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The Commission may undertake activities for the purpose of assessing
(a) compliance with provision made by or by virtue of this Act;
(b) whether an offence is being committed under or by virtue of this Act."
The noble Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 68, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 108, 109, 111, 328, 340 and 344. This group of amendments focuses on a number of improvements to the Bill designed better to protect children and vulnerable adults. Amendments Nos. 68, 111 and 328 add to the powers of the Gambling Commission. They allow the commission to assess whether offences are being committed under the Bill. In particular, they allow the commission to use young people in test purchasing activities to assess the effectiveness of age controls. Because of those powers, licensees will have to be vigilant at all times in ensuring that children are kept out of their premises.
Amendment No. 108 is about gaming machines that children can use, which we call category D machines in this Bill. It follows up the commitment that I made on Second Reading to give Ministers power to limit the effect of any new age requirements for category D
6 Apr 2005 : Column 830
machines to particular types of gaming machines. If there is evidence of a particular risk from children playing one form of machine gaming, Parliament will be able to take action focused on that risk and not damage harmless amusements. That means that we can exclude machines such as penny pushers and crane machines from any future age restriction, if appropriate. It also means that, before proposing to Parliament that an age limit be placed on the use of particular types of machine, the Secretary of State must consult the Gambling Commission, relevant parts of the gambling industry and people involved with problem gambling.
The issue of children playing gaming machines has been a testing one on which I know that many people hold strong views. We have considered the matter thoroughly now, and I hope that it will be accepted that we have a sensible balance.
Amendments Nos. 109, 340 and 344 are about offences. They ensure that, on each day that a person continues to be illegally employed, or an advertisement continues to be illegally displayed or made accessible, a new offence is committed. I beg to move.
"(2A) The Commission may provide information received by it in the exercise of its functions to the Comptroller and Auditor General for use in the exercise of his functions under Part 2 of the National Audit Act 1983 (c. 44).
(2B) The Commission may provide information received by it in the exercise of its functions to a person if the provision is for the purpose of
(a) a criminal investigation (whether in the United Kingdom or elsewhere), or
(b) criminal proceedings (whether in the United Kingdom or elsewhere).
(2C) Note 1A to Schedule 6 shall not apply to the provision of information under subsection (2A)."
Page 13, line 38, at end insert
"(4) The Commission may charge a fee for the provision of information under subsection (1)(a).
(5) This section is subject to section (Data protection)."
"The Charity Commission
The Financial Services Authority"
Page 168, leave out lines 23 and 24.
Page 168, line 24, at end insert
"The Director General and staff of the National Crime Squad
The Director General and staff of the National Criminal Intelligence Service"
Page 168, line 27, at end insert
The England and Wales Cricket Board Limited
The Football Association Limited
The Football Association of Wales Limited
The Horseracing Regulatory Authority
The Lawn Tennis Association
The Irish Football Association Limited
The Jockey Club
The National Greyhound Racing Club Limited
The Professional Golfers' Association Limited
The Rugby Football League
The Rugby Football Union
The Scottish Rugby Union
The Scottish Football Association Limited
UK Athletics Limited
The Welsh Rugby Union Limited"
Page 169, line 10, at end insert
"1A Where by virtue of an enactment the use that may be made of information supplied by a person or body listed in this Schedule is restricted, or where the information may be further disclosed only with the consent of the person or body which provided the information, the prohibition or restriction on further disclosure shall apply to
(a) the supply of information by virtue of this Act, and
(b) the supply of information to the Gambling Commission (whether or not by virtue of this Act)."
The noble Lord said: The amendments deal with a number of important but detailed issues raised with the Government by those who hope to offer licensed remote gambling under the Bill. They have been discussed and agreed with remote gambling operator associations, and we are grateful for their help.
6 Apr 2005 : Column 832
Amendment No. 79 provides that equipment used by remote gambling operators to store their customers' personal information and to keep records of customers' gambling transaction history will count as remote gambling equipment for the purposes of the Bill. Amendment No. 82 amends the definition of remote gambling equipment by replacing equipment to process payments with equipment to record the results of gamblingwhether someone has won or lost. Both that and the previous amendment ensure that equipment integral to the provision of remote gambling is covered by the Bill.
Amendment No. 89 excludes remote communications providers from the offence of installing or supplying gambling software. It clarifies that a person does not commit an offence if they provide only communications equipment or servicesfor example, a mobile telephone networkeven if they are then used to download gambling software. Amendment No. 142 corrects a drafting error. Amendments Nos. 143 and 158 address concerns about the way in which the Bill works in relation to player-to-player operations such as online poker equipment shared between British and overseas companies.
The starting point for regulation is that all remote gambling equipment must be sited in Britain. The amendments allow the commission to take a case-by-case approach in deciding whether exceptions can be made to that general rule. The commission can therefore determine whether gambling equipment can be located outside Great Britain without endangering the protection of British consumers. I beg to move.
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