§ Mr. Elystan Morgan
I beg to move Amendment No. 112, in page 22, line 30, leave out ' the following entertainments ' and insert:'any entertainment which takes place elsewhere than on premises in respect of which—I think that it will be for the convenience of the House if we consider with it Government Amendment No. 116.
and which is an entertainment of any of the following kinds'.
- (a) a licence under this Act is for the time being in force, or
- (b) a club or a miners' welfare institute is for the time being registered under Part II or under this Part of this Act,
The object of the Amendments is to prohibit "amusements with prizes" in the form of machines or fairground games being provided as "incidents" to non-commercial entertainments such as fetes, dances, dinners or bazaars, in any 176 club or institute licensed or registered under Part II.
The provisions allowing amusements to be provided as "incidents" to entertainments promoted otherwise than for private gain are at present contained in Section 48 of the 1963 Act, but are separated by the Bill, so that the use of machines is dealt with under Clause 33, but the provision of games is left to be governed by the 1963 Act, subject to certain amendments in Schedule 11. In either case, however, the existing provisions are perpetuated in their substance. They are extremely liberal. Provided the amusements are no more than "incidents", and the objects of the entertainments are noncommercial, all the normal restrictions on stakes, prizes and so on are lifted. There is no limit to the number of machines that may be used, and no permit or other authority has to be obtained from anyone. Moreover, the entertainments are open to the general public, as follows from their very nature.
It is evident in these circumstances that to allow such entertainments to be promoted on licensed or registered premises, with the public freely admitted, would provide endless opportunities to evade the restrictions imposed by of under the provisions of Part II. Dinners or dances might be held almost nightly, It would be difficult in the case of a licensed club to prove that the profits were in fact being wholly devoted to non-commercial uses, and a registered club or institute could lawfully appropriate them to its own purposes, that is, to the general benefit of its members, since this would not constitute private gain or profit. Obviously, this loophole needs to be closed, and the Amendments do it. If a club of either kind, or a miners' welfare institute, genuinely wishes to make a special contribution to charity or some other deserving purpose, there is nothing to prevent it from devoting to this the profits or receipts from an evening's gaming under the normal conditions of licence or registration, or setting aside a part of the normal take from its gaming machines.
§ Mr. Buck
The Amendment puzzled me until I had a word with some of those who advise the Minister and I did a little more homework on it. It seems 177 to me that the nub of it is that no charitable functions such as fetes and bazaars can take place on registered club premises; if the registered clubs are to be able to use their machines they cannot do so when the public are there.
At first blush it would seem entirely desirabb that from time to time registered clubs should, from the goodness of their hearts, allow their premises and facilities to be used for charitable purposes. I am a little surprised that it has been found necessary to make the Amendments, but I can see their point and therefore do not intend to delay the House for very long. One can see the very great complications that there would be over enforcement if such functions were allowed on registered premises, and that is probably the basic reason behind the Amendments. There would then be considerable difficulties in enforcement, which is one of the keys to the Bill. One is reluctant to see the House discard any Amendment which makes a substantial contribution to the ease and simplicity of enforcement. On balance, I take the view that, narrowly, these Amendments, which eliminate the public even for charitable purposes from going on to registered club premises and enjoying facilities there, are desirable.
§ Amendment agreed to.