Clause 1 - The licensing objectives

Part of Gambling Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 9th November 2004.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Tony Banks Mr Tony Banks Chair, Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art 10:45 am, 9th November 2004

No, I was not. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for educating me about that. I know that the situation is limited now, and that, for instance, in West Ham the football club wants to operate a casino but is unable to do so. [Hon. Members: ''Ah! Now we know.''] Given the fact that that was in the newspapers, it can hardly be called a well-kept secret. West Ham has to find some way to get people to go to the ground if not for the football. I speak as someone who has the privilege and pleasure of representing much of the area covered by the

ground, although I have never been a supporter of the club. That gets me into difficulties from time to time, but, under the circumstances, one has to stand up for one's belief. One can change many things in one's life, but one should never change one's allegiance to a football club.

There are opportunities, but I return to the original point, which is that we should by all means safeguard those whom we believe to be vulnerable, but we should not get things out of proportion. The great majority of people in this country will be able to go to a casino if they want to, although many people will not want to. Personally, I do not find casinos at all attractive, but I do not see why I should be part of a process to deny people that opportunity.