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Standing Committee B
Tuesday 30 November 2004
[Mr. Peter Pike in the Chair]
Invitation to enter premises
Amendment proposed [this day]: No. 209, in clause 44, page 21, line 5, at end insert
''the premises are a licensed family entertainment centre and''. [Mr. Moss.]
Question again proposed, That the amendment be made.
The Chairman: I remind the Committee that with this we are taking amendment No. 210, in clause 44, page 21, line 6, leave out paragraph (a).
The Minister for Sport and Tourism (Mr. Richard Caborn): At the end of our morning sitting, I quoted clause 44(2)(b), which states that subsection (1) does not apply where
''that part is not being used in reliance on the casino premises licence when the child or young person is invited or permitted to enter.''
In the light of my explanation, I hope that the hon. Member for North-East Cambridgeshire (Mr. Moss) will withdraw the amendment.
Mr. Malcolm Moss (North-East Cambridgeshire) (Con): Given the Minister's recollection of what he said before we adjourned for lunch, I am more than happy to do so. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause 44, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Amendments made: No. 229, in clause 45, page 21, line 15, leave out 'and' and insert 'or'.
No. 230, in clause 45, page 21, line 16, leave out 'and' and insert 'or'.[Mr. Caborn.]
Mr. Moss: I beg to move amendment No. 147, in clause 45, page 21, line 27, at end add
(j) participation in any gaming which is excluded by the Secretary of State from the provisions of this Act.''.
The amendment would add another provision to subsection (2). Subsection (1) does not apply to the use of category D gaming machines under subsection (2)(e), a point that has been well received in the industry. The amendment would strengthen that
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provision. It is believed that the Secretary of State should have the power to exclude a game that she determines should not be regulated because of its relatively harmless nature. The amendment would give the Secretary of State the opportunity to reinforce category D machines and others deemed harmless to children.
Mr. Caborn: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for explaining why he believes that the amendment is necessary. However, we have achieved the right balance in respect of when young people or children should be allowed to gamble. Clause 45 makes it an offence for a 16 to 18-year-old to take part in unlawful gambling. It will not prevent young people from playing the lottery or the football pools or participating in prize gaming. It will ensure that young people are old enough to know what they are doing and to take responsibility for their actions. If 16 to 18-year-olds take part in gambling when they are not allowed to do so, they will be committing an offence.
I appreciate the hon. Gentleman's good intentions to allow latitude for young people to undertake more gambling than the Bill allows when it gives rise to no harm, but I have not yet heard an argument that convinces me that the amendment is warranted. We believe that we have identified the gambling in which it is safe and sensible for young people to participate, and the amendment would not take us any further towards achieving that end. I ask the hon. Gentleman not to push the amendment.
Mr. Moss: I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause 45, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.
Mr. Don Foster (Bath) (LD): I apologise for detaining the Committee; I know that we want to make progress. This morning, however, we had an interesting debate about the licensing arrangements for regional casinos and what part or parts of a regional casino are covered. The Minister explained clearly that the entirety of a regional casinoall parts of the premises, including the entertainment and shopping areas and any activities taking place under that one roofare covered by the regional casino licence. Clause 46 refers to offences that would be created by a young person entering such premises in respect of clause 44.
During the lunch break, I had an opportunity to reflect on the answers that the Minister gave earlier. Clause 44 is referred to in clause 46, and I note that clause 44(2) clearly mentions a disapplication when
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''a child or young person is permitted to enter a part of premises which are being used for a regional casino, and . . . that part is not being used in reliance on the casino premises licence when the child or young person is invited or permitted to enter.''
The implicationas I read it, using common senseis that a regional casino can be built so that parts of it do not have to rely on a regional casino licence, contrary to what the Minister told us this morning. I would be grateful for clarification, because the matter has a significant impact on clause 46.
Mr. Caborn: I do not think that I can explain that in any more detail than I did this morning. The regional casino in its totality, including the gambling area, is licensed. The discussion this morning was about whether one could get a sub-licence to operate category D machines.
Mr. Foster: The Minister has just repeated that the entirety of the premises is covered by the casino premises licence, yet clause 44(2)(b) says
''that part is not being used in reliance on the casino premises licence''.
What part of a regional casino could be not reliant on a casino premises licence?
Mr. Caborn: If the hon. Gentleman refers back to amendment No. 228, which we discussed this morning, he will find that it makes it clear that the exclusion of children applies to areas where facilities for gambling are provided. That should clear that up. The explanation on clause 46I hope that it reassures the hon. Gentlemanis that a young person would commit an offence if he or she entered a casino, betting office, adult gaming centre or adult area of a licensed family entertainment centre. I hope that that is sufficient explanation, and that the clause will stand part of the Bill.
Question put and agreed to.
Clause 46 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Provision of facilities for gambling
Amendments made: No. 231, in clause 47, page 21, line 36, leave out 'and' and insert 'or'.
No. 232, in clause 47, page 21, line 37, leave out 'and' and insert 'or'.[Mr. Caborn.]
Clause 47, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Employment to provide facilities for gambling
Amendments made: No. 233, in clause 48, page 22, line 7, leave out 'and' and insert 'or'.
No. 234, in clause 48, page 22, line 8, leave out 'and' and insert 'or'.[Mr. Caborn.]
Mr. Moss: I beg to move amendment No. 148, in clause 48, page 22, line 11, at end add
(f) category D machines only.'.
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The Chairman: With this we may consider the following: Amendment No. 8, in clause 56, page 24, line 4, at end insert
''with intent to deprave or corrupt that child or young person.''.
Amendment No. 9, in clause 56, page 24, line 4, at end insert
'', provided that no offence of this kind may in any event be committed by a parent of the child or young person or by anyone in the role in loco parentis to any child or young person.''.
Clause 56 stand part.
New clause 10Use of Category D gaming machines by children and young persons
''(1) A person commits an offence if he invites, causes or allows a child or young person to use a Category D gaming machine. (2) A young person commits an offence if he gambles on a Category D gaming machine. (3) An exception is made to subsections (1) and (2) where (a) the value of the prize falls within the limits for Category D gaming machines as defined by regulations under section 220, and (b) the nature of the prize is non-monetary or non-redeemable for prizes.''.
Mr. Moss: Amendment No. 148 simply adds an extra paragraph to subsection (2). Clause 45 deals with offences of young people gambling, and it disapplies the use of category D gaming machines. Clause 48 deals with offences of the employment of young people to provide facilities for gambling, and a reference to ''category D machines only'' in subsection (2) would make it clear that there is no offence in the provision of facilities in connection with category D machines. That would make it consistent with the earlier clause, which allows children to gamble on category D machines. Our amendment would make it clear that there is not an offence where a child or young person is employed and there are category D machines.
We have the opportunity to discuss whether clause 56 should stand part of the Bill. I tabled an amendment to delete the entire clause, but it was not accepted.
The Chairman: Order. Amendments that delete clauses are never accepted because that question is always put in the stand part debate. We are debating whether clause 56 should stand part of the Bill.
Mr. Moss: Thank you, Mr. Pike.
The issue on category D machines is very simple. The Government propose to remove them from a whole swathe of premises. I am told that there are currently permits for 6,000 premises such as cafes and fish and chip shops. Although the Government will remove category D machines from them, it will still allow them in motorway service stations. It is difficult to understand why that is the case.
The argument is about supervision, but there is as little supervision in motorway service stations as in the local cafe or fish and chip shop. The Government should explain why they have seen fit to go down that road, given that there does not seem to be much evidence to support the idea that category D machines are in any way damaging to young people. Recently, the Secretary of State wrote a letter to the hon. Member for somewhere.