Clause 6 - Gaming and Game of chance

Part of Gambling Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:00 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 10:00 am, 11th November 2004

You asked us to move along speedily, Mr. Pike, and we are doing so. I thank the hon. Gentleman for tabling this probing amendment, as it gives me an opportunity to explain what this aspect of the Bill is about. The amendment would remove an element of the definition of gaming that has existed for some 40 years: the requirement that gaming does not need someone to be at risk of losing something in order to be gaming. That requirement is a necessary part of the definition to ensure player protection. In the case of gaming machines, it is lifted in part 10, in which clause 232 permits use of machines if no payment is made for them. However, when it comes to real games of chance, such as poker or blackjack, it is important that we capture gaming in all its forms, including those where there is no apparent outlay by the consumer.

When I read that, I thought that it was a little offbeat. After all, not losing anything is one of the protections. However, it is again important to underline what we are taking from the 1968 Act and putting into the Bill to protect people and to maintain the integrity of the industry. Experience has taught us that apparently minor changes to the gambling regime can have significant unforeseen consequences. We have been down this road before, with apparently modest concessions ushering in large abuses. The requirement has served us well over some 40 years, and we think it prudent not to remove it now. With that explanation, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will withdraw the amendment.