Clause 6 - Gaming and Game of chance

Part of Gambling Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 11th November 2004.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 9:45 am, 11th November 2004

My hon. Friend is right. I was fortunate enough when a Front-Bench spokesman to serve on a couple of Statutory Instrument Committees where, because the Government had made mistakes, they had to withdraw the legislation—but that is very rare. These things effectively go through on the nod. In practice, given the size of the Government's majority, the legislation is unamendable. That is the difficulty.

I hope that the Minister will give us an undertaking. He said some helpful things on Tuesday about trying to provide us with some drafts. I hope that that will be before Third Reading. The hon. Member for Eltham (Clive Efford), along with several other hon. Members,

pointed out that unless the Bill changes, he will not be happy to vote for it on Third Reading, although he voted for it with some reluctance on Second Reading. That makes it even more vital that we see the detail.

This is the first major clause in a Bill that is front-end loaded. Much of the meat comes at the beginning, which is why we are spending quite a bit of time going through these early clauses in such detail. I hope that the Minister will respond positively to that and will be able to give us some draft regulations. That brings me to my second point.

There has been a lot of controversy about the definition of a sport, in which I, as deputy Chairman of the all-party group on sports and a former shadow spokesman on sport, have been involved. The hon. Member for Colchester (Bob Russell) has expressed his concern about darts, for example, and chess has also been mentioned; I tabled the amendment to remove subsection (6) to enable us to discuss the matter. However, the statutory definition of a sport is also relevant to the entire clause. If there is such a definition, I hope that the Minister will tell the Committee. If he cannot do so today, he can consult his officials and write to members of the Committee. I look forward to hearing what he has to say.