling goes on. I do not want to do it myself, but I see no problem if other people want to. However, a lot of money is involved. American investors talk about 10,000 to 20,000 people going through their doors during a weekend; that is their threshold. It is like a football crowd going through the doors over two days. It is a huge number of people. Many of them will not be able to afford the £25 chips that I saw being

tossed on to a blackjack table the other night, but people on modest incomes will be tempted to go the extra mile for prizes.