Gaming and Lotteries Bill, 1955—Second Stage (Resumed).

I had hoped that, after the short discussion which took place recently on this Bill, the Government had decided, and wisely decided, to forget all about this measure. I was greatly surprised, therefore, to find that this Bill was coming before the House to-day in spite of the opposition expressed to it by many Deputies in the House and by various sections of our community outside.

In the words of the Minister, the Bill is to re-enact with amendments the laws which already exist to prevent gaming, except that certain small lotteries and gaming will be allowed to continue for charitable purposes. The Minister went on to say that the principle on which he worked was that gaming is not wrong in itself but that public gaming needs restriction to prevent fraud and abuses. The Minister expressed anxiety that no foolish persons would be allowed to ruin themselves and their families by excessive gambling, but he did not want at the same time to create powerful vested interests in the form of professional gamblers, or racketeers.

These, to sum up, were the reasons given as to why this measure was brought in. The extraordinary thing, of course, is that as far as this Bill is concerned it does not even touch on the main causes of evil with regard to gaming and with regard to abuses that exist. The Bill, and I regret to have to say it, in my opinion reeks of hypocrisy. Under this measure it will be quite in order to rob the widow and the orphan provided it is done for charitable purposes. That cannot be denied when the sections of this Bill are discussed later on in Committee. We have here sub-section (2) of Section 4 which exempts what might be described as private gaming. But the showman who comes to the villages in rural Ireland and provides for the people in the locality an innocent game of pontoon and the other amusements that are provided by these show people——

Does the Deputy mean Pongo?

Yes. That individual is now going to be subject to severe restrictions. He needs must get the permission of the local authority before he can set up in a small village and under this Bill if it becomes law he can stay no longer than a week in that particular village. We all know that the weather may be against amusements of that kind. We all know the difficulties of travelling that obtain in rural areas yet here we are deliberately making an attempt under this Bill to squeeze out that small man who, at the present time, is helping to bring a bit of life into the rural areas. While that attempt is being made to squeeze out this type of showman, permission is given, under sub-section (2) of Section 4, for private gaming. In other words, those people who wish to form a club can play all the little games they like.

The comparison that I will draw there is with the licensing laws at the present time. There is a similar line of approach here in this measure as there was to the licensing laws where we have clubs that can cater for certain sections of the community and give them facilities not available to the ordinary individuals. That is done under a special section of the Licensing Act to cover these clubs. Here we are proposing to give special facilities to similar organised groups who can have their own gaming, but for the ordinary countryman and woman we are going to provide nothing in the future.

We know how seldom pictures come to the rural areas. We know also how much talk there is about social amenities and improved conditions that would keep the people on the land. It must be admitted, however, that the facilities available at the present moment for amusements are not going to keep very many more on the land, but why should we curtail what is there already in the line of amusement? The attitude of the Government and, I think, also of the ex-Minister for Justice, Deputy Boland, is that gaming, whether in the form of wagering, games of chance or lotteries, is not bad in itself but that excessive gaming brings excessive evil in its train.

If that is the case put forward by the Government, surely there must be very strong evidence at their disposal that widows have been robbed by playing Pongo and that the children who play on these slot-machines have come to the stage where they have lost their parents' money. Surely there must be evidence available that serious harm has been done to our community.

I hope that evidence will be forthcoming from the Minister. It is extraordinary how much sympathy is shown towards certain sections of the community at the present time in connection with this gaming while a greater temptation is left for the widow and for the father of a family in the form of the public or licensed bookie's office. I wonder which is the greater evil. You have the bookie's office where the breadwinner can put his entire wages on some horse and leave his wife and family without the means of existence for the next week or ten days. Surely control of that type of gambling is much more necessary than the control which is now sought to be exercised over games like Pongo and other similar forms of amusement.

Before this Bill came into the House we had a good deal of publicity in the various papers about foreigners—undesirable aliens—who had come in here and were setting themselves up in business groups and exploiting the public through this Pongo business and through slot-machines, and it was felt that these people should be crushed out. If we have such undesirables, steps should be taken to curb their activity, but there is no use in taking steps to curb their activity if those steps are of a nature that will harm our own people or prevent them having lawful amusement.

It is gratifying to find that people in power are aware of the serious inroads that have been made into various aspects of our life by foreigners. It is gratifying to know that there is a feeling of uneasiness amongst those who are in control of the affairs of State and that steps are being taken to curb the activities of these gentlemen in certain aspects, but it is tragic that all we are offered by way of curbing these people is a little Gaming Bill like this, that we will prevent them operating slot-machines and Pongo, while we allow them to buy up the best land in this country. If we go about curbing aliens, as the Government desire, let us start with fundamentals. If we do not allow these people to purchase the business and the land of the country, we will not have much trouble with them in connection with the running of Pongo or slot-machines.

It is suggested that gaming and lotteries are more open to abuse and to the danger of fraud than betting on horses and dogs. It is suggested that the greyhound industry and the horse-breeding industry are of great benefit to the country and that, consequently, betting should be allowed. If we are to have restrictions and control on certain aspects, I do not see why other forms of gambling should be excluded.

I shall refer now to Section 49 of the Bill and I would like the Minister to clarify the position for me. Section 49 states:

"This Act does not apply to a sweepstake under the Public Hospitals Acts, 1933 to 1940."

There will be a limit of £300 prize money with regard to lotteries and, in addition to that limitation, under Section 32, it will be illegal to send out of the State any ticket or counterfoil or coupon for use in a lottery, so that the running of lotteries and pools must be confined to the State. The Hospitals' Trust are entitled to send money, orders, and so forth, to the four corners of the earth.

I would not mind so much if this was a State lottery. It is not. If the Minister assured me that he would take steps to have the sweep a State lottery, I would not have the objection I have at the present time. I see no reason in the world why there should be sections in this Bill to exclude particular groups, particular vested interests that have grown up in the last 20 to 30 years.

There will be a limitation on running expenses for lotteries under this Bill. Yet, in Section 49, we are specifically excluding one lottery from the terms of the Bill. To make it still more glaring, the Hospitals' Sweep are in a position at the present time that they need not disclose the amount of free tickets issued to sellers of tickets; they need not disclose the figure given for commissions and they need not disclose the figure for other remunerations in their return after each sweep. That power is conferred on the people who run the sweep under Section 2 of the Public Hospitals Act 1933.

Why cannot we have this particular lottery brought into line with the lotteries which will be subject to control under this Bill or,vice versa, why cannot we give the same facilities to the small lotteries that are run in the country as to this one which has special protection under the 1933 Act?

Remember, there are many lotteries being run for very excellent purposes, some for charitable purposes. There is one lottery run to get funds to help patients who have suffered from T.B. to rehabilitate. There is also a lottery run to help the revival of the Irish language. I shall not refer specifically to any of them now, but there is quit a number and, under this Bill, the promoters of these lotteries will have to pack in. That would be a very undesirable and a very unfair thing to happen. I do not believe that the Minister personally would like that to happen.

I mentioned certain aspects of gambling and so forth which are excluded from the terms of this Bill. I would like to tell the Minister that in, I think, 1926, a joint committee was set up to examine the whole problem of gambling as far as racing, bookmakers, and so forth were concerned. If it was considered desirable in 1926 to set up such a committee to examine all the aspects of a problem such as this, such a committee is more necessary now. There may be and probably there is need for certain precautions and regulations, but I am firmly convinced that this Bill is not the correct or proper way to go about this matter.

I would urge the Minister to let the Bill drop. I know he is a man of principle and courage and I feel sure that when he realises that it was a mistake ever to introduce this Bill he will withdraw it and, instead, set up a committee of the type I have suggested. If he does that he will be conferring a benefit on the public because the evidence of all the interested people can be taken, an examination can be made of the desirability of bringing in certain restrictions, and plenty of time could be given to thrashing out all these problems. If this measure becomes law as it stands I can assure the Minister that it will be a law that will not be respected.

It is a terrible thing to put on the Statute Book laws that do not have the respect and the approval of the general public. If the Bill passes and becomes law and if people are prosecuted under certain sections of this Bill, I have no doubt in my mind that the general public will have more sympathy with the people prosecuted than they will with the State. It is a bad thing if legislation is looked upon as unfair.

To give a final comparison, we have nothing but dissatisfaction all over this country at the present time in connection with the administration of the licensing laws for the sale of liquor on Sundays and with regard to the facilities that are available to hotels and clubs and the lack of facilities for the ordinary man and woman. If this measure is enacted you will have the same form of dissatisfaction and you will initiate the same sort of distinction, a form of class distinction among our people. I would urge finally on the Minister to drop this Bill altogether and set up a committee to examine all the aspects which are involved.

All Deputies of the House are agreed that a Bill in some form should appear on the Statute Book dealing with this matter, but I certainly do not think that this Bill in its present form will meet the requirements. To be successful, many amendments in every section of the Bill will, in my opinion, have to be made.

I will draw the Minister's attention to Part I, which under the heading "Preliminary and General" says (Section 1 (2)):—

"This Act shall come into operation on such day as the Minister shall by Order appoint."

No one knows whether this Bill will pass through the Dáil before the summer recess or before Christmas or in 1956 with all the amendments which are envisaged. If the Minister could give some interim concession to the amusement caterers and others concerned in the country he would be doing a good day's work. The holiday season is approaching when we will have the usual seaside carnivals. Not only the caterers themselves but various charitable organisations are in a quandary as to what exactly they may do. I would appeal to the Minister to give some interim concession pending the passing of the proposed legislation.

Under the Bill, in its present form, the only people who will benefit are the lawyers, both solicitors and barristers. It is a very vague and ambiguous measure and each section can be interpreted in many ways. It would appear that if it is passed as it stands we are in for another era of pontification from that extraordinary tribe known as district justices.

The Deputy should not refer to members of the judiciary in that fashion. That expression should not be used and the Deputy should withdraw the word "tribe".

A tribe is a collection——

The term is used in a derogatory way towards people. The word "tribe" should not be used in respect of district justices of the State. The Deputy must withdraw that word.

I withdraw the word. We have the pontifications of the district justices in various parts of the country and the amazing interpretations——

The Deputy is proceeding to discuss what district justices do.

With respect, Sir, I am suggesting what they are going to do as a result of this measure

I know, but the Deputy is evidently trying to connect up what they are going to do with what he suggests they have done. The Deputy must leave that and deal with the matter before the House. He must not refer to any decisions given by any section of the judiciary.

I was not referring to any decisions given. I was referring specifically to decisions which will be given.

The Deputy referred to pontifications.

I will come to the Bill. I would like to refer the Minister to Part II, Section 4, sub-section (2) (c) (i) (ii). It seems there is no restriction whatever with regard to the prize money which may be offered, that any sum could be offered as a prize, say, for a whist drive. As the Bill stands at present, if the game is run for charity or for a club, sub-section (2) (c) (i) does not apply, which means that £5 could be charged for playing a game and £1,000 could be given as a prize, which is fantastic.

In sub-section (2) (a) of Section 4 it says:—

"Only one charge is made in respect of the day on which the game is played or the charge is related directly to the time spent in playing the game."

Five pounds or any figure can be charged in respect of the day on which the game is played, or if the charge is related directly to the time spent playing the game. Sub-section (2) (b) says:—

"the charge does not vary in accordance with the stakes, and

(c) either—

(i) the amount of the charge is no more than is reasonably required to meet the actual cost of the facilities provided for the playing of the game, or

(ii) the promoter derives no personal profit from the promotion of the game."

I think that is most obscure and I suggest to the Minister that a maximum charge of 5/- be made and put into this Bill for a person wishing to take part in such a game. By specifying a charge such as 5/- as the maximum, the amount of the prize itself will be limited. In its present form the matter can get out of hand.

While I am dealing with Part II, I would draw the Minister's attention to the fact that whist drives and "45" drives throughout the country are becoming a racket. Certain individuals who attend these drives work in collusion with the organising committees to win the first prize, and the first prize can be very substantial around the Christmas period for instance. I have had personal experience of that both from running these drives myself and from taking part in them as a player. There is fraud, cheating and deceit and the ordinary individual who pays his 6d. or 1/- to take part in such drives has not a chance because these others are making a business out of it.

When introducing the Bill on the Second Reading the Minister said:—

"Owing to the difficulties that have been experienced in proving, in the case of particular games, that the chances of all the players, including the banker, are not equal, the definition of unlawful games in the Gaming Act, 1845, has been widened so as to include gaming ‘in which a toll is levied on the stakes or for the right to take part in which any charge is made'. The new definition will, it is felt, bring within its ambit all gambling games (such as Pongo) irrespective of whether they are games of skill or chance, and will render the promoters liable to prosecution."

Following on that, certain newspapers came out with a heading to the effect that Pongo was outlawed or would be outlawed. Unless I am misinterpreting the Bill, it would appear that under certain conditions unlawful gaming will become lawful gaming. I think that statement of the Minister's needs clarification. One newspaper carried the heading: "Pongo Outlawed", and two amusement caterers foolishly got rid of their paraphernalia when they read the papers. In my opinion, if they complied with certain sections of this Bill there would be no necessity for them to do that.

In Section 6, sub-section (a) of Part II it is stated:—

"Gaming carried on at any place ...shall not be unlawful gaming if (a) gaming is not the main activity at the show."

Who will draw the very fine line of distinction there? Who will tell the promoter what is the main activity? Will the main activity be decided from the point of view of revenue or greater turnover? That, too, requires some clarification. Sub-section (b) states:—

"The show at or within three miles of that place does not extend over a period exceeding one week and has not been carried on within that area during the preceeding three months."

The Minister has advanced no sound argument for the inclusion of that particular provision. Deputies who have spoken on this measure have shown that the provision is fantastic.

Deputy Boland played a large part in the preparation of this Bill when he was Minister for Justice, and very few changes have been made in it since he left office; but irrespective of who prepared it, the present Bill leaves very much to be desired. The present Minister seems to be obsessed with the idea that fortunes are lost by people who play Pongo and other games of that kind. Though individuals can go to a racecourse and gamble indiscriminately, the ninth annual report of the Racing Board states:—

"That racegoers in general are not concerned with gambling is evidenced by the fact that almost 80 per cent. of totalisator tickets are purchased in 2/- and 4/- units."

Surely the Minister will not suggest that people have no sense of responsibility. Surely he must take into consideration all the people who cannot attend a race meeting or go out to Harold's Cross, Shelbourne Park or the other dog tracks around the country. Surely his approach to this measure must be a common-sense approach.

Deputy McQuillan suggested the Minister should drop the Bill. I do not agree with that point of view. I think the Bill is on the whole a welcome measure, but it does need amendment. To some extent it is not an honest Bill because it is not facing up to the facts. It is full of ambiguities.

This stipulation of a period of one week will have to be changed because common sense dictates that it must be changed. The period should be three months. Many of these travelling shows pay quite large sums to local authorities. The rentals for the concessions they receive are pretty stiff. As has already been pointed out, they contribute very generously to local charities. In connection with Galway, it was pointed out that that particular amusement caterer hands over the proceeds of the first two weeks to local charities.

That pays them well.

That may be, but nevertheless local charities benefit considerably. A period of two weeks is nonsensical. I say the period should be three months. The sub-section stipulates—

"and has not been carried on within that area during the preceding three months."

I cannot understand that provision at all. On the other hand, we have individuals advocating the furtherance of An Tóstal activities. We read reports in the newspapers every day from highly-placed individuals concerning the lack of amusement and complaining that rural life in Ireland is suffering because of this lack, which is also said to be one of the reasons for the flight from the land.

If carnivals take place around the Tóstal period, does it mean in actual fact that a large firm—there are only a certain number of these very large firms that are in a position to give good employment—which, say for the sake of argument, remains in Galway for the Tóstal period, could not appear back again in Galway, as sub-section (b) states:—

"the show at or within three miles of that place does not extend over a period exceeding one week and has not been carried on within that area during the preceding three months, and ..."

I wonder if I am wrong? I see the Minister shakes his head, but I cannot get any other interpretation.

There is a District Court. Go further on.

I am ruled out about referring to District Courts.

The Deputy must not misinterpret what the Chair told him. He must not refer to District Courts or to the decisions of district justices in a certain fashion. That is all.

The amusement caterer can apply to the District Court for an extension.

That would not be much use to him because as everybody knows amusement caterers or football or hurling clubs make their arrangements well in advance, maybe in January or February. Would they risk going along for the Tóstal and staying a certain period in a certain place and then depending on a district justice to see if the decision will be in their favour? The Minister should abolish that section completely. It is serving no useful purpose; it is merely a waste of print. It will lead to utter confusion and, as I said before the Minister came in, it will yield a rich harvest not alone to junior counsel and solicitors, but to our very eminent senior ones also. The poor man in the street and the promoters particularly of our national games will suffer.

In Section 16 the Minister, without doing any harm, could easily change the age from 16 to 14 years. I understand that according to the law of this country young people may get married at the age of 12, yet they cannot go in and play Pongo. The analogy might appear a little strained, but I am told that is the position. I suggest that the Minister should bring the age down to 14. As he knows, the young people could be doing something much worse than attending an amusement arcade. I have seen many of them in these places actually under parental control and at many of these events when they are run for charity you have present the local schoolteacher and people of that type who can keep an eye on the youngsters.

What are the conditions that the showman must comply with when operating for charity?

I shall deal with that shortly. I think I am right in saying that under certain conditions Pongo and such-like games are legal.

Section 7 does not make its meaning perfectly clear:—

"Gaming carried on as part of a carnival, bazaar, sports meeting, local festival, exhibition or other like event shall not be unlawful gaming if—

(a) the persons arranging for the holding of the event derive no personal profit from the event or from the game, and

(b) gaming is not the main activity of the event..."

May the people arranging for the holding of the event enter into an arrangement with an amusement caterer? That is not very clear and under (b) which ensures that gaming is not the main activity they must be able to do so because they would not have the equipment required. Any ordinary charitable body or a committee of a football club would not have equipment for side shows, rifle ranges, hobby horses, etc., as this would involve considerable financial outlay.

Every section I have dealt with so far shows to the ordinary layman like myself the ambiguities that exist, and God knows what ambiguities will be found by the lawyers. I shudder to think of them.

I would refer the Minister to his opening statement in Volume 150, No. 1, at column 85:—

"Section 8, which prohibits gaming on licensed premises, and Section 10 which provides penalties for cheating, are simply stating existing law. It is intended, however, that where there is only one charge in respect of the day on which the game is played the charge will not constitute part of the stakes hazarded by the player and in consequence playing of games such as whist or rings or darts, in which there are no side-stakes, but in which the player hazards his entry fee in a competition to win a prize will not come within the definition of gaming and will not be prohibited on licensed premises. This is simply a case of removing the technical offence which is at present committed by operation of some of these harmless games in public-houses, licensed hotels and clubs."

I am very interested in that, out of curiosity, and not from any personal motives.

Whist can be played in a licensed premises and I fail to see under the section how the Minister deduces that such is the case. If whist can be played, I presume solo, "45" and poker can also be played. Can anybody envisage a publican asked by some of his clientele: "Boss, can we play poker?" replying: "Hold on a minute, Jack, until I look up the appropriate section of the Act." It says here that you can play whist, but I am not too sure about poker or "45". No doubt it would cost the licensee two or three guineas to find out and then his advice might not be altogether correct. Therefore, I would refer the matter to the Minister again and respectfully point out that his interpretation is not in accordance with what the section itself states.

Section 9 deals with slot-machines Before going into the section itself, may I ask if the Minister will be prepared to give facilities for the export of illegal slot-machines which amusement caterers hold? That would at least lighten the blow which they are about to suffer or have suffered. In my view, that concession should be considered. As this Section 9 stands, cigarette machines, chewing-gum machines, chocolate machines, and so forth, are all barred. "No person shall operate or cause or permit to be operated or provide facilities for the operation of any slot-machine, that is to say, any machine designed to deliver, when successfully operated,...." A chocolate machine is designed to deliver and, when successfully operated, delivers a bar of chocolate. ".... a money prize or a token or other article...." A bit of chewing-gum would be an "other article."".... which the promoters or any person acting on his behalf undertakes or is willing to exchange for money or money's worth or which may be used to enable the machine to be operated again."

I submit that clarification is needed there. I can visualise a very efficient young Garda of the type which they are turning out nowadays coming along and studying this section and telling an individual to take down his slot-machine if he is selling chewing-gum. As a matter of fact, it is debatable whether one can weigh oneself now because it delivers an article in exchange for money put into these slot-machines. Quite a lot of people weigh themselves regularly. As the section stands, all these things I speak of are illegal until the Minister changes it.

The whole difficulty in regard to the Bill is that five or six interpretations can be taken out of most of the sections. In his own mind, the Minister may possibly see that such and such is the logical interpretation, but, in effect, that is not necessarily what will happen. When an application is made to the District Court or such court it will be the considered opinion of the learned district justice, or whoever will be dealing with these matters——

Does that not keep you safe?

I should now like to refer the Minister to Part IV of the Bill. Section 22 deals with private lotteries and it states:—

"A lottery shall not be unlawful if

(a) the sale of chances is confined to

(i) the members of one society established and conducted for purposes not connected with gaming, wagering or lotteries, ..."

That could mean that a very large trade union, with thousands of members, could engage in a very large lottery. Obviously, the Minister's purpose in introducing this section was to confine a lottery to a small group such as a football group or a local dramatic society, but, as the section stands, an organisation with thousands of members could run such a lottery.

Sub-paragraph (b) of Section 22 provides:—

"A lottery shall not be unlawful if the tickets and counterfoils are individually identifiable only by a number or like distinguishing mark and bear no indication that they relate to a lottery,..."

What is this great fear of lotteries? To-day, many Deputies left this House to hear the result of the Derby: they left to hear Phil Drake win—much to their chagrin. A lot of money was wagered on the result of the Derby to-day—a lot more money, I submit, than would be wagered on many a night at Pongo, and the Minister knows that in his heart.

While I am on the subject of lottery tickets, there is one point I should like to refer to the Minister. There is a group of individuals going around this country hawking tickets. We all meet them. They knock on the door at night. They will stop you on the street and you will buy a ticket for 3d., 6d., or 1/-, as the case may be. There is a definite abuse because, in quite a considerable number of cases, the money collected goes into the pocket of the person selling the ticket and does not reach the promoters of the raffle.

The Minister may ask me what suggestions I have to make in that respect. I suggest that the promoters of a football club, or other such body, be allowed to run a raffle or a lottery on condition that, like the Hospitals' Trust, receipts are given to the purchasers, or some such safeguard to the general public. I know it would be a costly thing to have to issue a receipt for a 3d. or 6d. ticket but if these raffles are localised, as most of them are, and if they have an energetic local committee, then it will not kill them to get some youngsters in that local football club to deliver the receipts by hand. At local elections we have to deliver our election literature to 37,000 or 40,000 persons by hand.

I would impress on the Minister that there is a racket in this country and that the public will have to be protected. Every Deputy in the House is aware of the truth of what I say. If a man buys a raffle ticket for 6d. or 1/- and puts it into his pocket it is the last he hears about it and it is the last the promoters of the ticket see of it, in many cases.

If we are to be realistic about this Bill and if we are to have Deputies on all sides of the House saying that it was time it was brought in let us get down to brass tacks and introduce something that will be effective and fair to all sections. As the Bill stands we are not doing that and that is my reason for being so critical of the measure. While speaking of gambling generally I should like to point out that last year on the racecourses of this country there was £5,750,000 wagered. That, of course, was on the courses alone. In the bookmakers' offices £6,000,000 was wagered, making a total of £11,750,000 wagered last year in this country on courses and in bookmakers' offices. That does not include the money laid in dog tracks, because there is no levy in that connection.

I am not advocating that there should be a tax on greyhound betting, but I am pointing out in a comparative way that the Minister is taking too seriously this matter of controlling the maximum amount of prize money involved in lotteries.

I should like to draw the attention of the House also to the statement of the Racing Board issued last year, because I think it is one of the most important statements that could be introduced into this debate. It shows that the people who bet or invest are not careless or frivolous spendthrifts. The ninth annual report of the Racing Board says that racegoers in general are not concerned with gambling and that is evidenced by the fact that 80 per cent of the totalisator tickets purchased were in 2/- and 4/- units. That, in my opinion, should be borne in mind by the Minister. The amount of money placed on the totalisator last year in this country was £1,936,000 and now the Minister is turning around and mentioning a figure of £300 as the limit for first prize in one of these lotteries.

I expect every Deputy in this House has got the memorandum issued by Gael-Linn and other organisations and it is quite obvious that the prize money of £300, which is the maximum limit allowed, should be increased. I cannot see why the Minister will not allow a maximum prize or prizes in weekly raffles to a limit of £1,000. I cannot see any reason in the world why.

The Bill makes provision for the percentage allowed for expenses. Does that mean that subscribers are limited? Section 25 says that:—

"A superintendent of the Garda Síochána, on the application of any person residing in his district, may issue a permit for the promotion of a lottery in accordance with this section."

Sub-section (2) of the same section says that:—

"The lottery shall comply with the following conditions:—

(a) the permit-holder shall derive no personal profit from the lottery;

(b) the total value of the prizes shall be not more than £300;

(c) the value of each prize shall be stated on every ticket or coupon."

Sub-section (3) of the same section provides:—

"A permit shall not be granted more than once in six months for the benefit of any one beneficiary."

There are quite a number of lotteries which will cease automatically if the prize fund is restricted to £300. As I have told the Minister already the figure I have advocated is a total prize fund of £1,000 and the Minister could review the position later on in the light of experience gained in 12 months after this measure has become law.

I should like the Minister to do away with the provision dealing with the superintendents of the Garda Síochána. I cannot see why they are brought into this at all. I think that in any district the necessary application for a licence should be made directly to the District Court. I think it would be a very small matter. Where the superintendents of the Garda Síochána are concerned there are far too many personalities involved. Besides, the superintendents have enough work on their hands already without this new job of issuing permits to carnivals, bazaars and lotteries.

I should also make reference to a provision in Section 26 which says that:—

"Not more than one-quarter of the gross proceeds shall be utilised for the expenses of promotion, including commission, and any free entry for the lottery shall be deemed to be a payment of commission to the extent of its value."

The Gael-Linn memorandum which every Deputy, including no doubt the Minister himself, has seen, shows the position as it will be experienced by other similar organisations promoting such lotteries. I do not propose to deal with that in detail. I should, however, like to say something on Part V of the Bill with regard to enforcement, evidence and penalties. Section 34 (1) says that every contract by way of gaming or wagering is void and sub-section (2) continues:—

"No action shall lie for the recovery of any money or thing which is alleged to be won or to have been paid upon a wager or which has been deposited to abide the event on which a wager is made."

As far as that provision is concerned, I do not agree that the Minister is facing up to facts. That means that a punter might plead the Gaming Act. It means that in fact an individual may have a substantial investment with the bookmaker or a firm of bookmakers and default and that such bookmaker shall have no redress in the law courts notwithstanding the fact that the Exchequer is very anxious to recognise the bookmaking fraternity, as evidence its takings from them last year.

But supposing for a moment that a bookmaker defaults on an individual. What happens then? That individual can report the bookmaker to the Racing Board and recover his debt from the Racing Board and until such time as the bookmaker purges the debt he is warned off every race meeting in Ireland.

In England, when they set up the Royal Commission on Gambling, there was a test case. I would refer the Minister to Parliamentary Papers, H.C., 1950-51, No. 8. There is a special section dealing with the enforceability of wagering transactions and I am suggesting that the Minister will bear it in mind. The commission reported to Parliament:—

"Section 18 of the Gaming Act, 1845, provides that all contracts or agreements, whether by parole or in writing, by way of gaming or wagering, shall be null and void and unenforceable in courts of law. The Act relates only to the original contract made between the wagering parties. It does not affect subsequent agreements between the same parties relating to the original transaction but supported by fresh consideration on both sides.

Until the recent decision of the House of Lords, in Tom Hill v. William Hill, Limited"

—they are the big English bookmakers—

"the courts proceeded on the basis of the decision in Hyams v. Stuart King, which decided that a renewed promise to pay the outstanding debt was legally enforceable if given in return for an undertaking by the other party that he would forbear to do some legitimate act, such as reporting the defaulter to a sporting association, which might prevent him from enjoying future betting facilities or amenities at racecourses.

The decision in Hill v. Hill has reversed the decision in Hyams v. Stuart King. The issue to be decided by the House of Lords was whether a promise by the loser of a racing bet to pay an amount equal to his debt in return for the winner's promise not to report his default to the stewards of the Jockey Club was enforceable at law. On a careful analysis of the transactions which led to an apparently new agreement between the winner and the loser, the House of Lords held that there was, in the case before them, no fresh consideration given by the loser, whose promise was really no more than a promise to pay his existing racing debt. By a majority of four opinions to three the House of Lords held that such a promise falls within the Gaming Act, 1845, and that no action could be brought upon it."

By a majority of four votes to three.

You do not want to copy that law.

You will have the Supreme Court here deciding such issues by three votes to two if we do not get clarification on all these matters.

I am urging the Minister to study Section 34 and to ensure that no one shall be entitled in this country to give the defence, in relation to a betting transaction, that he is pleading the Gaming Act.

I could have spoken in greater detail but I did not wish to take up the time of the House. I would respectfully point out to the Minister that, if this is to continue, God knows when this Bill will become law. Would the Minister not try to get a committee to hammer out the various ambiguities which exist? If he did so, a more expeditious and more satisfactory Bill would then be presented to the House.

Some of us find difficulty in speaking to this Bill. If we praise the Bill, we are, apparently, accusing amusement caterers of being all types of individuals whereas, if we oppose the Bill, apparently, we are to do it because of the large number of victims that will be discovered in the persons of these people.

The difficulty of Deputies from rural constituencies is very different from that of Deputies representing Dublin and, perhaps, to a lesser extent, Cork City. We cannot understand why there should be so many restrictions imposed in rural areas or small seaside places on amusement that we think is not in itself in any way harmful. We realise that, having regard to the amount of money involved, the problem in Dublin or in Bray is much greater than it is down the country. That consideration will not help us to any large extent. In my opinion, it would be a pity if the genuine showmen—there are a few, undoubtedly, in every part of the country—were to be handicapped. If they are handicapped, the areas in which they operate will also be handicapped and the people in those areas will be deprived of the little amusement that has been theirs for many years past.

There are other points, as mentioned by Deputy O'Malley, with which I could not agree. Deputy McQuillan, perhaps, struck a strong note when he pointed out that when we are discussing this Bill we should be more farseeing in our praise or criticism. Deputy O'Malley mentioned the position of the defaulter in a betting transaction and wanted to know what will be done about him. One of the glaring cases in connection with the Gaming Acts here, about which nothing is being done, is just the reverse of the point that has been mentioned by Deputy O'Malley, that is, where an unfortunate worker puts 5/- or 10/- on Phil Drake, the bookmaker in paying out will keep his 1/6d., not alone on the winnings, but also on the 10/-.

In discussing a Gaming Bill, it is no use to take the side either of the Minister and his Bill or of the so-called victims that are cropping up, many of whom have called on Deputies of all Parties in this House. I am speaking of people who have been here to try to get the Bill amended to suit themselves. I do not blame them for that but they have approached members of every Party.

Is it not a pity that, at this stage, when so much requires to be done and when there is so much that can be done, we have to devote such time to a Gaming Bill? Are we to continue discussing this Bill when there are other things that we need far more urgently, even though this may be important to certain people?

Deputy McQuillan mentioned one point and quoted one section. I would hardly speak on this Bill at all if it were not for the interest that I have in that matter, that is, the omission from the Bill of the Hospitals' Sweep. I think, and many people down the country believe, that it is rather lopsided that a showman coming to Cross-haven or anywhere in Cork must toe the line and everyone concerned must toe the line while people know quite well that conditions which many people are speaking about prevail as regards the Hospitals' Sweep. Why is it that the Hospitals' Sweep is being omitted from any restrictive practice that may be imposed in connection with the activities of showmen? We are not satisfied with that.

Not alone is the present Minister connected with this Bill but his predecessor is also connected with it and we are discussing it in a completely detached, non-political way. It would be far better for everyone concerned, if, instead of the Bill that is before us, there was a Bill to nationalise the sweep. When that is not the case none of us can be whipped up to be for or against this Bill.

Deputy O'Malley has mentioned other associations in this country that are running pools, or something else of that kind. It is quite true to say that many of these organisations or societies have again approached us in person and also by letter. I am not picking out any particular one, although I know some of them, but while they are being run for a specific purpose, notably charity as we are told, the amount of the expenses has been fairly liberal. However, what they are clamouring for in connection with this Bill is to be allowed more expenses.

Quite recently I have seen letters sent by these organisations not alone to the Deputies of this House, but also to their own collectors. These collectors are making a little bit of money, and good luck to them, but they are being told by these organisations to get in touch with the Deputy in the constituency, to get in touch with the messenger boy, so to speak, in the constituency, to ensure that he will get more expenses allowed for these organisations. It ill becomes us to be depending on pools or other such methods of getting a share of the money collected for social or charitable organisations in this country.

If we follow that line we will soon be faced with a similar position to that with which they are faced in Britain at the present time and with all the difficulties they have to contend with in connection with pools. It may be that the time is not ripe for this Bill to be discussed at all, but if this present position continued for a few years more and if organisations cropped up all over the country clamouring to make money for charity and believing, as many of them do, in the old maxim that charity begins at home, we would reach the stage where we would have to deal with as big a problem as exists in Britain.

It is necessary to deal with the activities of certain groups or individuals in, say, Dublin, Bray and probably Cork City where the situation is causing grave concern. However, we must not overlook the difficulty of the showman who visits the rural areas or a seaside resort for a couple of weeks in the year. The people in the country districts and at seaside resorts depend on the visit of these showmen to brighten up the place for the few months in the summer time and at other times in the year. It is a pity if we cannot devise some means whereby the pressure, which of necessity will be put upon certain groups and individuals, will not be so severely put on the showmen to whom I have referred.

It is essential that the Minister should realise the necessity of dividing the people concerned into two different categories: the sharper who is operating in a large way and the other fellow who is struggling to make a living. Even though the latter may be a little bit cute as to the way he makes his money, he is giving enjoyment to the rural areas.

I agree with Deputy O'Malley in what he says on the sale of tickets. We all know the terrible abuse that can arise as a result of youngsters selling tickets. It is about time that was stopped. It is a danger for school-children—and very often it is inside the school they are given the tickets to sell—and the temptation is, if they get a few shillings for selling tickets and pass a shop in which they see a few bars of chocolate, to spend 6d. or so out of the pool rather than return all the money they collect. I cannot agree, however, with Deputy O'Malley in regard to slot-machines because if we had less machines in these places we might have more workers employed. In relation to weighing machines, I think they are the greatest robbers of all. If you try six or seven of them, each will give you a different weight and perhaps the next one you try will not operate at all.

Finally, we must have a dividing line between the person operating in a big way, who should be dealt with as severely as is necessary, and the smaller showman who should be given a fair chance of earning a livelihood.

I must say I sympathise very fully with the Minister's position in introducing this Bill. As some Deputies have pointed out, successive Ministers for Justice have been pressed by all sections of the people for many years past to introduce a Gaming Bill and, when one is introduced, the unfortunate Minister who introduces it is under fire from all quarters. I think it is bound to fall out in that way, because I do not believe it is possible to introduce an entirely satisfactory Gaming Bill. I do not believe that this is an entirely satisfactory Gaming Bill and I do not believe that the Minister has endeavoured to make the case for the Bill on that basis.

I think the Minister approached the introduction of the Bill and the amendments proposed in the Bill in a wide way in the principles which he laid down in his introductory speech. My quarrel with the Minister is that I do not believe, in relation to the lottery end of this Bill in any event, that he has adverted to the principles which were enunciated in his introductory speech. When he was introducing the Bill the Minister, at column 84, Volume 150, of the Official Debates of 20th April last, said:

"The principle upon which we have proceeded is that gaming is not wrong in itself, but that public gaming needs to be severely restricted to prevent fraud and excess."

He went on then, in relation to gaming, to say:—

"We feel, however, that the prohibition should stop short of a prohibition of minor forms of gaming and the holding of small lotteries for charitable purposes which have long been sanctioned by public opinion."

The phrase I want to emphasise there is the phrase:—

"which have long been sanctioned by public opinion".

Later on at column 86 in the same speech the Minister said:—

"As I mentioned earlier, the Government's attitude is that gaming, whether in the form of wagering, games of chance or lotteries, is not bad in itself, but that excessive gaming brings definite evils in its train. So long as gaming is carried on in moderation under conditions which preclude fraud, we see nothing wrong with it."

What I would like to emphasise there for the Minister's benefit in relation to that phrase is the word "gaming":

"So long as gaming is carried on in moderation under conditions which preclude fraud, we see nothing wrong in it".

The gaming I take the Minister to be referring to there, and the gaming which he desires to control, is the propensity of the individual gambler. It does not seem to me to make one whit of difference so far as catering for the gambling instinct of human beings is concerned whether the catering is done by professional artists, showmen or voluntary organisers of pools, lotteries or any other type of gambling for charitable purposes.

So far as the individual is concerned, his desire to gamble is being catered for and I take it that what the Minister set out to do in this Bill is to control the gambling instinct. But what he has done in the Bill, so far as I can see, in relation to a number of things, is not to control the gambling instinct but to control the operators of the different forms of lotteries. The Minister made it quite clear in his introductory speech that he was having regard to public opinion. I think he is quite right in that. In the first few words he uttered he referred to gaming and lotteries in one form or another having been sanctioned for a long time by public opinion. Again, at column 88 of Volume 150 he said:—

"We recognise, however, that there is a public demand that will not be denied for lotteries on a somewhat larger scale for charitable purposes."

Then he goes on to deal with the provisions made in the Bill to meet that demand. Now in those remarks the Minister was being realistic but I am sorry he did not accept the position as it is to-day, namely, that because of public demand, there are at present operating here quite a number of pools with admittedly laudable objects, which derive their support from weekly contributions of a small sum of 6d. or 1/- from very many people.

I am sorry the Minister did not bluntly recognise that that state of affairs exists and that it exists by reason of the public support given by charitably-minded people to these ventures. I am sorry that he did not say he would accept that as a fact and legislate so that these pools and lotteries will not be interfered with under this Bill. Instead of doing that the Minister has adopted another course.

I recognise, as Deputies on both sides recognise, that this is not a hurried measure; it has been the subject of examination not only for months but for years. It is possible that when the original framework of the Bill was laid, after the groundwork had been done, a number of the ventures to which I am referring were not in existence. If that is so, my only quarrel is that the groundwork which was done and the framework within which the Bill was erected some years ago was not brought up to date to meet the existing demands and existing requirements, which are not only sanctioned—to use the Minister's own expression—but are demanded by the public to-day.

If the Minister had approached the position in that frame of mind he would find a very much warmer welcome here for the Bill and not only from Deputies, but from people throughout the country. The Minister, in dealing with these lotteries pointed out the danger that exists of such lotteries being taken over by professionals rather than by voluntary workers who sacrifice their leisure time for charitable purposes. I recognise that that danger exists. I recognise what is in the Minister's mind, but, so far as the Bill is designed to control gambling and to guard against the gambling instinct, that particular argument does not weigh with me because I do not think it is relevant.

I do not think it matters whether the gambling instinct is catered for by a professional or by voluntary workers. In referring to this danger, I think the Minister brings himself up against another position with which he will find himself confronted. The Minister stated that nowadays in the various pools operating throughout the country a number of people derive some form of livelihood out of such operations. There are people employed as organisers. There are people employed as collectors and so on. Now, I do not see any harm in that. If an individual is able to earn a livelihood by promoting a venture of this sort, which as I say, has admittedly laudable and charitable objects, provided that does not lead to excessive gambling I see no reason why the Minister should seek to discourage it. It would be a different matter if it could be shown that the individual's gambling instinct was being excited in such a way that he was being induced to gamble excessively. I do not believe that is the position and I do not think any effort has been made to show that that is the position; consequently, I do not see any harm in the world in ventures of this sort employing collectors, organisers or anyone else to assist the promoters in their work.

Mention has been made here to-day of specific lotteries. I do not want to go into these in detail but every Deputy must recognise that there are certain reasonably well-known lotteries in the City of Dublin and elsewhere throughout the country performing work of a type which has public support. Most people feel these should be encouraged in any event in so far as their objects are concerned. I understand the position to be quite genuinely that some of these organisations will not be able to sustain the necessary impetus to do their work properly if the ceiling laid down in this Bill is adhered to, namely, a total prize fund of £300 and 25 per cent. expense account. It has been represented to me—I know the case has been made to the Minister and to other Deputies —that there is room for increasing this ceiling substantially. It has been suggested by Deputy O'Malley, and I think by others, that the prize unit should be raised to £1,000. There certainly seems to be uniformity in the case presented by the promoters that 25 per cent. is not enough for the expense account and that at least 40 per cent. should be allowed.

If the Minister will agree that there is nothing intrinsically wrong in the promoters of any venture employing organisers or collectors to help them out—perhaps these people get their entire livelihood out of the commissions which they may receive as collectors or whatever wages or salaries they may receive as organisers, and I do not personally see anything wrong in that—I cannot see why he should not concede to the demands to increase the expense account in these cases to 40 per cent. I strongly urge the Minister to give very careful consideration to this question of lotteries which has been mentioned.

If the Minister feels it would be wrong to approach it in the way I have suggested, namely, to freeze, so to speak, the position as it exists to-day, I think he should, in any event, go this far to meet the public demand that is there, that he should not preclude the possibility of either himself or another Minister in another Government having second thoughts on the subject and that he should incorporate in this Bill some machinery which will enable a case to be made either to the Minister himself, to the Government, or to somebody—whatever body he likes to nominate—as to why in particular instances or for particular ventures the ceilings should be raised. I would like to see the Minister putting in a section in the Bill dealing specifically with the lotteries which exist at the present time, which are known to exist at the present time, and which are known to have a widespread public support at the present time and to allow them to operate as they have been operating.

Alternatively, I would suggest to him that he could incorporate into the Bill some machinery which would enable the Minister for Justice or, as I say, any person or body that he might think fit, to issue licences excepting particular lotteries from the ceiling provisions of the Act. The only other way to meet the position, as I see it, would be to increase the ceilings in the Act now, to bring them up to the levels which exist at present and which are known to exist.

The only other matter on which I want to comment—and I do it as a lawyer despite the strictures of Deputy O'Malley—is in relation to Section 20, sub-section (3). My remarks will also apply to some later sections in Part V of the Bill. I would like to enter some kind of protest against the idea incorporated in sub-section (3) of Section 20 of the Bill, and that is: why should this House legislate deliberately in a manner which runs counter to the principles of evidence and the principles of justice which have been established in this country and the neighbouring countries for very many years, namely, that in the event of a prosecution being brought, the defendant in the prosecution is presumed to be innocent until the contrary is proved.

Section 20 of the Bill reverses that in relation to certain things. I am quite well aware of the fact that there is a precedent for this, that there is other legislation of comparatively recent date where the same thing has been done. I think it was done very frequently in the emergency powers legislation, but Section 20, sub-section (3) of the Bill lays down in relation to lotteries:—

"If any ticket, counterfoil or coupon for use in a lottery is found at any place or premises searched in pursuance of a search warrant under this Act, it shall be evidence until the contrary is proved, in a prosecution for a contravention of this section, that the person having control over the place or premises had it in his possession for sale or distribution."

Let us remember that this Bill is laying down extremely heavy penalties for offences committed against this Bill. Speaking from recollection, I think it is provided elsewhere in the Bill that where no specific penalty is laid down the penalty then shall be a fine not exceeding £100 or three months' imprisonment or both fine and imprisonment.

We are providing here in Section 20 that if a person is found in possession of a lottery ticket or counterfoil unless he is able to prove to the contrary—and the onus of proof is put on him—it can be assumed that that was in his possession for the purpose of sale or distribution; in other words, that he was committing an offence under this Bill. And that will be assumed conclusively against him unless he is in a position to prove to the contrary.

I do not like to see, and I certainly do not like to encourage, that form of legislation because it runs counter to the principles of evidence and justice which have obtained in this country for many years. Notwithstanding the fact that I recognise there is a precedent for it, that in recent times similar devices have been injected into our legislation which make things easy for the prosecutor in prosecuting people for offences under particular Acts, I would like if the Minister could have have another look at that section and some of the later sections which are roughly to the same effect and see if he might not resist the temptation to legislate in this fashion for the ease and convenience of the State prosecutor.

I suppose some sort of amending Bill to deal with gaming is necessary, but certainly not, to my mind, a Bill of the type we have here. I would say from my knowledge and experience that the chief need of a Bill at the moment is to introduce some sort of consistency into the actions of the police in the various parts of Ireland in dealing with these games.

A year or two ago, when the people in Bray were being prosecuted and fined hundreds of pounds, I saw the same game being played quite openly in other parts of Dublin and nobody interfering with it. That is the chief reason I see for introducing a Bill of this sort—to provide something on which there would at least be agreement amongst the people in charge of the areas as to how to proceed. I think the Minister stated that the game of Pongo is banned. Unfortunately, I was sick at the time and I did not hear or read it. Am I right?

No. However, carry on.

It would be the height of hypocrisy for us to condemn Pongo while, at the same time, we have operating in all our streets licensed betting offices into which people can go and pay not 3d. or 6d. at the very outside, as they pay for a game of Pongo, but much more than that and they can go in and out of these offices several times a day and waste their day and lose their money. We are permitting the operation of these betting offices by legislation and, at the same time, we are banning the game of Pongo.

I tried to play Pongo once and I just could not stick it so I am not an advocate of it. However, I think it would be desperate hypocrisy on our part to deprive people of the right to play that game when they get amusement out of it. At any rate, I cannot see the situation in any other light. Certainly, we are setting out to be very puritanical and to circumscribe the rights of our people in regard to amusements—lawful amusements, to my mind—they like to take part in.

In recent years, we have been hearing a good deal about the liberty of the individual. I feel it would be a gross interference with the liberty of the individual if one prevented him from playing Pongo. I cannot see that nearly as much money could be lost in playing that game as is lost through betting on horses—and yet we legalise that. In my view, it would be a gross interference with the liberty of people who wish to play Pongo to attempt to say that Pongo should be banned, while we have bookies' shops in operation.

Slot-machines are also to go. Again, I think that if man wants to put money into a slot-machine he has as much right to risk losing his money in that way as he has to bet in a bookie's shop. Certainly I would ban slot-machines for children, but I cannot see that we have a right to ban them for adults. Nobody is forcing the adult to put his money into a slot-machine and if he has a right to go into a bookie's shop and lose his money there then to my mind he has a right to put his money into a slot-machine. As far as I can see in the Bill, even where permission is given to some professional showmen to carry on other games—apparently they are not being allowed to carry on these at all —we are limiting them to the summer months, from Easter to September.

I know some places which have been operating all the year round in Dublin. They give good and steady permanent employment to a number of people and they pay big rates. I know that, for years back, some of these places would not permit a child into their premises even when accompanied by a parent. When this racket about these games started a few years ago, one of these men said to me: "They could walk out from me when I refuse them and go down the street into an ordinary shop —for instance, a provision shop—and maybe they would be on their way for a bottle of milk for their mother who gave them a shilling and they could buy their bottle of milk and lose the change in a slot-machine in the shop and it would be all right." They were coming down on the gaming man even though that man, on his own, was taking precautions such as I have mentioned. There is something to be said for those men who have been carrying on their business in a proper way.

Like Deputy M.J. O'Higgins, I do not think it matters much to the people who want to play those games whether they play them in a club of which they are a member or whether they play them in a professional showman's place. Certainly, in the summer months in seaside places the bulk of the people who do indulge in these games do so because of lack of something else to do on their holidays or on wet nights. In my view, we are going altogether too far in this matter. We are setting up too many restrictions and, as far as I can see, it is just something grand to hand to the lawyers. I think every line of the Bill could be contested by some lawyer. I am not competent to go through it but even I could see a couple of readings in a few parts of the Bill, and if I can see two readings I am sure a lawyer could see 12. The Bill is altogether too drastic as far as the question of gaming is concerned.

I want to deal now with lotteries. We have in Dublin at the moment a few lotteries for good purposes and they are doing good work. I have in mind the "Bobwin" for the hospital at Glasnevin, "Gael-Linn" for the Irish language, and so forth. As far as I can see, this Bill will seriously interfere with them. The amount allowed for expenses is altogether too small and they could not carry on with it. I think an ordinary insurance collector on industrial policies will get 25 per cent. for going around and collecting and it would be much easier for him to do that than to collect for a lottery such as this—and, in addition, there are headquarters expenses. As I say, I think 25 per cent. would be altogether too low and some people who have approached me tell me that they will just have to close down. That would be a pity, particularly when they are only just getting their feet under them.

Furthermore, if they were allowed a higher prize fund, as has been advocated here, they would do just as good work as our official sweep is doing, which we all support. Some of these draws are being run for the very same objects except that an individual hospital is concerned. To my mind, the objects for which the draws are run are just as good and admirable as those of the sweep, which we have legalised. In that respect, I think the Minister should seriously consider the points that have been put up here by other Deputies about the ceiling of the prize fund and the amount of expenses allowed.

As far as I can see, these people may get a licence for only one year. That means their licences must be renewed every year. Perhaps that would not mean so much if they were properly run; it might mean that they would get a renewal without any great bother. But it still means a certain amount of expense on them. These people also give a certain amount of employment: they give a certain amount of whole-time and of part-time employment. All these things should be more seriously considered before we do what we propose doing under this Bill.

Section 32 was referred to already and as I see that section it prohibits the sending of money or documents out of the State. That seems to mean that we are prohibiting our people from doing what we, in our legalised sweepstake, are asking everybody in the world to do. We are asked not to send or attempt to send out of the State any ticket, counterfoil or coupon for use in a lottery or any money for the purchase of or any money representing the purchase price of a ticket or chance in a lottery.

Am I misreading it? Does it mean I cannot buy a ticket in a sweep outside the country and that if I do I am guilty of an offence in sending the money away? I cannot see anything else in it. Or does it mean that if there is some sweep organised at home—one of those lotteries which would be allowed under the Bill—that I would be guilty of an offence in sending some ticket in that lottery outside the country? I am not very clear on it but it seems to me that what we are doing under this section is prohibiting what we ourselves are doing in our legalised sweep. That is not consistent.

I would urge on the Minister that he should reconsider this both as regards the gaming—very much as regards the gaming—and also the lotteries. Those people who go in for gaming are not people who are doing anything that is very wrong. A number of them provide a night's amusement for the people at cheaper rates than do cinemas and picture houses. Nothing is being said about the money that is wasted on pictures and I do not see why we should put restrictions in the way of our people from carrying on innocent forms of amusement. Perhaps there are abuses of which I am not aware but as I know these things there is not very much wrong with them and accordingly I cannot see any great argument for restrictions as we propose to impose them here. I would ask the Minister to withdraw the Bill and set up a committee which would get some sort of agreed measure introduced.

I have very little to add to what my colleagues in these benches have said. I rise to speak for a few moments only to ask the Minister to reconsider the drafting of the Bill in relation to Part IV. We are all aware of the representations that have been made to most Deputies on both sides of the House in relation to lotteries run for charitable purposes and I want to say that I agree in principle with the general limitation put on lotteries in this measure. I think it is an undesirable thing in the public interest to have the country overrun, as undoubtedly it would be overrun if lotteries were allowed to exist, by football pools and other lotteries of one sort or another. Such a state of affairs would be undesirable in the public interest.

I am in favour of the principle of allowing lotteries for certain charitable purposes. It is well known by every member of this House that a number of lotteries have been in existence for the purposes of forwarding the interests of a number of very charitable organisations and that these people would be unable to carry on their activities were it not for the funds which they obtained from these lotteries.

If lotteries are limited, if they do not become a social evil, as they could be if not limited, I cannot see any harm in allowing lotteries to exist in the future provided, as I said, the country is not overrun by people selling tickets, and above all by people making profits by running such lotteries on a commercial basis as they would be if we had not got the existing legislation or the legislation proposed in this Bill. Once we establish the principle—and I believe it is a good one—that lotteries in general should not be permitted but that we will permit special ones under licence, I think we should listen to the representations which have been made by the people who are running these lotteries for charitable organisations.

We all have been informed by certain people who have been running these lotteries for very deserving charities that in their experience and in their opinions it is not possible to run the lotteries on the basis allowed by Section 26 of this Bill. I am in favour of amending Section 26 in order to fulfil the wishes of these people who have had experience of running these lotteries. Once you have a recognised principle laid down that the lotteries which are to be permitted must be licensed under Section 26 and that lotteries run for charitable and philan-trophic purposes are to be allowed and that the promoters of these lotteries are not going to derive any personal benefit, then it seems to me that we are not going to do anything harmful to the general public by increasing the expenses allowances which may be permitted under sub-section (2) (e) of the section I have just mentioned. We shall be dealing with people who have had practical experience of running these organisations; we shall be dealing with people who have said that from their experience they are not able to keep their expenses down to the 25 per cent. limit.

I suggest that we should listen to the voices of these people when we know they have nothing to gain for themselves. If these were commercial undertakings from which people were going to benefit in their own pockets, then perhaps we might look with greater care and deeper scrutiny at the representations which have been made by these people who have circularised Deputies. But the people who have circularised us are not acting on their own behalf but on behalf of very deserving charities. They tell us that the Bill as it stands will not be capable of being operated as far as they are concerned.

Not the Bill—that they will not be able to operate.

Yes, as far as they are concerned, that they will not be able to operate the Bill. The Bill will be there, but it will be a dead letter so far as these charitable organisations are concerned. I know there is a certain objection to the idea that people will become professional lottery ticket sellers and that that is one of the reasons why this 25 per cent. ceiling is put on expenses. I have two things to say about that argument. The first is, that the experience has been that, even at the present time, when there is no ceiling on expenses, in fact we have not got professional lottery ticket sellers and the experience has been, and these people have made it quite clear, that the number of people who make their livelihood out of selling lottery tickets is negligible and that the mortality rate of the sellers of lottery tickets is very high, that their experience has been that they do not last very long in trying to make a living out of selling lottery tickets.

The second thing I have to say about it is that I do not see any great harm, if people can make a small living out of selling lottery tickets, in their being allowed to do so. We permit people to make their living out of gaming of various types. Most of the people who try to make their living out of the commission they get on selling lottery tickets are usually deserving people who have got no means of their own, who cannot make a living out of other pursuits. In relation to one of these organisations, it is people who have suffered from tuberculosis, who are not capable of making a living in any other way, who try to earn a few pounds by means of selling lottery tickets. I do not see any objection, therefore, to trying to avoid by legislation people— it would be a very small number of people—making their living from selling lottery tickets. I do not see any objection to it because, first of all, it probably will not happen and, secondly, even if it does happen, it will be very limited in its scope.

To my mind, therefore, with the safeguards and restrictions which we are putting in this Bill, above all, with the restriction that the lotteries which we are allowing will be for charitable, philanthropic purposes, for purposes which the local district justice will vet with great care, and when these lotteries will not bring any private gain to the persons who will run them, I can see no reason why we should not allow a ceiling of, say, 50 per cent. for the expenses involved—50 per cent. of the gross proceeds—in Section 26, sub-section (2) (e).

It will be always open for us to amend this legislation if it does not work. It will be always open for the local district justices, who will have the information from the Garda authorities when these organisations come up for renewal of their licence, to decide that they are wrong in the manner in which they are balancing their accounts and to refuse the licence on the grounds that they are putting too much to expenses. But I would like to urge the Minister to give the Bill a chance on the basis of raising the ceiling to £600 for these lotteries under Section 26 and raising the expenses percentage to 50 per cent.

The safeguards in the Bill are warranted. We will now avoid what I think would be an undesirable state of affairs, namely, the country being overrun, as England is, with lotteries for large-scale commercial transactions. We will have limited lotteries which will not do any harm to our people, which will certainly have no depraving effect, which will certainly not affect the breadwinner's ability to look after his family and which will do an immense amount of good for the charitable organisations who will have control over these lotteries.

We have these safeguards and I would suggest that we listen to the word of experience and give the Bill a trial as amended according to my suggestion.

At this stage I do not propose to say much on the Bill. Most of our objections would be in relation to sections which can be more appropriately dealt with on the Committee Stage. By and large, the Bill is commendable in so far as it takes control of gaming and lotteries. It was desirable that some legislation should be introduced which would control these things. We may differ as regards the degree to which unlawful things were done or unnecessary things happened but the fact remains that it was necessary to have some control and every Minister for Justice was, time and again, appealed to by sections of the people to introduce legislation. There are people who would say it was unnecessary. I too might think that the Minister, perhaps, has gone too far in the present Bill to control those things.

I think it is a pity that the children of to-morrow will be deprived of the thrill we all enjoyed in putting a few pennies into a slot-machine at a seaside resort, the thrill of entering some little gambling hut to spend a few pennies on the day we would visit a seaside resort. It is a pity that that thrill will be denied the children of the future. There was not much harm in it. They are days we all remember. It is a pity too that if we visit a seaside resort with our children and if the day becomes wet, as, unfortunately, happens too often, we will not be allowed to bring the children into the shelter, which is very often the only shelter, where there is gaming equipment or carnival equipment, to pass the evening. It is ironical that the children can be allowed to go to the cinema while the parents may go to these gambling schools. I think the children should be allowed to go in company with their parents or guardians, at seaside resorts. The restriction will inflict a good deal of unnecessary hardship and very often it will prevent people visiting these places at all unless the weather is particularly fine which, unfortunately, is seldom the case.

I must confess that I remember being a few days in Portstewart a few years ago and every night we enjoyed a game of Pongo and saw no harm in it. Everybody did it. Everybody sat around and had a few hours' fun playing Pongo. As somebody from the other side of the House said, the amount of money you could win or lose would be negligible. There was far more money won on Phil Drake in the Derby or lost on some of the others.

That is only one day in the year.

The Derby is not the only race, you know. In that respect I think the Minister may have gone a bit too far. However, with regard to this section and the section to which Deputy O'Malley and Deputy Declan Costello have now referred, we will have an opportunity of dealing with them on the Committee Stage, and I hope the Minister will be prepared to meet us. We would like particularly that the representations made by Gael-Linn would not be overlooked.

There are some other matters with which I would like also to deal on the Committee Stage, particularly with reference to premises. I can easily see where a prospective proprietor of premises might go to considerable expense and find then he was not allowed the necessary licence to carry on. We all know the regulations under the Tourist Act whereby you can submit your plan for a hotel or licensed premises to the court and have a licence granted provisionally subject to the plans being executed to the satisfaction of the superintendent of the district. There is no reason why a person preparing plans for premises for submission to the court in connection with a licence for gaming should not be allowed the same facility. They could proceed with plans only and know before they went to any expense whether or not the premises would be suitable. These are only details but they are important details, and the Minister might look into them with a view to bringing in the necessary amendment.

There is also some doubt in the minds of the proprietors of these gaming premises with regard to the sale of the goodwill of these premises. They do not seem to be clear whether they are allowed under the Bill to transfer premises by sale to another proprietor and sell the goodwill of the business as well. There is a great deal of apprehension on this point which the Minister might clear up in his closing statement and, if necessary, meet on the Committee Stage.

There are other points entirely related to particular sections but I think the Bill, by and large, is a commendable enough proposal. Most people will agree it was necessary to bring in some control but like most Bills of its type, it will be more of a hindrance to the smaller man than it will be to the larger and well-organised concern. In that respect, the remarks of those Deputies who appealed for special concessions for rural areas or for the smaller villages and towns in rural areas might be taken into consideration. You will find that under most sections the large and well-organised concern will come out of it much better and that in some cases the small concern with only a few gadgets in operation will come out of it very badly or go out of business completely.

On that score, I appeal to the Minister to examine more closely the provisions of the Bill with a view to having the necessary adjustments made by way of amendment on the Committee Stage. However, as I said previously, I want to appeal to him mainly on behalf of Gael-Linn who have circularised us all and whose case I believe is a genuine one. Their entire income is derived from running a lottery and they will be deprived of any chance of income under the provisions of this Bill.

Major de Valera

I merely want to make one particular point to the Minister on this Bill. The rest of the discussion has probably covered the other points I would have made. When the Minister decided to put on a stop Order, so to speak, in regard to certain gaming machines, if you like to call them that, and certain games, it seems to me that he acted a little bit precipitately and it has had a certain unjust effect—I daresay it was not meant—in regard to individuals. There was not a large number, but there were some people engaged in the amusement business who had certain machines and carried on games without any abuse.

There was a law against them which was very largely regarded as a technical law. As long as they conducted their business in an orderly fashion they were not interfered with by the police and, in fact, they were very cooperative with the police according to such information as I have on these matters. There was a sudden close-down on them and there has been a situation of uncertainty from the time that this matter was first brought up by way of enforcement of the law as it is.

In the meantime, these people are in a difficult position. I understand that representations have been made to the Minister on that and on a number of similar points. I would ask the Minister to give these matters careful consideration because continuance of thestatus quo until such time as this Bill was passed would not have hurt anybody. However, the action has been taken now and these people are in that difficult position and I would like the Minister, out of a sense of justice, even though the law is technically against these people, to permit them to carry on until such time as this Bill is law.

I think the Minister will agree that this Bill is not only highly controversial as between different sides of the House but that it is highly controversial within each Party. At the outset, therefore, I would like to ask him would he not consider sending this Bill on Committee Stage to a Special Committee of the House rather than attempt to have the Committee Stage dealt with here. It is quite obvious from what everyone has said that whatever a Committee Stage produces from this House will not be satisfactory. In fact, from the Minister's point of view and from the Department's point of view it is a Bill which will cause a great deal of trouble and possibly require amendment after amendment. If the Minister would indicate at this stage that he would favourably consider that, he would lessen the burden, if you like, of discussion here on this matter.

Certain Deputies have dealt at length with certain aspects of this Bill and the representations made to them in relation to the impact of this Bill on certain people. Speaking as a member of a local authority, I think the Minister will have to admit that Sections 12, 13, 14 and 15 are not capable of implementation as far as the City of Dublin is concerned. It is provided in Section 12 that "A local authority may by resolution adopt this Part" for the purpose of implementing the Bill when it becomes an Act for the purpose of giving licences to people who apply for them. First of all, each member of the local authority will have to be circularised before the resolution is proposed. Can the Minister visualise what the life of a councillor will be if a special meeting has to be called to consider whether or not we will adopt this Part?

Section 11 stipulates that: "This Part shall not have effect in any area unless there is for the time being in force a resolution under Section 12 adopting it for that area." That is the resolution to which I am referring. The local authority of the City of Dublin will have to adopt by resolution and, in order to pass that resolution, every member of the council will have to have a month's notice. In that month he will be torn and pulled between interested parties for and against. His life will be a misery to him. Some people will say they do not want these places in a particular area; others will say they do. Goodness knows what will happen.

I think the decision in that matter should be the responsibility of the State and it should not be left to the various areas to decide. Now in the City of Dublin we have an establishment called "The Fun Palace." It is open all the year round. Under this Bill, that particular business, if the local authority decides to implement this section, will only be allowed to carry on for six months in the year. That is a ridiculous situation. It should either be allowed to carry on for the whole year or it should not be allowed to open at all.

Deputy Colley, speaking on this measure, said he was speaking as a layman. He could not discuss this from a legal point of view any more than I can. But all kinds of legal questions will arise under this Bill if it becomes an Act in its present form. We shall have all kinds ofmandamus in the courts as a result of decisions taken by, say, the local authority for the City of Dublin. That is one of the reasons why I think the Minister would be well advised to withdraw this Bill from the House for the purpose of having it dealt with by a Special Committee. This Bill has no political implications and could therefore be quite conveniently dealt with by such a Committee so that a measure may be framed which will find favour with all sections of the community generally speaking.

I know that very strong and very persistent representations have been made to the Minister in relation to Section 34. That section starts off by saying: "Every contract by way of gaming or wagering is void." Of course, we all know that is not true. Money due as a result of wagering is not recoverable in law if the Gaming Act is pleaded. The person who makes his living out of wagering is, on the other hand, in a sense immune. I think some consideration should be given by the Minister to the point of view put to him in connection with Section 34. Again, that is something which could more properly be considered by a Special Committee.

I am sure the Minister and his officials have had as much contact with the public in relation to this Bill as members of the Dáil have had. I do not suppose five minutes passed without some organisation or some group of individuals making representations. That shows there is considerable public interest in this Bill, both for and against. It is very difficult for a Deputy to make up his mind properly in the welter of representation. Again, for that reason, I think a Special Committee would be ideal because we would there have an opportunity of expressing our views and hearing the views of the other members. If the Minister does not agree to the setting up of such a Committee he will have a very long and tiresome Committee Stage in the House, with the possibility of another romp over the jumps on the Report Stage. I do not think we can get agreement here on a number of these sections.

Deputy Moran spoke on this Bill on the evening on which it was introduced. I was not aware of all the implications behind it from the legal point of view until I heard Deputy Moran speak and subsequently read his speech in the Official Report. From the legal point of view, it is obvious the Bill requires a good deal of consideration if it is hoped to make the Bill effective eventually so that it will operate in the manner in which we all want it to operate. I am wondering whether I could extract from the Minister now an indication as to whether or not he is prepared to consider the setting up of a Special Committee of the House to deal with the Committee Stage of the Bill.

I think the Minister would be wise to say he is prepared to consider it, because it will alter the whole approach or preparation on the part of Parties or individuals for the Committee Stage. I feel if he does not that it will become a very burdensome thing because every section of the Bill outside of the interpretation sections, every part of practically every section contains clauses which in themselves can bear interpretations probably not intended, but which if the clauses are left as they stand, will be the cause of great trouble and controversy not only in this House on the Committee Stage but afterwards.

Consequently, I ask the Minister to consider what I have suggested and to understand that there will be considerable agitation and pressure to deal with Section 34 in the manner in which was suggested to him by deputations as a result of representations, and to many members of the House. What is being requested is, in my opinion, reasonably fair and where we are dealing with an advance or a new development in the whole outlook of the people I think we have to be reasonably broadminded. We cannot stand on an outlook that existed at the time when a completely puritanical approach was the order of the day. We are living in different times, in times where we gamble with life in the frequency of our wars, in the types of equipment which we use in wars; we gamble not only with the lives of our soldiers, sailors and airmen but also with the lives of innocent non-combatants wherever they may be.

Yet, come in here and talk about the morality of the people in connection with a limited activity that may make their drab lives a little better; we talk as if we were living in the distant past when everybody's behaviour was according to rules very definitely laid down. Our standards are different, our outlook is different and our behaviour must become different; therefore, we have to be a little more elastic in our judgment of others and in our restrictions on others in the legislation we attempt to pass.

The Minister must also recognise that if any legislation is passed in such a manner as to restrict unreasonably the behaviour of the people, we shall only be creating a new set of offences and a new collection of offenders because we are making a law which will have the effect that the ordinary simple transactions of to-day will become means of breaking the law to-morrow.

Returning to lotteries—if we are going to allow a limited number of lotteries with limited amounts of prizes under very restricted regulations then we should at least be prepared to consider whether there is any reasonable case being made by the promoters of these charitable lotteries in so far as they say that the maximum that is being allowed to them for expenses is, in fact, too little. I do not know how these lotteries are run; I subscribe myself to quite a few of these little lotteries.

One has a twofold reason, I suppose, for doing so. On the one hand, one has a chance of winning a few pounds and on the other hand one feels that if one does not win, one is at least giving a few shillings to a good cause. That is all I know about them, but they exist and people who run them for charitable purposes say that there must be this margin. To the ordinary person who subscribes 6d. or 1/- and who is told the prize is £300, it does not mean a thraneen if the promoters had to spend 40 per cent. of the gross takings in bringing about this prize of £300, or whether they were allowed to spend only 25 per cent.

I do not understand what is behind this. Deputy Costello suggested that as he saw it it was because the Minister wanted to prevent the coming into being of professional lottery ticket sellers. Every single business that is started under the law, every single undertaking that has to depend on money for its existence has to employ people. One might as well say that if a particular lottery is run regularly and properly the promoters should not be allowed to employ a secretary or typist because that person would be professionally employed or would be making a living out of being a typist to a lottery. So far as the typist is concerned it does not matter whether she is a typist for a group running a lottery or for the Minister for Justice; she just takes dictation and types the letters and addresses envelopes.

I do not know who is responsible but certainly somebody is prodding the Minister to be a little too prudish. The Minister might be a little bit more humane. Again, I appeal to him in view of the very great amount of difference of opinion that exists, to take a broader view. I find even among my own colleagues that I cannot get— let alone agreement on certain things—even a similar point of view or understanding of what is really meant or intended.

In conclusion, I appeal to the Minister—I am not saying he should withdraw the Bill as has been suggested—but at least we should deal with this Bill in a businesslike way by having a special Select Committee on it.

Many years ago when a certain Bill was introduced here—it happened a few times—where the many different views expressed were far apart even within Parties, agreement was reached to set up a special Select Committee. I am referring to the Moneylenders Bill. Persons were seen; persons examined; people who were to be affected were allowed to come and make representations. As a result, a Bill was passed and nobody has heard anything further about that transaction since. I am convinced if that Bill had gone through its Committee Stage and was passed through the House without a Special Committee we would have been amending it every year since it was introduced in 1928 or 1929.

In the same way I say to the Minister that this is the type of Bill, the Committee Stage of which should not be carried on in the House, and we should be allowed to discuss it as members of the House irrespective of group or Party, meeting the different points of view that may be expressed by people outside who are individually affected and who are members of groups or charities so that the House can make up its mind that justice is being done and that injustice is not being inflicted on any single individual or on any group.

I have a few words to say on this. I am surprised at the attitude of some members of the Opposition because from the information I have this is the former Minister's Bill. I think something should be brought in because in the cities and other centres people have lost their wages. Machines which were debarred in other countries were sent into the Republic and used wholesale not alone at seaside resorts but also in shops.

As far as I know, nobody wants to interfere with certain amusements, but the people must be protected. What is the position to-day? All these big show people are foreigners who have come into our country. Not alone are they coming to seaside resorts, but they are buying land here also.

We hear a lot of talk about charity. What, in fact, is the position? The showman gets 60 per cent. and the community get 40 per cent. As well as that, there is free ground and probably free current. It is about time the Minister brought in this Bill. He had the courage to introduce it and did not run away from it like his predecessor.

Taking it all round, there was a cry from certain people that something be done in a position where we had youngsters losing money in these slot-machines and where we had people sitting into the early hours of the morning losing their husbands' hard-earned wages. Are these not facts?

There has been much talk about Pongo. Pongo is all right when it is limited—and it was limited when it started. I have played Pongo probably more than anybody else in this House and, when it started, it was limited to 36 cards. As time went on, the cards went to an unlimited number and, from 2d. per card in the beginning they went to 3d., 6d. and 1/- in the end. Furthermore, there was the lure to remain until the show was over at maybe one o'clock in the morning. These are the things that require to be considered. In my view, it is about time some control was introduced in this connection. There is plenty of amusement for youngsters in the way of hobby-horses, chairplanes, and so forth, besides slot-machines and gambling.

Some Deputies on the Opposition Benches spoke about the Derby. Probably every Deputy in the House had at least 1/- each way on one of the horses running in that race to-day and maybe there are some people who had even £100 on one of the horses. That happens only once in the year. When you go to a seaside resort and see all the different classes of machinery and gambling there, there is not very much pleasure in it. It is a nuisance and it becomes a nuisance in the town where it is kept on until late at night. If these people get away scot free we will have numerous shows coming into our country from England, Scotland and Wales which will fleece the public.

I believe the Minister is doing a good job—a job that the public cried out to him to do. When we see youngsters operating these machines and losing their pennies and then going to their parents and asking for more money and then losing that again in the same way surely we must feel that something should be done about the matter because obviously there is something wrong. The Bill was brought in because the public were talking.

The employment given is nil. When there is a carnival you have a committee working free on the show for the week or the fortnight. It is obvious, therefore, that whatever employment is given is very little. A Deputy spoke about the Fun Palace. I have never had much fun in the Fun Palace and I have been in it as often as most people. I have never had much fun there and, even after losing a few bob there, I had very little sport in it.

It was reported in the newspapers that a member of a county council not very far from Dublin City said that he would bring down a sledge hammer and break up the machines in his town and throw the pieces into the sea. The public must be safeguarded. It is not the big people who are losing in this connection. It is the working-class people and their families who are losing, and losing heavily. From that point of view, we want a safeguard. I speak from experience when I say that the public require to be protected from such machines and such gambling.

I do not intend to speak at great length on this Bill because a great deal has been said already on it. Certainly, enough has been said to convince me that the House as a whole do not approve of the Bill in its present form. I hope the Minister will listen to the accumulated wisdom of the Deputies on both sides of the House who have agreed that many changes will have to be introduced before this Bill finally goes through.

I want to deal, first of all, with the section of the Bill which refers to lotteries. The Minister dealt with it in his opening statement. I want to quote what the Minister said, as reported in Volume 150 of the Official Report, columns 88-89. He said:—

"The provisions of Section 26 have been drafted with regard to the situation that exists at present whereby a number of charities are promoting £300 weekly lotteries. Prior to 1953 the limit was £100 and some years before that £30. As you are aware these lotteries in aid of charities are illegal under existing law and their toleration extending back over 40 years has been on the basis that the organisers give their time and labour free. Unfortunately, at the £300 mark some charity promotions, in an endeavour to outpace rivals and to get in as much money as possible, have been paying clerical staffs, organisers, agents and collectors and it is obvious that, if the prize money were to be raised any higher, the increased sales of tickets necessitated could only be got by an increase in the number of collectors, etc., receiving payment for their services. Furthermore the number of lotteries which could operate on a countrywide scale would necessarily be few and the purposes for which they might be promoted would not necessarily be the most deserving."

This is where the Minister makes the statement which I wish to interpret in a certain way—and which, perhaps, the Minister might like to expand on, if I am wrong. He says:—

"For instance, some sports organisations with thousands of members might create a virtual monopoly for themselves and in the process bring to an end the innumerable small parish charity promotions which fulfil such good purposes as helping the sick and the aged, relieving poverty and distress, advancing religion and education."

"For instance, some sports organisations with thousands of members...." The only conclusion I can come to from that is that the organisation in particular to which the Minister was referring was the G.A.A. I was not aware that the Minister was antagonistic to the G.A.A. or that he regarded it as a body which could be used for the purpose of killing small parish promotions designed to relieve poverty and distress and I wonder why, if the Minister felt that or feels it, he did not come out in the open about it and say so.

I am further convinced on that score by further references made in the same speech by the Minister where he said:—

"As it is, even at the £300 point, representations have already been made to me that some of the existing lotteries cannot carry on unless the percentage for expenses is raised to 40 per cent. or more and an examination of figures supplied shows that over £1 in every £2 10s. collected goes in expenses of one kind or another. I should like Deputies to consider carefully the implication of providing higher prizes and greater percentages of the proceeds for expenses. I am aware that Deputies are being asked for their support in that regard, and I should like them to think twice before raising the matter."

What sort of double talk is that? If the Minister has something to say about these things why not come out into the open and say it? The only way one could read that is that these lotteries are at present being run or being promoted for personal gain and that they are an evil in themselves.

I deny right away that that is so. I deny that the operation of these small pools giving total prize money of £300 is having the slightest injurious effect on local charities designed to relieve distress of one kind or another. I simply say that that is not so and I cannot understand what was in the Minister's mind when he became responsible for bringing before the House a Bill to give effect to a proposal of that nature.

As well as that, one would imagine, from the warning given that Deputies should think twice before raising this matter of asking for higher expenses, that these organisations were not willing to submit certified accounts and to submit their operations to the most rigorous examination. One would think that they had something to hide. These organisations are not only willing to have their expenses and their methods of operation examined by the authorities, but they would insist on all organisations to be established under this Bill being subject to the most rigorous examination at all times. That would, of course, include the lottery promoters making an annual return which would give the names of all people associated with them and such an annual return would be available to every person who paid one shilling or less as a contributor; accounts would be produced each year which would be certified by a duly qualified accountant, and any other supervision which the Minister might think necessary would be exercised.

Not only are these organisations willing that these things should happen, but they would ask the Minister to reconsider this attitude of his which is designed to kill them. They would ask him that if he is to allow them to operate at all he should make the most stringent provisions to ensure that everything is open and above board and properly carried on.

Deputy Brennan mentioned Gael-Linn. There are few such organisations in the country and perhaps they do get the bulk of their support from the G.A.A. members. I want the Minister to come out into the open and say exactly what he meant by these ambiguous statements which he made in his opening address. Also, I want to say to him that if he insists that these particular organisations should be killed, he is not going to stop a penny of the money at present being spent every week from being spent by the people who want to speculate a bob or two. Instead, he is going to increase the flow of this money to the British soccer pools and to other foreign-based lotteries or, for that matter, to the crossword puzzle people who operate for profit and make no bones about the fact that they operate for profit.

Is the Minister making the case that because a person supporting an organisation which is national to his country by spending a shilling a week is doing something which is wrong and which is likely to be injurious to the poor? If so, what then is the Minister to do when the same money will go out for the benefit of the British people who are running soccer pools on soccer games played in England? The plain case these people submitted was that their expenses allowances should be increased from 25 per cent. to 40 per cent. and I should like to add my voice to that of the other Deputies who had asked for that increase.

If the Minister uses his majority in the House to push through the provisions of this lotteries section of the Bill, the only effect it will have is that it will injure organisations which are native to this country, injure people who are getting employment in this country and provide the people who support these organisations by their shillings with the alternative of investing their money in a foreign game or, perhaps, of going over to work for the promoters of a foreign pool.

There are some other matters to which I want to refer but I do not want to keep the House too long. I do not agree at all with Section 12, which provides:—

"A local authority may by resolution adopt this Part in respect of the whole or a specified part of its administrative area and may by resolution rescind such adoption."

That provides for local authorities such as the corporation in Dublin or the county councils throughout the country adopting a resolution before bringing Part III of the Act into operation. I do not know what tempted the Minister to bring in corporations and county councils into the administration of law in this country or into the application of the law. I think it is a very bad thing indeed and there can hardly be anybody in the House with the exception of the Minister who is convinced that it is a good thing that matters like that should be the subject of canvass and debate by members of the corporation in Dublin or of county councils throughout the country.

It is a new thing and I do not see any reason why it should have been brought in. By implication it means that the courts previously handling these things have been regarded as unfit to make decisions in this matter. That again I think is nonsense, and I feel sure the vast majority of the Deputies in this House would want the courts to decide questions of this kind and not the local authority, which might or might not cause an injustice to certain people.

The worst thing about local authorities—and I am afraid we must face it— is that they are politically based. In theory they are not supposed to be— they are supposed to be people concerned with local problems not on a political basis—but in fact as everybody knows members of such bodies, or the vast majority of them, are connected with one of the major political Parties in the country and they carry on their business at their meetings in the light of their political affiliations. It means, in effect, that politics will be be brought into the administration of this particular section of the Bill and that individuals who may not beau fait with the controlling Party in a given corporation or county council might be victimised as a result of that.

I think the courts established by the Constitution to deal with things like this should be left to deal with them. I think, and I agree with Deputy O'Higgins regarding Section 20, that a person should be deemed innocent until he is proved guilty. There is no reason at all why that principle should be departed from in this case any more than in any other. Deputy O'Higgins gave certain examples of departures from it which had occurred before. I do not see any compelling reason why it should be departed from here. I feel that such a sound principle should never be departed from in any legislation unless there is a compelling reason to depart from it. From time to time, there may be such compelling reasons but I submit that there is no such reason at all in this case.

I do not want to go over the provisions of the Bill in detail. The proper time to do that is the Committee Stage. There are many suggestions which I will have to make regarding particular provisions of various sections in the Bill but now is not the appropriate time to deal with them. It is sufficient to say again that, in my opinion, and, I believe, in the opinion of the vast majority of the people of this country whom we are here to represent, the lotteries which are in existence in this country and operating on a non-profit-making basis, some of which derive their principal revenue from people who are all members of sporting organisations in this country, are doing a good job.

These should be allowed to continue doing that job. The only result of preventing them from doing that job will be to increase the flow of money from this country to England, to increase the flow of money to crossword people, bookmakers, and so forth, thereby simply diverting money which has been earmarked for lotteries from one type of lottery to another.

If, therefore, there was any real principle behind this Bill in regard to lotteries, it would be understandable that that principle would have to operate no matter whom it affected. It has been shown by many people in this House, indeed, it is self-evident, that there is no such principle involved in this Bill. Therefore, the Minister should have regard to the wants of the people, to their demands, and perfect the legislation on the basis of their wishes.

From a layman's point of view it would seem that, if this Bill is enacted, we will have to build another prison and we will have to increase the Garda force. If we pass this Bill, we will interfere with the promoters of every local club in the country and will make them amenable to the law. Any exacting Garda can challenge them that they are not doing things as they should do them.

I am in agreement with Deputy Briscoe. I believe that there are certain sections of this Bill which are good and the enactment of which is long overdue but I am not in agreement with more and more interference with the people to the extent that they can be challenged in respect of small things, as they can be challenged under this Bill.

If the Minister wants to deal with certain people, he should state that specifically in the Bill. If at any time there were certain lotteries that would be responsible for cutting out small parish sweeps and that kind of thing, it would be time to bid the devil good morrow when you meet him.

I strongly object to interfering with every small club that is doing this kind of thing. From my reading of the Bill, any promoter of a small club can be challenged if he does not do the things which this Bill requires him to do. I put it to the House that we have enough interference and that we have enough Guards in the country to do the job that they ordinarily have to do. I do not believe in interfering with people too much.

A number of hospitals, schools, clubrooms and social amenities have been provided in this country as a result of lotteries. There is no compulsion on any man, woman or child to buy a ticket if he does not wish to. If A, B or C is responsible for doing something wrong, I do not see why the whole community should be punished. I do not see any of the charitable organisations breaking the law. Nobody has ever forced me to take a ticket. I have often been asked to buy one and I thought I might as well spend a shilling in that way as in any other way.

Deputy O'Leary referred to gaming. The point he made about certain machines can be made about a lot of other things that there are in the country. Surely nobody wants us to do as they did in the United States of America years ago. Because a few puritans agitated in the United States, they closed the saloons there. We are a grown-up people and should have some discretion.

I am in agreement with the Minister in regard to slot-machines. I am in agreement with him in certain other aspects of the Bill but I would respectfully suggest to the Minister that, if this Bill is enacted, there will be more and more prosecutions, more and more interference with the ordinary people who have always lived within the law and who have been doing good work. Before the Minister brings the Bill any further he should have it dealt with by a Select Committee.

I thoroughly agree with Deputy Briscoe because even though the Bill would not be enacted for some time, the Select Committee appointed would go into the matter very methodically. They would be just and fair and they would raise the points that each of the speakers has raised here. In that way, the House would bring in a just and fair Bill and we would not be doing the same as the famous American judge did years ago: there were 100 men brought before him and only one of them was guilty. "I will convict them all," he said. That is not justice. However, I do not think this House should accept the Bill in its present form.

A number of Deputies dealt with gaming saloons and gaming houses. That question could also be dealt with by a Select Committee. If amusement caterers have machines which are contrary to all good taste and which are taking away the people's money and robbing children, as has been alleged here, the Select Committee can deal with all those points and have at their disposal all the information that is available to the Minister and his Department. The problem can be reasoned out in a calm way and it can be taken out of the field of Party politics.

If this Bill is brought in in its present form all I can say is that it will be a good lawyers' Bill. There will be a number of prosecutions and it will be a harvest day for all those in the legal profession. May I suggest again to the Minister that he should adopt Deputy Briscoe's proposal and set up a Select Committee? In doing that the Minister and this House will be doing a good day's work and they will be fair to every section of the community without interfering with the rights of any citizen.

Nílim cinnte an ceart dom fáilte a chur roimh an Bille seo nó nach cheart. Aontaím leis an méid a dúirt an Teachta Briscoe fé coiste a chur ar bun san Dáil seo chun scrúdú a dhéanamh ar an mBille. Is cuimhin liom nuair a bhí an Bille mór a bhain leis an Arm os cóir na Dála rinneadh a lán oibre ar an bhfóchoiste a cuireadh ar bun. Níl an Bille seo in a Bhille Pairtí agus dá bhrí sin molaim an méid a dúirt an Teachta Briscoe.

I fully agree with the suggestion of Deputy Briscoe. The Minister will agree also that the House has not approached this Bill in a Party spirit. He should, therefore, listen to the plea of Deputy Briscoe and refer this matter to a Committee of the House. There is no great urgency about it. I am surprised at Deputy O'Leary, in his hasty statement, referring to the former Minister as running away from his responsibility on this question of lotteries and gaming. Every side of the House knows that Deputy Boland never ran away from anything.

He did not bring it in anyway.

The Deputy should not have said it and we will leave it at that. I fully agree with the sentiments expressed by the Minister for Justice when he brought in this Bill, that he was interested in all the useful work done by little parish committees for local charities and that he was concerned with the safeguarding of the work done by them. I am only a layman but I wonder are there sufficient safeguards, even considering the work done by the draftsman of the Bill, to prevent syndicates or a large syndicate being set up, something like the Hospitals' Trust, which would wipe out all the little committees that the Minister for Justice knows about and probably worked on and that I know about and have worked on, and which would undo the work we all have at heart.

Some Deputy here deprecated the practice of gambling, gaming and lotteries for charity. I would refer that Deputy to a recent letter from a Limerick doctor on the question of hospitals. He said that for years the very term "voluntary" hospital was a misnomer. As regards direct contributions to voluntary hospitals, instead of being a stream, as they were long ago, they have become a trickle, and are disappearing altogether and the only source of inducement for contributions to voluntary charities is some form of gambling.

I suggest to the Minister and to the House that the work done by these little local committees is splendid and that the suggestion made by Deputy Briscoe should be entertained by the Minister, that a Committee of the House should be set up to deal with this whole question. I confess I have not read the Bill thoroughly. I came in, listened to the debate and read part of the Minister's speech. I gave a cursory glance through the Bill itself but I looked at Section 31 in the last few minutes and it reads:

"Every ticket, coupon, counterfoil and notice relating to a lottery (other than a lottery to which Section 22 or 23 applies)..."

Perhaps I am caught out there. I thought that when we would be running a bazaar in Castlepollard we would have to have "Castlepollard Bazaar" printed on every roll of tickets we would sell, and that would have been most awkward. Nevertheless, there may be other things running through the Bill which would bring about a situation where, as Deputy Burke mentioned a minute ago, you would have undue police action. It would be absurd if I was running a bazaar in Castlepollard and I had to ring up the secretary of the Westmeath County Council for permission to run it. In Section 7 it is stated:

"Gaming carried on as part of a carnival, bazaar, sports meeting, local festival, exhibition or other like event shall not be unlawful gaming if—

(b) gaming is not the main activity of the event,

(d) the stake in each game is not more than 6d. for each player."

The prize for the expenditure of 1/- might be a bicycle and, therefore, that seems a rather sever restriction. It is a detail worth consideration.

If every local council has to be approached, all I can say is that the Minister is creating grave difficulties for us in rural Ireland. When the Minister is reconsidering this whole matter of gaming and lotteries, he should extend the scope of the Bill and take a clipping from the profits of private companies working in the seaside resorts and direct that clipping to charity. If there are to be strictures on Gael-Linn, for example, then the same strictures should apply to every private promoter. If, as Deputy S. Flanagan suggests, as a result of our action here these people will have to submit their accounts and overhead expenses to scrutiny, then that rule should equally apply to the private promoter as well as to the group of people organised for charitable purposes.

I think Deputy Briscoe's proposal is worthy of consideration. The trouble I see about all this is that when one attempts to regiment something like gambling the natural growth as a result of that action is the development of the big syndicate which pulverises all the smaller groups and organisations. Consider the Hospitals' Sweep in that aspect. Such regimentation can ultimately lead to an appalling state of affairs. We might find ourselves with another Republic of Monaco with the Hospitals' Sweep running the country and everybody almost deprived of the right to breathe.

Having been a member of a local authority, the Minister must know that he cannot bring local authorities into this Bill and, as far as we on this side of the House are concerned, we will oppose that to the utmost of our powers.

Local authorities are not brought in.

Sections 12, 13, 14 and 15 bring in the local authority: "The local authority must by resolution adopt"—is that not so?

The local authority should not be brought into this Bill at all. That is the most objectionable feature of the Bill. As far as one can gather, this Bill is to a great extent adopting existing legislation which is 100 or 150 years old. I think that is wrong. Most of that legislation has proved inoperative here over the last 20 or 30 years, as the Minister well knows. The laws enacted in this country should be such as can be enforced subsequently. They are laws that should be respected by the people. Putting them on the Statute Book and then finding that two-thirds of them are not enforceable redounds to no-body's credit because the Garda, the district justices and everybody else are asked to turn a blind eye to particular aspects of the law. Nothing is so damaging to a community as legislation of that type. It would be much better if there were no laws and it was left to the judgment and good sense of the people to make their own laws.

The Minister knows quite well that as a result of bookmakers being licensed, for every one person who backed a horse in the small towns long ago 600 are backing horses to-day. I do not object to people having a flutter. I have an open mind on this. Just as people have the right to drink intoxicating liquor, they should equally have the right to gamble. There is nothing to prevent gambling in private houses. Sometimes hundreds of pounds change hands in poker games in private houses. Often serious damage is done. People have gambled away their property and their business and smashed themselves playing cards in private houses where no laws can operate at all.

The suggestion that this Bill should be sent to a Special Committee is a good one. Our concern is that it should be capable of operation when it becomes law. In that connection, the laws should be simple and easily understood. They should not be framed with the object of giving the legal profession more scope for their energies. The phraseology in our laws is more intricate than it is in a neighbouring country or in America.

The Deputy is going into the phraseology of legislation now.

I do not intend to dwell on that. I merely want to point out that to the ordinary layman the phraseology of the present measure before the House is incapable of interpretation. Every member of the legal profession, every justice and every judge will take a different point of view until the matter finally goes to the Supreme Court. Legislation of that type is bad. I appeal to the Minister to accept the suggestion made on this side of the House and set up a Special Committee of the House where judgment and wisdom can be pooled and the Bill can be examined in detail.

With the help of the Minister's advisers it may be possible—I do not say it will be—to get a more tolerable Bill and a Bill that will be likely to have a chance of achieving the object which is in mind.

I am very pleased, and I congratulate the Deputies for the suggestions they have thrown out and for the non-Party spirit in which this Bill has been debated. We all admit that a Bill is necessary. As Deputy Burke pointed out, the Bill is long overdue. Deputy Kennedy pointed out —and very rightly—that he had not read the Bill. I admire him for that admission because some of the Deputies who stated that they had read it suggested that there were things in the Bill which are not in the Bill. One Deputy asked if we were going to drive people from playing Pongo? What we are doing is slashing Acts of Parliament passed 250 years ago prohibiting persons from playing Pongo or indulging in innocent games, and legalising a game which up to the present time, up to to-night, one could be prosecuted for playing. What the House is asked to do is to try to legalise such games by removing all these Acts that were passed hundreds of years ago against the people of this country.

In putting forward the Bill, we recognise that in certain respects we have to put protection for our people in the Bill. I am more than surprised that there was not greater opposition, knowing the wealth of certain individuals who might want to retain certain forms of gambling. To my mind—and I am only giving a personal opinion—too much money is spent in Ireland on gambling. We cannot afford it.

Since the Bill was introduced I have received deputations from the principal showmen in the country, men whose business is to the extent of 80 per cent. concerned with providing amusement in towns and villages throughout the country during the appropriate period. They all want a Bill. Even the various societies that I met in connection with lotteries wanted a Bill because they want to be legalised. At the present time they have no power to run even a lottery. The showmen want a Bill.

Some Deputies have pointed out that the period permitted for staying in rural areas is too short. We are prepared to meet the showman by giving him two week-ends in the small village, and it will not be necessary to go to the county council and have a special meeting of all the members of a county council to give permission to have the fun-fair or the amusement in a particular area. That provision refers only to seaside places. I think Deputy Briscoe will agree with me that public bodies have a right to say, where business depends on tourists, that music boxes and loud speakers cannot be allowed to go on until the late hours of the night or the early hours of the morning and thus prevent people from having their rest. That would quickly ruin the area, and surely a public body should have the right to say: "You must close down your loud speaker or music box at 11.30 or 12 o'clock so that the people who come here for a holiday will have their night's sleep."

I am sure that Deputy Briscoe will not agree with the speakers who said that public bodies would not give fair play. I am surprised at representatives of public bodies making such statements against the men on public bodies. I have been for a very long period on a public body and because a man disagrees with me it does not mean that he is dishonest or that he is influenced by any motive other than what he believes is right.

Deputy Briscoe has put up an important point and so has Deputy Burke. I did not bring in a Bill and neither did my predecessor to inflict hardship on any section of the community. We brought it in because we recognised it was necessary. A Committee of the whole House has been suggested—let us get our Bill passed and I will give that very favourable and sympathetic consideration, but there are other points to be considered.

Lotteries have been mentioned. I am not wedded to £300, but what I am worrying about is this: you have parochial lotteries in various areas for very charitable purposes and if you go and have commercialised lotteries for £1,000 or £2,000, probably those lotteries which are doing very good work at the present time would be put out of existence.

On the question of the 50 per cent. mentioned by Deputy Costello, I met deputations of various Irishmen engaged in promoting lotteries for very good, worthy and noble causes, but again I thought they were going too far. I am sure Deputy Briscoe will agree with me that 50 per cent. is too high. If a person gives a shilling to a lottery for a certain charitable purpose he wants his money to go to that purpose. We do not want 50 per cent. of it going on expenses. We had a case put up by a deputation representing a very good and worthy cause. They collected £1,300 or £1,400 a week and there was £200 for the object in aid of which the lottery was organised, but there was over £800 in expenses.

How much for the prizes?

I am not mentioning that organisation which does very good work, but its expenses are too high. They promised my predecessor: "If you increase the limit to £300 we will not exceed 25 per cent. on our expenses." I very rightly pointed out that the moment you go to 25 per cent. you will go further, and their expenses exceeded 25 per cent. because they were giving 3d. out of every 1/- to the collectors they had all over the country, and they were involved in other expenses. I believe that if you are organising a lottery for a good, charitable cause—and I have some experience in running them each year—you do not have to pay men for working for a worthy object. But it seems to be coming to the point in Ireland now that even where we have a very charitable object, we must pay men huge salaries to make a success of the lottery.

At the present time I can understand where a society is running a lottery for a very laudable purpose they are exceeding their 25 per cent. and are going on to 40 per cent. in expenses. They have to compete with others by offering their agents a similar amount. If we had agreement as to the amount that we should allow for expenses—let it be 30 per cent.— then one would not have an advantage over the other because both would be bound by the same regulations.

I think I have dealt with all the points made. I have said it is not necessary to refer to the county council. The recognised showmen want a Bill. We are not interfering with the small men. The larger showmen are interested in and are trying to protect the smaller ones. Neither my predecessor nor myself, having the responsibility, had any desire to inflict hardship on any section of the community. We are faced with a problem and if Deputies accept our statement they will know that despite the speeches that have been made here suggesting that we were preventing amusement in rural areas, that is not in this Bill.

If you want to have gaming and to have your amusements you must get permission from the district justice if you are going to remain three months, say, as Deputy O'Malley mentioned, in Galway. At the present time you must get permission from the district justice to run a dance. There is nothing to prevent an amusement caterer from going before a district justice and getting permission to remain two or three months in the one place.

Various points were raised by Deputies, each Deputy acting according to what he believed to be the best interests of the community. I do not desire in any way to inflict hardship on the people. My only desire is to remove some of the grievances that exist. I promise Deputy Briscoe and Deputy Burke that I will give my most sympathetic and earnest consideration to the suggestion of putting this Bill before a committee.

I would advise the Minister to be careful about that because the lobbying that is going on now will be nothing to what it will be if the Bill is put before a few individuals at a committee. I advise the Minister carefully to consider the matter.

Question put and agreed to.
Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, June 15th, 1955.