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Amendment made: No. 2, in page 4, line 25, leave out paragraphs (d) to (f) and insert—

'(d)   the floor area used or designated for a specified purpose,'.—[Mr. Caborn.]

Clause 68

Consideration of application: general principles

Amendment made: No. 8, in page 29, line 6, at end insert—

'(2A)   In considering an application for a non-remote casino operating licence the Commission shall have regard, in addition to the matters specified in subsection (1), to the applicant's commitment to—

(a)   protecting vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling, and

(b)   making assistance available to persons who are or may be affected by problems related to gambling.'.—[Mr. Caborn.]

Clause 179


Amendment made: No. 13, in page 82, line 17, at end insert—

'(6)   A licence to which a condition is attached under section 164 for the purpose of giving effect to an agreement entered into under paragraph 5(3)(b) of Schedule 9 ("the original agreement") shall not be transferred unless—

(a)   the transferee enters into an agreement ("the new agreement") which appears to the licensing authority to have substantially the same effect as the original agreement, and

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(b)   the condition is altered so as to give effect to the new agreement.'.—[Mr. Caborn.]

Clause 83


Amendment made: No. 9, in page 37, line 6, after 'equipment' insert

', other than equipment for playing bingo,'.—[Mr. Caborn.]

Clause 89

Bingo operating licence

Amendments made: No. 10, in page 39, line 17, after 'nature' insert ', amount or value'.

No. 11, in page 39, line 19, at end insert—

'(ea)   preventing or limiting an arrangement whereby the fact that a prize is not won or claimed in one game of bingo increases the value of the prizes available in another game of bingo,'.—[Mr. Caborn.]

Clause 266


Amendments made: No. 21, in page 119, line 23, leave out '£1,000' and insert '£2,000'.

No. 22, in page 119, line 27, leave out '£1,000' and insert '£2,000'.

No. 23, in page 119, line 29, leave out '£1,000' and insert '£2,000'. —[Mr. Caborn.]

Clause 272


Amendments made: No. 24, in page 121, line 19, leave out '£1,000' and insert '£2,000'.

No. 25, in page 121, line 21, leave out '£1,000' and insert '£2,000'.

No. 26, in page 121, line 24, leave out '£1,000' and insert '£2,000'.

No. 27, in page 121, line 26, leave out '£1,000' and insert '£2,000'.

No. 40, in page 121, line 32, after 'licence' insert 'or relevant Scottish licence'.—[Mr. Caborn]

Clause 58

Age limit for Category D gaming machines

Mr. Whittingdale: I beg to move amendment No. 110, in page 24, line 34, leave out clause 58.

The last group of amendments concerned casinos. Casinos are an important issue, but the number of people in the country who use them is, in fact, relatively limited. We considered the potential impact if the new casinos were allowed, and there were a significant—

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst): Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but will hon. Members who are not staying for the debate please conduct their conversations outside the Chamber?

Mr. Whittingdale: As I was saying, we considered what impact the new casinos would have in the event of a significant increase in the number using them.
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Amendment No. 110 is of vital importance to the existing 960 family entertainment centres, many of which can be found in our seaside resorts. They are long established and play a vital part in the local economy of many such resorts. In total, they employ some 8,600 people and spend about £100 million in doing so. More importantly, perhaps, they are a central part of the traditional British seaside holiday. They have undoubtedly brought pleasure to the millions of families who spend their summer holidays at the seaside, and there is no evidence that they have ever led to any harm. It seems extraordinary that, at the same time as introducing a Bill that will allow new and untried casinos—potentially leading to a considerable increase in gambling addiction—the Government seem intent on striking a series of hammer blows to existing seaside arcades. Such blows will do enormous damage and perhaps jeopardise their survival, even though there is no evidence that they do any harm.

Several later amendments deal with specific matters relating to seaside arcades, particularly machine stakes and prizes and the question of trading up. Amendment No. 110, however, deals with a power in the Bill that many regard as a sword of Damocles hanging over the industry: the Secretary of State's having a reserve power to ban children from using category D machines. Let us be clear what such machines are. One example is the "crane grab", whereby the player manoeuvres a crane in an attempt to grab a cuddly toy from the collection within the machine. A further example is the "penny falls", which involves rolling a coin down a slide, in the hope that it will push a number of coins over the edge and one will get one's money back, plus a little more. Such machines are not exactly examples of the hard gambling that leads to the worst examples of problem gambling or addiction.

Mr. John Gummer (Suffolk, Coastal) (Con): I wonder whether my hon. Friend can think of a worse example of the nanny state than the Secretary of State's taking the power to prevent a small child from grabbing a cuddly toy.

Mr. Whittingdale: This Government have come up with many different ways of imposing the nanny state, but I agree that this is one of the worst examples, particularly given that this provision appears to have been introduced without any supporting evidence whatever.

The whole point of such attractions is that they are part of what are called family entertainment centres. The latest published survey shows that some 47 per cent. of the population visited such a centre at least once in the past year. Like many people, I remember visiting seaside arcades during my childhood—in Weymouth and in Lyme Regis—and playing on the machines. Indeed, one of the strongest advocates of such machines, and opponents of this clause, is my right hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset (Mr. Letwin), who represents Lyme Regis.

In her letter to Labour Members, the Secretary of State made it clear that the Government are

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She continued by pointing out that

So the Government accept that we need to proceed on the basis of evidence, and that there is no evidence that such machines have ever caused harm to anyone.

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