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Lord Brooke of Sutton Mandeville: Perhaps I may intervene briefly before my noble friend Lord Glentoran and the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Joneswhose names are the first to appear before the amendmentas one of them may in due course withdraw the amendment. I should remind the Committee of the words of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee that preceded its observation about consultation. I declare an interest as a member of the committee:
"Clause 20(4) disapplies the hybrid instrument procedure for the regulations. The purpose of that procedure is to give those whose private interests may be specially affected the opportunity to petition against the regulations".
That is what is being disapplied. It seems to me not unreasonable to suggest that, if that is occurring, as the Delegated Powers Committee suggested, thenagain, I will read out the committee's words in heavy type
"the House may wish to question why, in the light of this disapplication, organisations representative of those affected by the regulations have not been included among those required to be consulted on their content".
I realise that the arcane mysteries of private petitions and hybridity may be outside the ken of the Olympic authorities. But the fact remains that they are part of the laws of this land and, if they are to be disapplied
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in the Bill, perhaps the Minister needs to say and think more about the objections of those whose interests are affected.
Lord Clement-Jones: I welcome the powerful support from the noble Lords, Lord Glentoran and Lord Brooke, and am grateful, in particular, for the elucidation of the committee's statement on the subject in its December report. I would never dream of accusing the Minister of a lack of goodwill. I am sure that enormous goodwill is flowing backwards and forwards as we speak. We know that the advertising industry has had meetings with LOCOG and the DCMS and that a lot of consultation has begun. But there is an issue of principle.
The Minister talked about the list of people who were, and are, being consulted. In practical terms, that may well be the case. Indeed, the Minister said that this was the only way to achieve an effective position, and I accept that. But all I hear from the Ministerespecially in the light of the fact that a dreaded list of people to be consulted appears in subsection (3)is that he and the department do not want to change the Bill. It would seem perfectly logical, acceptable and right and would create a great deal of further goodwill, if that were possible, to add another subsection stating that the advertising industry should also be consulted. In all logic, that is where it should appear. I do not understand, other than that the Government do not wish to change the Bill, why it does not appear there.
I shall withdraw the amendment but perhaps the Government could demonstrate their goodwill by acceding to my future amendments. That might be the best way of making up in the circumstances. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
(1) The Gambling Commission shall issue one or more codes of practice about the manner in which betting on the London Olympics is conducted.
(2) Such code or codes shall describe
(a) procedures for determining the types of bets which shall or shall not be permitted to be offered,
(b) arrangements for ensuring that any betting is conducted in a fair and open way,
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(c) the classes of businesses who shall or shall not offer any such bets, and
(d) arrangements for ensuring that betting businesses and the London Organising Committee co-operate in the prevention and detection of cheating.
(3) Before issuing or revising a code under this section, the Gambling Commission shall consult
(a) the Secretary of State,
(b) one or more persons who appear to the Gambling Commission to represent the interests of persons carrying on relevant sports betting businesses,
(c) the London Organising Committee, and
(d) one or more persons who appear to the Gambling Commission to represent chief constables of police forces,
in such manner as the Gambling Commission thinks appropriate."
The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 66 introduces new Clause 33A. The Committee may be surprised, like me, that there is no provision in the Bill dealing directly with betting. Betting on major sporting events, such as the Olympics, is an area of considerable economic activity and one that is growing all the time. At the last Olympics in Athens every major betting company was offering bets on many of the Olympics sports. Betfair was offering markets on every one of the 28 sports at the summer games.
Betting on sport is an activity that can often be linked to issues relating to the integrity of sport. It is usual for a governing body of a sport to have a rule book that specifically covers the issue of betting on sport by its officials and competitors. However, the increasing complexity of the betting market has put unbearable pressure on the governing bodies, making it very difficult to prevent such integrity issues arising and impacting on their sport in a negative way.
The Committee will be familiar with the problems of sports such as tennis, horseracing, darts and others, and will have recently heard of the major scandal in German football. The International Olympic Committee has a track record of dealing with all concerns that could affect the integrity of the Olympic Games. The host city contract includes a requirement that LOCOG will do all it can to prevent betting on the games being a problem.
The purpose of the new clause is to introduce a measure that puts the contractual promise that the London games, and, by definition, the Government, have given to the IOC into practice. We have, of course, only recently legislated in this area. I stress that nothing in this amendment is to be taken to suggest that the UK-based betting businesses themselves are complacent or even complicit in cheating or in other attacks on the integrity of sport.
However, the new clause would build on the safeguards that Parliament has introduced into the body of the new Gambling Commission by creating a specific remit for the commission of issuing a code of practice on betting on the London Olympic Games. The new provision would enable the Gambling Commission to work with LOCOG to issue a code of practice relating to how betting on the Olympics is
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conducted. I would expect LOCOG to be the lead voice on this issue. This would mean that LOCOG could work with the Gambling Commission to restrict betting in areas where it has concerns about integrity. If LOCOG were of the view that the integrity risks were great for all the sporting events in the games, or just some of them, I would expect the Gambling Commission to issue a code to all licensed bookmakers restricting or even preventing the bets that they could make.
I welcome the Minister's views on the implementation of this issue. He should be aware that the sporting community is concerned that there is a view within government, or at least within the betting division of DCMS, that the onus of ensuring that sport is conducted fairly falls on the governing body of the sport. That hardly seems just or fair. Is the Minister really of the belief that a sport's governing body, whose remit is to develop and promote its sport, is the sole agency that must go to the cost of protecting its integrity, especially when betting businesses increasingly take the view that they have no obligation whatever to invest in those sports? Surely, it should be the other way around. Clearly the betting companies should have to comply with the requirements of the governing body and reassure it that all the necessary protections are in place before they are allowed to take bets on that sport. After all, the betting company is making significant money out of the sporting event. If the betting company cannot convince the sport of its actions, then surely the sport has the right to say that no bets are to be offered. I believe the new clause is important and very necessary.
I am informed by governing bodies that this is not only an issue for the London Olympics. There is presently no obvious way in English law for a sport to have control over these issues, as the current debate in horseracing shows only too clearly. Historically, this could have been achieved by a sport's governing body and a betting company entering into a contractual relationship. However, due to the recent interpretation of the EC database directive by the European Court of Justice, the foundation for such agreements has been thrown into great confusion. The situation is so serious that the Government have had to perform a U-turn and reintroduce the horseracing levy, despite an Act being passed by this place to abolish it. It follows that the sport should have entered into licensed agreements which would have enabled it to include a specific code of conduct on integrity issues.
I therefore ask the Committee to support this new clause. It makes a good commitment to the IOC and will ensure that there is a mechanism to deal with the problems I have outlined. I shall listen very carefully to the Minister's response if he seeks to argue that this option is not needed. If that is his view, I shall study his reasons very carefullyas, I am sure, will LOCOG and the IOCand I expect to be able to return to these matters on Report. I beg to move.
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