Clause 5 - Facilities for gambling

Part of Gambling Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:30 am on 11th November 2004.

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Photo of Richard Caborn Richard Caborn Minister of State (Sport and Tourism), Department for Culture, Media & Sport 9:30 am, 11th November 2004

I shall deal first with amendment No. 82, which was moved on Tuesday. The history of the gambling regulations teaches us that business has been very sharp at exploiting weaknesses in the law. I have experienced that during the last two or three years—since I have been responsible for gambling—and I can assure hon. Members that this industry is very innovative and has some bright people working for it. As soon as a potential loophole is identified, everyone tends to pile through it rather quickly.

In preparing the Bill, we have thus taken considerable care, as I am sure hon. Members will agree, to ensure that it adequately covers the ground and provides for effective regulation not just for current practice in commercial gambling, but for what might be done in the future. I remind the Committee that we have tried to give the gambling commission future-proofing powers as well. It would take a lot to persuade me that it is sensible or prudent to remove words from the definition in clause 5, since that clause is one of the cornerstones of the Bill. If a practice does not constitute the provision of facilities for gambling, people can do it without needing to be licensed and without committing an offence.