Gaming and Lotteries Bill, 1955—Committee Stage.
Section 1 agreed to.
I move amendment No. 1:—
In the definition of "gaming", line 19, to insert after "game" the following:—
"(whether of skill or chance or partly of skill and partly of chance)".
This is a drafting amendment of the definition of gaming and its purpose is important. It removes from any possibility of doubt in anyone's mind that when we come later in Section 4 to define unlawful gaming we are referring to games of skill as well as games of chance.
Amendment agreed to.
I move amendment No. 2:—
To delete the definition of "slot-machine".
There are two kinds of slot-machines dealt with in the Bill. The kind which is absolutely prohibited under Section 9 and the other kind dealt with in Section 4, under the heading of unlawful gaming. The second kind can only be operated at circuses, carnivals and funfairs, etc., under the provisions Section 6, 7, and 13.
Amendment agreed to.
I move amendment No. 3:—
In page 3, between lines 38 and 39, to insert a new definition as follows:—
"stake" includes any payment for the right to take part in a game and any other form of payment required to be made as a condition of taking part in the game but does not include a payment made solely for facilities provided for the playing of the game;
This is one of the drafting amendments I referred to in moving amendment No. 1. As I explained then, it is in the interests of clarification and furthermore, it is necessary in order to bring within the provisions of unlawful gaming a type of competition devised since the Bill was circulated which would enable a person on buying an article, such as a song sheet, to become eligible to take part in a game for prizes without directly hazarding a stake.
Amendment agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 2, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
The definition of "lottery" in the Bill sets out that it includes all competition for money or money's worth involving forecasts of future events or of past events, the results of which are not yet ascertained or not yet generally known, and I suggest that the Minister should alter that definition. It is not possible, I respectfully submit, to forecast a result which has not yet been ascertained but may possibly be generally known, and how the Minister can argue under this definition that a forecast can be made of a past event is beyond me. The definition here suggests that a past event can be forecast, which is ridiculous. The definition also says: "the results of which are not yet ascertained or not yet generally known", and I take exception to the phrase "generally known". It suggests that some people may know the result of a race or some other such event.
If they know the result, they will probably be able to forecast it.
For the sake of argument, the result of the Kentucky Derby would not be generally known, but a few individuals might know it, so that I suggest that the definition should be completely changed, on the grounds that you cannot forecast the result of something which has already happened and, therefore, the word "generally" should be knocked out.
Would the Minister clarify the point raised by Deputy O'Malley in relation to the definition? I think this matter should be examined. I am not a lawyer, but it strikes me that some of the amendments will make even more work for the lawyers than the Bill would have done as it first stood.
It may be a very worthy object, but it is our job to make these provisions as clear as possible.
I trust Deputy O'Malley will not misunderstand me, but I do not think there is anything in the point he has put. However, I am sure the Minister will have it examined by the draftsman to see if there is any possibility of a loophole. The forecasting of past events does, of course, sound rather peculiar; but it is conceivable that some people might have a little pool or lottery in a public-house on what happened in America two or three hours earlier; they would not know the result, and that would clearly be a lottery because the result would not be known generally. But somebody in America might know the result and it is to catch that sort of thing that the definition is framed in this particular way. Really the definition is put in to catch all sorts of evasions which might take place if the word "lottery" was not defined in the widest possible way.
In considering this Bill, it should be kept clearly in mind—I mention this because I found it difficult to understand the Bill until I got this clearly into my mind—that lottery includes games of skill as well as games of chance. Hitherto the accepted definition of lottery was the forecasting or deciding of something by lot or chance and the usual defence in a prosecution was to establish that the game involved a large element of skill. In order to prevent that element coming in it was decided in this Bill to have a general definition of "lottery" to cover everything, even where skill is involved.
How would this affect people forecasting the scores in hurling matches, football matches and so forth?
If it is a lottery they will, of course, be caught.
It does, but there are provisions in subsequent sections which possibly cover what the Deputy has in mind.
The Minister will have another look at it, anyway.
Section 2, as amended, put and agreed to.
Section 3 agreed to.
I move amendment No. 4:—
Before Section 4 to insert the following new section:—
4.—(1) No person shall promote or assist in promoting or provide facilities for any kind of gaming—
(a) in which by reason of the nature of the game, the chances of all the players, including the banker, are not equal, or
(b) in which any portion of the stakes is retained by the promoter or is retained by the banker otherwise than as winnings on the result of the play, or,
(c) by means of any slot-machine not prohibited by Section 9.
(2) Such gaming is in this Act referred to as unlawful gaming.
(3) Gaming shall not be unlawful if no stake is hazarded by the players with the promoter or banker other than a charge for the right to take part in the game, provided that—
(a) only one such charge is made in respect of the day on which the game is played, and
(b) the charge is of the same amount for all the players, and
(c) the promoter derives no personal profit from the promotion of the game.
Sub-section (1) prohibits any person from promoting or assisting in promoting or providing facilities for unlawful gaming. The House will observe that the offence is not for unlawful games but for the promoting or providing of assistance in unlawful games. The person we want to get after under these gaming provision is the fellow who runs a gambling school or a gambling saloon for his own personal profit.
I appreciate that the definition of gaming must have given the draftsmen considerable difficulty. There is a doubt in my mind in relation to this proposed Section 4. The Minister has made it clear that the object of the section is to catch promoters of certain types of gaming. One of the types specified in sub-section (b) is as follows:—
"in which any portion of the stakes is retained by the promoter or is retained by the banker otherwise than as winnings on the result of the play, or"
It seems to me that proprietors of golf clubs might be promoting gaming where sweepstakes are held on matches and such proprietors could conceivably be caught under this section inasmuch as they would be promoting gaming in which portion of the stakes is retained by them since it is not unusual for a club to retain part of such sweepstakes as a means of augmenting the income of the club.
In a later sub-section it is proposed not to make such an eventuality illegal. Sub-section (3) provides:—
"Gaming shall not be unlawful if no stake is hazarded by the players with the promoter or banker."
If the sub-section were left like that that would probably obviate the difficulty I have in mind; but the sub-section goes on to say: "Provided that (a) only one such charge is made in respect of the day on which the game is played." Deputies who have a certain amount of experience of sweepstake competitions in golf clubs know that it is quite a common practice for two cards to be put in by players. It seems to me that if a player puts in two cards—he will be charged twice— the committee promoting the match may be involved in an unlawful gaming enterprise. I would like the Minister to look into this and, if possible, make the section a little clearer.
I too have some doubts like Deputy Declan Costello. Sub-section (1) states:—
No person shall promote or assist in promoting or provide facilities for any kind of gaming—
(a) in which by reason of the nature of the game, the chances of all the players, including the banker, are not equal.
Is it lawful, or will it be lawful, in the Minister's opinion, if it can be proved that the chances of all the players taking part in the game and the banker are equal? That is the first point. If the chances are equal, will the game be lawful? The word "or" occurs at the end of that sub-section. I think that should be "and". Sub-section (b) states:—
"... in which any portion of the stakes is retained by the promoter or is retained by the banker otherwise than as winnings on the result of the play."
To my mind that is very ambiguous. In sub-section (3) (a) it is stipulated:—
"Only one such charge is made in respect of the day on which the game is played."
A charge of £5 or £10 could be made by a club providing the necessary facilities. In other words, what I am pointing out is that a group of promoters could make a very heavy charge of, say, £3, £5 or even £10 to run a gambling school such as poker, forty-five or whist. The Minister made very clear, when he introduced the Bill, what exactly he had in mind, but I think that the Minister should make this section much more specific.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Section 4 accordingly deleted.
Section 5 agreed to.
I move amendment No. 5:—
To delete paragraph (b) and substitute:—
(b) the gaming does not extend over a period exceeding ten days and has not been carried on during the preceding three months as part of the show when being held at that place or anywhere within three miles of that place, and
There are two reasons for the amendment. The first is to make it quite clear that in this Bill we are concerned only with gaming at these shows: we are not concerned with the shows themselves and accordingly they can continue as long as the owners want to stay, provided the gaming does not go on for more than ten days.
The extension of the period from a week to ten days is the second point. The representatives of travelling showmen asked for an extension so that they could stay over a second weekend. The amendment is designed to enable them to do so and I recommend it to the House. The draftsman has also taken the opportunity to alter the wording a little as some Deputies found that the reference to "area" in the section as introduced was confusing.
I should like to add a word on the substance of this provision. It is designed to deal with a particular type of show—the circus or travelling show which stays only a short time in any one place. The object of the provision is to let such a showman have some games of chance—and some lotteries also as will appear later— without any formality. Some Deputies may say: "Why not let him stay a month or two or three if he wants to?" My answer is that if he wants to stay a long time, and wants to carry on gaming all the time, there are other provisions in the Bill to provide for him: he is not the type of showman for which this particular section caters. I am satisfied from my discussions with showmen that there are a number of showmen to whom this section will apply, and I suggest to the House that because of the nature of their business they can and should be exempt from the requirements which the bigger showman who stays for a longer period must be asked to comply with. If the period were extended to, say, a month, we obviously would have to impose the same restrictions as on carnivals—and that is not going to help the showmen concerned at all: quite the contrary.
Acceptance of my amendment involves rejection of amendments Nos. 6, 7 and 8 put down by Deputy Moran.
Deputy Moran has an amendment to this section which says that "three miles" should be substituted by "one mile". We have not yet heard from the Minister why he decided the distance should be three miles.
If the distance were a mile the showman could switch around for one week and come back again. I have it on good authority that the three-mile limit would be much better for all concerned.
That would be so in the case of different parishes. Are we sure this does not apply to cities and towns?
I wish to say that I support this idea of the three-mile limit. If the rural areas are to have a chance the Minister should stick to his three-mile limit.
Another amendment in Deputy Moran's name suggests that the word "week" should be substituted for "month".
So long as a showman does not carry on gaming in excess of the stipulated ten days there is nothing to prevent him from applying to a court.
In connection with this ten days' condition, I presume this applies to small showmen in rural areas.
That is what is intended.
A number of Deputies are anxious that the existing facilities for amusement which the people in rural areas enjoy are not taken away or that they do not make it so difficult for the showmen that they will pack up. Is this condition of ten days to be taken as consecutive or can the showman run gaming for two days in one week, three days in the next and so on?
But can the showman not break up the ten days over a longer period?
There is no word about "consecutive" in the section.
"A period not exceeding ten days."
Yes, but if the showman is staying for six weeks may he not break up his ten days over that period?
I would like that matter clarified. There are times when it would be wet for four days and when the showman could not run any gaming.
The second part of the section would take care of that matter. It says: "and has not been carried on within that area during the preceding three months".
There can be ten days' gaming every three months.
I may be very slow in this because I cannot understand why, if a man wants to stay in one place for a month, he should not be allowed to spread his ten days over that period.
He would possibly get in under Section 7 or he might be catered for under another section under which he would be entitled to get a licence.
I think it would be better if the position were clarified as to whether or not the ten days must be consecutive. I do not believe it is of any great importance but I think it would remove that particular doubt.
The showmen themselves have accepted this. We discussed the whole matter with the showmen.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 6, 7 and 8 not moved.
Amendments Nos. 9 and 12 can be taken together.
I move amendment No. 9:—
At the end of paragraph (d) to insert "and", and to add to the section the following paragraphs:—
(e) no player may win more than the value of ten shillings in each game, and
(f) neither taking part in nor the result of a game entitles the player to take part in any other game or lottery or otherwise to receive or be eligible to compete for any money or money's worth, and
(g) notice in writing of the dates of gaming at the show has been previously given by the promoter to the sergeant in charge of the local Garda Síochána station.
This amendment deals mainly with the imposition of a limit of 10/- on such games. I am glad to be able to state that I discussed the matter with a number of showmen and they said it would not impose any hardship on genuine showmen.
This stipulation recurs in other sections. As the Minister mentioned, 10/- is odds of 20 to 1 when 6d. is the maximum stake. But the fantastic position arises in these pongo parlours where anything from 150 to 200 players participate in the more popular seaside resorts. Does the Minister appreciate the fact that if 200 players pay 6d. each, the promoter takes £4 10s. out of each game and that all the unfortunate patron gets is 10/-?
The Minister's statement, that he is getting odds of 20 to 1 is correct, but this is in my opinion most unjust, and if the Minister is attempting to give amusement to people and at the same time couple that with some justice, then he is not achieving his purpose. If there is an average of 40 games in a night one could lose 10/- on the night. Against that if the promoter with 200 players in an average size arcade has 40 games, he takes his £4 10s. out of each game and will so get £180 altogether. Is not that the position? It is no wonder that some people in the amusement arcades were delighted with some of these provisions.
He can give five prizes of 10/- each.
There is only one prize in pongo.
I have seen several prizes.
What is the prize in pongo ordinarily?
We feel that for a prize of 10/- a large number of players, such as 200, will not be content to play all night.
Even so, they will not play all night.
I do not think it is right to limit the prize money to 10/-.
Would the Minister not put in a percentage of the takings in each game, or would the Minister not consider the present system which the promoters themselves operate? They advertise on a small blackboard that the pool is 30/- and deducting 10/- for running expenses, the prize fund is £1. If more people come in for the next game the pool could go up to 70/- and after deducting the 10/- the prize fund would be £3. When people move away, it might fall to as little as 5/-.
Does the Deputy not realise that what he is suggesting is illegal and these people could be put out of business if the law were enforced? What is being done here is to provide a reasonable opportunity for reasonable games.
If only one-third of the total takings when say 60 people are playing at 6d. each is to be given back—I think that is not fair.
They need not play if they do not like it.
We know that. We need not have the Hospital Sweep either.
There are many thousands of pounds in the Sweep and here there is only 10/- each time as prize. I do not believe that the proprietor is going to get as much as £1.
I am sure that Deputy O'Malley knows that the stake at most carnivals is 2d.
If you have a limit of 6d. on the bet what is the great need to limit the prize? Why is there not an opportunity given to the speculator to get more?
The whole thing is designed to prevent gambling.
Not to have the inducement so great—that is quite right.
I agree with the limit being put on the amount paid in stake but I do not see the sense in limiting the prize money to a sum of 10/-.
By keeping the prize money down we are not encouraging people to gamble.
This Bill is not to encourage gambling but to discourage it and to allow a reasonable amount of amusement. If we want to let everyone rip and try their hands at getting substantial money in prizes the approach to this Bill would be different.
When the Taoiseach says this Bill is to give amusement he should know it is a fact that many of these people do not go in for amusement but with considerable business acumen——
That is what we want to stop.
I disagree with Deputy Boland, too——
The Minister has told us that it is designed not to encourage gambling.
I submit that is gross hypocrisy in a nation in which the normal instinct, I might say, is gambling. An unfortunate elderly man or woman can derive amusement from these games even though they are not able, due to age or for other reasons, to go to Shelbourne Park or Harold's Cross——
The Deputy is rending our hearts with his tragic story.
——where there is no control. The State is very glad to bring the tote into the greyhound tracks now. It is recognised that the State can derive revenue there as it already derives revenue from the racehorses. I am very glad that Deputy McQuillan supported me on this point —I would be quite satisfied with a stake of 6d. if the punter were protected. But he is getting no protection. He can play all night and 40 games would cost him £1 but if he wins one game he gets only 10/-. Perhaps a percentage could be brought into the Bill or the figure of 10/- could be raised to 30/-?
Deputy O'Malley is quite incorrect in saying that revenue from either horse or greyhound racing is derived purposefully and by way of recognising horse-racing and dog-racing and thereby recognising gambling. The amount of revenue that is got is only incidental. The purpose of the revenue and the purpose of dealing with the greyhound racing by the tote is—so far as horse-racing is concerned —to encourage the bloodstock industry and in the case of the dogs to see if we can regulate greyhound racing in the interests of the public generally.
We must also remember that the showman's business gives a good deal of employment. We can have no doubt about that. I think the 6d. stake is correct but I think when you limit the stake to 6d. that in itself will control the prize money. I suggest that the promoter be allowed to fix the prize. As the Deputies know, you might have 60 people in one of these places in one day and you might have only 20 the next. I suggest that it should be left to whoever is running the show to limit the stake money.
That is what we are doing.
And let the showman take £5 and pay out £4 10s.
I am not asking that the showman should take £5 and pay out £4 10s. They would be glad to do that. I suggest that they should be allowed to fix the prize money in fairness to the stake.
I ask Deputies to consider that the purpose of this Bill is not to encourage gambling but to discourage it. If the Deputy makes the case that we ought to encourage gambling then that is a matter to be considered. Do you want to encourage gambling or not?
I do not think my suggestion would encourage it half as much as having betting offices all over this city and other cities.
I think a 10/- limit is suitable and reasonable.
Arising out of matters mentioned by the Taoiseach—he said the main interest in encouraging the tote was in the interests of the bloodstock industry and that a new Bill to encourage the greyhound industry would also be introduced—I appreciate that, but nevertheless the whole system of totalisation and betting has operated to the benefit of successive Governments. Last year £5,750,000 was wagered on racecourses and another £6,000,000 in bookmakers' offices, making a total of £11,750,000 wagered last year in this country, and look at the substantial cut which the Government took from that. The amount of money wagered on the totalisator was £1,936,000.
What about the Government cut on the tote?
The tote took its cut for the advancement of the bloodstock industry but the Government took their cut from the bookmakers.
Tell us what was the cut the Government got?
From the bookmakers' offices they got 1/6 in the £1 and on the course they got 6d.
You cannot include with the bookmakers what the tote takes. They are two different things.
An amount of £11,750,000 was wagered last year in bookmakers' offices and on the course and the Minister is talking about a limit of 10/- to discourage gambling.
The Deputy is now arguing for better gambling.
It seems to me that the amendment has been brought in in order to cut out gambling as far as the poorer section of the community is concerned. I am sure the Minister can produce any number of letters in connection with widows who have been left without anything for themselves and their children because of this terrible game of pongo. That, I understand, is one of the reasons why this particular section has been introduced to this Bill—to prevent people from spending all their wages on a game of pongo. Yet we have bookmakers' offices scattered all over the country and only last week I saw applications by three different individuals to set up fresh bookmakers' offices in an already overcrowded area.
In these bookmakers' offices a man can gamble away his whole week's wages and leave his wife and family without anything to live on for the remainder of the week.
On the other hand, if a poor family go to the sea and if the mother and father and the older children go to an establishment where pongo is played, they go there to meet their friends and have a friendly chat. There is some kind of social amenity in this but, nevertheless, they have to be saved from themselves by limiting the amount of money they can make in a bet. I am not objecting to placing a limit on the amount they can bet, but I have not heard any serious reason advanced why there should be any limit on the amount they can win. If there is a feeling in the House that there should be a limit surely the amount of 10/- is a partly one when the value of the £1 to-day is only 8/6 in comparison with what it was in 1938.
The place where pongo is played performs a social function in many areas and I think it is far better to have people going into such places and spending a few bob and perhaps winning a £1 or 30/- than to have them going into a bookmaker's shop and losing all their wages and leaving their wives and children without means of subsistence. If we are serious about preventing gambling why not tackle the matter at the proper point? Do not attack that section of the community which is the weakest and the most vulnerable.
I know well that if the Government is serious about tackling gambling they will keep far away from the bookmakers because these people can protect themselves and they form another very strong vested interest. If we have these strong vested interest talking back to the Government they will be listened to, but there is nobody to speak for the poor individual who walks into a pongo school and lays a bet of 6d. and then is told by the proprietor that by law 10/- is all that he can win.
I am informed that the normal stake in pongo is 2d.
But he can win more than 10/- for that 2d.
It seems to me that there is a considerable amount of misapprehension about this section.
Are you not making provision for the 6d. stake?
You are still encouraging gambling. It must be remembered, as I say in connection with the misapprehension, that at the present moment all this kind of thing is illegal. We could have left them there and not brought this Bill in at all. What we are doing is providing reasonable facilities under the law so that the law will not be brought into disrepute as it has been in the past by the law being enforced in some places and not in others. We are giving a position where people can come into a particular circus or show, knowing that they are doing something legal, something reasonable and something which is not encouraging gambling.
Deputies must make up their minds whether they want to encourage gambling or not. If they want to discourage gambling for high stakes and to leave the position where there will be a reasonable amount of amusement without the excitement of heavy gambling, I suggest the section in the Bill is the proper approach. The House should make its choice. To bring in the number of betting shops that there are around the country or the fact that betting on horse-racing is allowed is entirely irrelevant to the present consideration.
My recollection is that the imposition of the duty on bets and the provisions in regard to betting shops were brought in, not for the purpose, primarily, of raising revenue, although it did that incidentally and does it now, but for the purpose of regulating something which was going on anyway in an illicit fashion and bringing it out into the open. Before the betting tax was put on there were, as we knew as students—I knew—betting men around the corners of the streets, taking slips and going to the bookies.
There are 20 now for the one then. That is the trouble.
That is the trouble. It may be that there is an evil there. I am very far from saying that there is not.
There are only two points I want to make. If betting shops are wrong, why should we try to put the pongo shops in competition with them? Why should we try to make the prizes more attractive, to take them away from the betting shops, if betting and betting shops are wrong?
The second point is this: pongo places are not full all the time. The seats around the table are not fully taken up. Very often the proprietor has to put up the prize to attract a crowd and he gets very little out of it. He is not operating the whole year round, whereas the betting shop is operating the whole year round.
Judging by this debate it would appear that some Deputies never play pongo. Pongo is another name for house, which has always been condemned in this country. The game is called pongo, baseball, lineup and by other names in order to get around the difficulty. When there is a small crowd at a pongo stall in a carnival the cards are only 2d. and the proprietor gets half the collection and puts so much into the pool. If the pool is not won to-night, the crowd goes back on the following night. I have known cases where the cards were anything from 6d. to 1/-. When pongo started first there was a limit to the number of cards of 38. As time went on there was no limit on the cards and the showman had the big advantage, instead of the people who were playing. That is the case at every show, even those organised for charity.
Forget about the seaside for the moment. Think of towns where charity bazaars were organised. Men and women were losing their wages, playing up to one o'clock at night, waiting for the shilling card or trying to win the pool. That is why some protection for these people is necessary. In the city and towns and throughout the country pongo is played under various names and the working people are fleeced. I often lost 50/-. One night there were two of us to divide the prize. I got 5/- and my partner got 5/-. There could be 100 cards out. That is where you need the protection, to limit the number. In that way you would be doing something to help the player. The showman should not be allowed to issue up to 80 cards and give only the same prize as he would give if there were 30 people playing.
Reference has been made to horse-racing and dog-racing. The poor people that I have in mind do not attend such race meetings. It costs 10/- to go into the ring and therefore the workers do not go there. It costs 2/6 to get into a greyhound track. These two things are entirely different from pongo. They were legalised by the Fianna Fáil Government and betting shops were licensed.
Oh, no. It was long before we came in.
The main thing is to protect the people in the towns where pongo is played.
My experience of showmen is that they are as decent a lot of men as any other men in the country.
They are all English, Welsh and Scotch.
I think it is very unfair to be talking about them in this way. If anything is to be limited, I prefer that we should limit the stake to a smaller amount and give a fair prize for it. If you are serious about doing away with gambling, why not limit the stake to 3d. and leave the 10/-? I have played pongo and I think the fairest way is that the prize would be limited according to the number of players and the number of stakes received.
At a travelling show or circus how are you ever going to limit it to the number of players?
I would leave it to the proper channels.
You would have to have a Guard standing at every pongo game.
I would allow the man to retain so much.
How can you limit it except by saying that the prize may not be more than so much?
By having the stake and the number of players limited.
We are all agreed on that. Are you going to leave it wide open, to have it as big a game as anyone likes to put it?
I would rather limit the stake money to 3d.
I think the Taoiseach's suggestion would solve everything. He suggested 60 players at 2d., that is 10/-. Ten shillings would be split and 5/- would be retained. In the Bill, 6d. is the stake. Therefore, why not leave the maximum prize 30/- and everyone would be satisfied?
It is "not exceeding 6d." The showman can charge 2d. if he wants to.
And he can make it a 5/- prize.
With the 6d. stake why not have a maximum prize of 30/-?
That makes it a big game, particularly with a 2d. stake.
And a 30/- prize? You are giving very big odds then.
Is it not being overlooked that by giving a higher return of 30/- or £2 to the person who hazards the stake you are seeing that he is not skinned or robbed and does not lose excessively? If the winnings are raised from 10/- to 30/- does not that guarantee that a person who wins goes home with a lot more in his pocket?
That is all right if he wins but if he does not win, he loses just as much.
We know that but, if he wins, he gets nothing more.
Amendment put and agreed to.
I move amendment No. 10:—
To add to the section the following new sub-section:—
(2) For the purpose of paragraph (b) of sub-section (1), the promotion of a lottery shall be deemed to be the carrying on of gaming.
The purpose of this amendment is to ensure that a circus or travelling show may not, having had gaming for ten days at a place, then proceed to operate lotteries and thus prolong the playing of gambling games outside the intention of the section.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 6, as amended, agreed to.
I move amendment No. 11:—
To delete paragraph (c) and substitute:—
(c) gaming at the event does not extend over a period exceeding one month, and.
The provision, as it stands, refers to the period for which the carnival or other event is organised. What we are really concerned with, however, in the Bill is, of course, the gaming at the carnival, and as this is so, I suggest that the time limit should apply only to the gaming and not to the carnival itself. It is not a point of much practical importance but, for the sake of consistency, the amendment is desirable.
Amendment agreed to.
I move amendment No. 12:—
At the end of paragraph (e) to insert "and" and to add to the section the following paragraphs:—
(f) no player may win more than the value of 10/- in each game, and
(g) neither taking part in nor the result of a game entitles the player to take part in any other game or lottery or otherwise to receive or be eligible to compete for any money or money's worth, and
(h) notice in writing of the dates of gaming at the event has been previously given by the promoter to the sergeant in charge of the local Garda Síochána station.
This is similar to amendment No. 9 made in Section 6 which specifies the value of prizes and notice to the police of the dates when gaming is carried on.
Amendment agreed to.
I move amendment No. 13:—
To add to the section the following new sub-section:—
(2) For the purpose of paragraph (c) of sub-section (1), the promotion of a lottery shall be deemed to be the carrying on of gaming.
This is similar to amendment No. 10 on Section 6 and is for the same purpose, to ensure that, if lotteries and gaming are carried on at a carnival, the overall period within which they may be carried on is one month.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 7, as amended, agreed to.
I move amendment No. 14:—
Before Section 8 to insert the following new section:—
8.—(1) In this section—
"qualified individual" means an individual who, during the period of 12 months preceding a given date, has had his usual or principal place of residence in the State;
"qualified company" means a body corporate in the case of which both a majority of the members and a majority of the persons exercising control and management are qualified individuals.
(2) Nothing in Section 6 or Section 7 shall render it lawful for a person to promote, assist in promoting or provide facilities for gaming to which Section 4 applies unless—
(a) that person is a qualified individual or a qualified company, and
(b) if that person is acting on behalf of another person, that other person is also a qualified individual or a qualified company or an unincorporated body of persons, each member of which is a qualified individual.
(3) This section does not apply to an individual who is merely assisting in the promotion of gaming in accordance with a contract of service.
This amendment proposes to put in a residence qualification for persons promoting gaming at travelling shows, carnivals and so on. There is another amendment, amendment No. 20, to be moved later, the effect of which will be to apply the same test to applicants for licences for amusement halls and funfairs. The need for a residence qualification arises from the very nature of the business; the promotion of gaming is particularly open to sharp practice and fraud. It is, therefore, desirable that those engaged in this business should be living here, so that if there are grounds for criminal proceedings or grounds for complaint, the person concerned will be available to answer.
Amendment agreed to.
I move amendment No. 15:—
Before sub-section (3) to insert the following new sub-section:—
( ) This section does not apply to the playing of a game where no stake is hazarded by the players other than a charge for the right to take part in the game, provided that—
(a) only one such charge is made in respect of the day on which the game is played, and
(b) the charge is of the same amount for all the players, and (c) the promoter (if any) derives no personal profit from the promotion of the game.
As Section 8 stood, the prohibition on gaming, defined in Section 2, on licensed premises might be held to include the playing of collective games, such as whist or bridge drives, or darts or ring competitions which are generally promoted for charitable or sociable purposes. This amendment will enable games played in such circumstances to be carried on without infringing the law.
Has Section 8 been passed?
No; we are amending Section 8.
Could I make a point on amendment No. 14?
That amendment has been agreed to.
I did not hear it being passed. There is only one point I want to mention.
I will allow the Deputy to make the point, but the amendment was put to the House and nobody spoke, so I declared it carried.
Sub-section 1 of amendment No. 14 says:—
"‘Qualified individual' means an individual who, during the period of 12 months preceding a given date, has had his usual or principal place of residence in the State".
The words to which I object are "has had his usual or principal place of residence in the State". I respectfully submit that the interpretation of that is going to lead to the greatest difficulty, and it is very important that there should be no doubt at all in the mind of the district justice or any other person as to what "a qualified individual" means. I submit that the present definition is much too lax and ambiguous and will give rise to a lot of difficulties. For instance, if a very big English bookmaker has a mansion down in Buckinghamshire and another mansion in Ballsbridge, which is his principal place of residence?
It is a question of fact.
Why can it not be set down in a common-sense way, such as "where he lives for the greater part of the year"?
That is a question of fact, too. If the Deputy will not mind my interrupting him—this phrase "usual or principal place of residence" was the phrase suggested by the draftsman as being the one least likely to cause any difficulty and one which has been interpreted by court decisions from time to time, so that most lawyers know where they stand on it. If we depart from it and set down any other definition, it will lead to far more trouble than the Deputy imagines.
Amendment agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 8, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
Sub-section (1) proposes that the licensee of premises licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquor shall not permit gaming on the premises. It is gaming which is not permitted on the premises and gaming, as defined, means playing a game for stakes hazarded by the players. I should like to make it clear that, as I understand the Bill now, we are forbidding the playing of games on licensed premises, such as "rings", which are played on licensed premises for a small stake and other similar types of games played very frequently in such premises throughout the country. We are prohibiting these types of games taking place on licensed premises.
Amendment No. 15 deals with that position. It allows darts and bridge and whist drives in hotels and that class of thing.
Is it not clear beyond any question of yea or nay that, when this Bill becomes law, a publican can play any game—whist, forty-five, or poker—in a portion of the premises where drink is not usually served, if the players are friends of his and if he entertains them and pays for the drink himself? Is it not definite that, when the Bill becomes law, whist, poker, forty-five and darts can be played on every licensed premises?
Provided there are no stakes.
If there are no stakes? That is different from what the Minister said.
You will not be able to play poker there, unless you want to do it for love.
There is no love in poker.
The law at the moment is that you cannot play them and even cannot play bridge or whist, and it is in order to ease that position that the amendment was put in.
I think it is going to ease a few people out of the licensed premises. When speaking on the Second Reading the Minister said:—
"Section 8, which prohibits gaming on licensed premises, and Section 10 which provides penalties for cheating, are simply restating 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 the operation of some of these harmless games in public-houses, licensed hotels and clubs."
That means, if what the Minister states is correct, that darts can be played for a bottle of whiskey. Darts could be played with a bottle of whiskey as a prize. A game of forty-five could be played——
I am glad to hear that. Sub-section (2) of Section 8 states:—
"This section shall not prohibit the licensee or his private friends—"
Have some of us public friends?
A publican has public friends.
I think the word is superfluous.
"This section shall not prohibit the licensee or his private friends from playing cards for stakes in a part of the premises other than that in which the sale of intoxicating liquor generally takes place."
Everything in this Bill is governed by "generally" and the Bill is full of ambiguities. Why did the Minister not state that he would have to take them up to his private sitting-room or the private portion of his house? He could sell drink three or four times during the year and I am just trying to envisage what will happen if vigilant young Guards read up these provisions.
We are giving them a concession they never had.
Question put and agreed to.
I move amendment No. 16:—
In sub-section (1), lines 12 and 13, to delete "that is to say, any machine".
This is a drafting amendment and the purpose of it is to make quite clear that the section does not prohibit all slot machines used for gaming. Slot machines not used for gaming are not, of course, affected by the Bill. There is no ground for believing that machines used for the sale of cigarettes or chocolates are prohibited. The Bill prohibits only those slot machines which deliver cash prizes or tokens, which the promoter undertakes to exchange for cash or which would operate the machine again; in other words, the Bill prohibits machines such as the "Bell-fruit" machine; it prohibits them whether operated in the ordinary way or by a token coin.
Is a machine prohibited where the prize is other than a token or a cash prize?
That is not the statement the Minister has just made. He said that all machines apart from those used for the sale of cigarettes or chocolates would be prohibited. Will he give an example of the type of machine and the type of prize he has in mind? Some type of machine was mentioned by the Minister.
The one-armed band. I wonder would the Minister specify the type of machine. I think the best description is what is known as the claw lever type. By the insertion of a coin and the manipulation of handles one can take out a box of chocolates or a cigarette lighter perhaps.
They are not caught. Perhaps it is only fair to say they may be caught under another section but permitted to be carried on under the provisions of that section.
They are not being put in the same category as the slot machine.
No. They are not, the absolutely prohibited slot machine, the one that gives money or money's worth or a token that can be exchanged for money.
Would not chocolates be money's worth?
No man will give money back for a box of chocolates.
I raised the question of chewing gum and weighing machines.
They are not caught. This refers only to gaming machines.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 17 and 18 not moved.
Section 9, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 10 to 12, inclusive, agreed to.
I move amendment No. 19:—
At the end of paragraph (c) to insert "and" and to add to the section the following paragraphs:—
(d) no player may win more than the value of 10/- in each game, and
(e) neither taking part in nor the result of a game entitles the player to take part in any other game or lottery or otherwise to receive or be eligible to compete for any money or money's worth.
This amendment is similar to amendment No. 9 in Section 6 and amendment No. 12 in Section 7; the same considerations apply.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 13, as amended, agreed to.
I move amendment No. 20:—
Before sub-section (3) to insert the following new sub-section:—
(3) A certificate shall not be granted unless the applicant shows that he is not disqualified by Section 8 from the promotion of gaming under Section 6 or Section 7.
This is a consequential amendment. The purpose of this amendment is to apply to applicants for amusement hall licences the residence qualification which has already been discussed in connection with the promotion of gaming at travelling shows, Section 6, and carnivals, Section 7.
Amendment agreed to.
I move amendment No. 21:—
Before sub-section (3) to insert the following new sub-section:—
(3) It shall be a condition of the grant of a certificate that music or announcements of any kind whatsoever shall not be broadcast by any method from an amusement hall so as to be audible outside such amusement hall.
The wording of the amendment may not be altogether satisfactory. It is not my intention to interfere with fancy fairs or carnivals which broadcast from fields or public parks. The case I have in mind is that affecting the city business centre. In O'Connell Street at night one will hear a musical broadcast from one of the principle restaurant windows in order to draw attention to the trade. This is not a very pleasant practice. Down in Talbot Street there are two public halls vying with one another in trying to attract patrons. There, music is blared forth from morning until night and the result is that the ordinary business people cannot carry on their trade to their satisfaction. This is a great nuisance to traders. I appeal to the Minister to consider the matter and take some steps to stop this interference with traders in the centre of the city. I do not want to interfere with the musical attractions provided at seaside resorts during the holiday period but I do not think this practice should be permitted in the heart of the city. It is disconcerting to find this practice in the principal street in Ireland, O'Connell Street. There should be some method of control. Another type of business has crept into Grafton Street. I refer to the public auction.
That would hardly come under the scope of this Bill.
I did not think it would be tolerated there. So far they have not taken to ringing a bell. I appeal to the Minister to consider some favourable amendment of the Bill to deal with the situation I have outlined in the interests of the traders who have complained.
I should like to draw the attention of the House and of the Minister to the fact that this amendment, if accepted, could be very dangerous. The abuses which Deputy Byrne has in mind could go on even if this amendment were accepted. The danger is that if this suggested improvement were applicable to dance-halls a crank living beside a dance-hall could object and have his objection sustained to some kind of legitimate amusement. I know the outrage some of these blaring amplifiers cause in built-up areas particularly during election times.
The corporation should adopt a by-law if they want to stop it.
I shall look into the matter and try and suggest a remedy on Report Stage.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
I move amendment No. 22:—
To delete sub-section (4) and substitute:—
(4) The certificate shall specify the period in the particular year to which it relates for which the licence is to be issued.
I feel this amendment will have general acceptance. It leaves it to the courts to decide the period within which an amusement hall may operate in any year. Acceptance of the amendment involves rejection of amendments Nos. 23 and 24.
The section as it stands provides that the certificate shall specify the period for which the licence is to be issued, beginning not earlier than Easter Sunday on any year and ending not later than the 30th September, in the same year, as the courts might decide. There is something in the Minister's amendment that would leave it to the discretion of the courts but I cannot see from a practical viewpoint why the certificate should not run for the whole year in the same way as dance-hall licences run for 12 months. I would suggest to the Minister that in the interest of uniformity the section would specify a yearly licence.
I would suggest there is no good reason against that. If there is one thing more than anything else that tends to bring the law into disrespect it is to have different interpretations given on similar issues by different district justices. This House is the place in which the period of the licence should be defined and I see no reason why the House should not do so; I can see no reason why it should be left to the discretion of the district justices to interpret the period during which a licence should run because from a practical point of view the place to decide the duration of the licence is here. We should not leave it, willy-nilly, to the discretion of every district justice throughout the land.
Is there to be no reply to Deputy Moran's point about the varying interpretations which district justices make in these matters? Justices who we assume take their duties very seriously in matters like this are placed in an unenviable position because other justices in other areas might treat their duties lightly. There should be some uniformity of practice in a matter of kind.
I think it was not intended that any disrespect should be shown to Deputy Moran's point. I think it was decided it was better to leave it to the District Court to fix the period of the certificate rather than to have us here putting down our foot about a certain period which would cover the entire country. Such a decision of ours would cover different areas where different conditions obtain. In some parts of the country a month might be adequate while in others 12 months might be desirable. Interested parties, we thought, might make a case in the courts. In the City of Dublin there are certain hall owners who want to stay open all the year round. They can go into the court and make the case that this has been the practice for years and that it should continue. They can give their reasons to the court. You have remote country areas where a month might be sufficient and I think if Deputy Moran goes into the thing carefully he will see it is better that there should be different periods for different areas because the circumstances alter according to the different parts of the country. Anybody interested who has a case for a 12 months' licence can make it before the judicial authority.
Why, in no section of this Bill, is there provision whereby the District Court must take into consideration the standard of construction of buildings when applications are made before it?
It can be done under sub-sections (c) and (f) of Section 16, which deal with suitability of premises.
The Deputy will find it at the top of page 7 of the Bill.
Does that cover existing premises, some of which are in a deplorable condition at the moment?
It does. The phrase is taken from the Licensing Acts.
I would again ask the Minister to consider the point I raised and have an amendment brought in on Report Stage. I believe serious consideration should be given to the desirability of having these licences run for a year and not to leave the matter to the discretion of the different district justices. I can see the point the Taoiseach has made, particularly in relation to Dublin, where this thing has been going on for years, but the point is that by this Bill we are legalising something that up to the moment was held to be illegal. I think there should be uniformity as to the duration of these licences. I think the Taoiseach's point does not apply here because I suggest that in this Bill we are taking steps to legalise something that has been accepted for 100 years as illegal. We are creating a new law and I suggest the duration of the licence should be the same as in the case of dance-hall licences. We all know that different district justices have different views and different approaches. You have some district justices who look upon pongo or roulette as being worse than original sin, whereas you have another justice who possibly himself has played the games and regards them as harmless.
There is a right of appeal.
Would the Deputy help us by suggesting the period for which he suggests the licence should be granted?
A year. I am suggesting that if the applicant fulfils all the other necessary conditions he should be able to apply for and get a yearly licence just in the same way as the dance-hall owner who may apply for a yearly licence even though he may hold a dance only once a month. The way I am suggesting is, to my mind, the only practical way. What is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander.
I will consider the Deputy's suggestion on the Report Stage.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 23, 24 and 25 not moved.
Section 14, as amended, put and agreed to.
I move amendment No. 26:—
Before Section 15 to insert the following new section:—
15.—(1) No application for an amusement caterer's licence (other than a temporary amusement caterer's licence for a defined period not exceeding two months) shall be made or entertained unless the person making such application has, at least one month before the hearing of such application, published a notice of his intention to make such application in a newspaper circulating in the district in which is situate the place to which such application relates.
(2) Every person applying to the District Court for the grant of an amusement caterer's licence shall—
(a) in case of an application for a temporary amusement caterer's licence for a definite period not exceeding two months give to the superintendent of the Garda Síochána and the secretary or town clerk of any public authority within whose district and whose functional area respectively is situate the place to which such application relates at least seven days' notice in writing of such application, and
(b) in every other case, give at least six weeks' notice in writing to the superintendent of the Garda Síochána within whose district and to the public authority within whose functional area is situate the place to which such application relates.
(3) The notices specified in subsections (1) and (2) hereof shall state the number and kinds of games proposed to be carried on and the other forms of amusement to be provided.
This goes back to what I suggested here on the Second Stage. My reason for putting down this amendment is to point out to the House that under Section 15 the procedure prescribed would in my opinion be unworkable, that is that "the intending applicant for a certificate shall give 28 days' notice in writing of his intention to each local authority within whose administrative area the premises to which the application relates are situate and to the superintendent of the Garda Síochána for the locality", and that "the notice shall state the number and kinds of games proposed to be carried on and the other forms of amusement to be provided", and that "the applicant shall also cause a notice of his intention to be published at least 14 days before the hearing in a newspaper circulating in the locality".
This would mean that the intending applicant for this licence would have to start off by giving one month's notice to each local authority, and that might mean a county council, an urban council and town commissioners, and to the superintendent of the Gardaí. Then he must also cause notice of his intention to be published 14 days before the hearing in a newspaper circulating in the area. My objection to that matter is that this—and I think there are other sections which would also come into this matter—makes the procedure that is proposed under this Bill in its entirety very cumbersome. Local authorities, as envisaged originally under the Bill, would have to consult between themselves, come to a decision as to whether they would in fact allow the man to operate in their area, and then all this other cumbersome procedure would have to be gone through.
What I am suggesting is that notice would be served on them, as I have set out in my proposed amendment, and then it is open to the local authority to come in and object or record their objection before the district justice who will be hearing the application. I think from the factual point of view, this is the way the matter should be approached. I think the procedure is cumbersome as laid down in the Bill at present and that it would really be beyond the applicant's ability to comply with the regulations as laid down. The different periods set out are cumbersome and wrong. Under the procedure as proposed in this amendment, the local authorities will get due notice and if they wish to come in and object they may do so as they do come in to object to dance-hall licences because they consider the halls structurally unsuitable, or need alterations, or that the number of people attending them should be limited. They would have all these facilities to do that. I think the same procedure should be adopted here so that the local authorities could explain their views and ask for any limitations that might be desirable before the court at which the application is being heard. I do not know whether the Minister has considered this matter since I made the point when speaking on the Second Stage. I do not know the Minister's views now and I would like to hear from him.
Section 15 provides that advance notice of intention to apply for a licence must be given to the local authority and to the superintendent of the Gardaí and further that a notice must be published before the application is heard. This gives the opportunity to parties resident in the area to come in and object if they so desire. Deputy Moran's amendment would nullify the whole spirit of the Bill. It would give a chance to individuals without any licences to come into an area and exploit the people. Therefore, I cannot accept the amendment.
I still do not quite understand what the Minister's intentions are under the Bill. I shall summarise it briefly and I want to know if this is the position. Does the Minister contemplate that, first, an amusement caterer has to apply to the local authority, that they then have to sit down solemnly and decide whether they should allow him to have a licence or not? Having gone through that he has to come along then under this proposed court procedure and give a month's notice. Then he must give 14 days' notice in the newspapers before the court application. If I am misreading this, the Minister will no doubt correct me but that is the way is appears to me.
I think the Deputy is misinterpreting it—I hope I am not. Under the section as it stands, all one is required to do is to give notice of his intention to apply for a certificate of the court under Section 16 within 28 days. One also gives notice in the newspapers. The section merely provides for the giving of notice to the local authority and to the Gardaí in order that if they wish, they may come in and be heard in court just as notice must be given if there is an application for a new licence. The local authority has not to sit at all; they merely get the notice. If they do not wish to come into court, they do not have to.
If the Taoiseach is correct, I will accept that. There is only one other matter arising and that is the proposal to allow for a temporary licence. It may and will happen, obviously, in practice that people who did not consider applying say at the annual licensing court, would if applying later have to give at least one month's notice, then 14 days' notice by publication. I want to know if the Minister has considered the position of an applicant who by force of circumstances or for some particular reason would apply possibly for one licence for a special event?
I want to know whether the Minister has considered the position of the applicant who, by force of circumstances, or for some particular reason, would apply, perhaps, for only one licence for a special event and possibly for a very short time. What I want to provide for is that in that case he could, without wasting all this time, apply for a temporary licence for a week or a month or for whatever period he requires it. The Minister can visualise the case of a very small travelling showman who leaves one town after a couple of days and goes on to the next. He may be only waiting in one town for two or three days or for a week. Under this Bill as it stands he cannot wait in any town at all because he cannot get a licence.
This section applies only to a man with fixed premises in Dublin or who sets up in a seaside resort such as Galway or Tramore for three or four months of the year. Such a man will be thinking of making his application for a licence three months before the summer season will begin. He will have his notices furnished and the newspaper advertisements published and so on. But take the position of the small man who moves around from place to place and week by week. Such a man would want a multiplicity of licences to operate under the section as it is drafted. He would want a separate compartment for legal advisers and it would be practically impossible for him to keep track of the applications in every county and possibly in every big town. He could not possibly operate otherwise or he would be breaking the law.
I suggest that the Minister should accept a procedure whereby a particular person who is not staying in one place for any more than 14 days or a month can apply for a licence without publishing the notices in the newspapers or giving notice to the local authorities. I suggest that such a man, at 48 hours' notice, could go into the local Guards and then go into court and get a licence. That kind of man has not been provided for in this Bill.
Under Section 6 he can come in without permission.
I do not agree that he can. Section 6 is the part which deals with the circus or other travelling shows.
You were talking about an isolated case. Under the Bill an individual has not to make application to a public board. Such a board would have already decided whether or not they would allow such amusements in their area. The local authority will decide whether they will allow the amusements for a certain period and when they decide in a general resolution that they will grant licences such a resolution cannot be rescinded for 12 months.
If what the Minister says is correct, then what the Taoiseach says is incorrect. That is the point I was speaking about a few moments ago when the Taoiseach said that the local authority had not to sit on this matter at all. As far as I can see, there is no provision for a public board to grant a licence to such an individual as I have mentioned. I cannot see it in this section and I say that Section 6 does not cover it.
Take the position of the man who has a very small travelling show that spends just a week or part of a week in each particular town throughout the whole of the country. That man is not covered if he wishes to travel from Galway to Mayo. Even if he wishes to travel from North Mayo to South Mayo he is out and he is breaking the law as I see the proposed law that we are going to write into the Statute Book. It is some time since I read this Bill but I remember making it up and deciding that such a man was not covered under it unless we could provide machinery for making an application for a licence for a shorter period without having to give the written notice and publish it in the newspapers.
It seems to me that Deputy Moran is under a misapprehension in regard to the provisions of Part III of the Bill. First of all, there is a very distinct provision covering the travelling show moving throughout the country. That is the kind of show covered by Section 6. Part III is the part of the Bill which licenses a permanent amusement hall, and not a travelling show. In that case it is the hall itself that is to be licensed. As I read the Bill all the provisions of Part III following Section 11 only come into operation if the resolution required in Section 11 is adopted. Once that is adopted then the following sections will come into operation. It is only following a resolution under Section 11 that Section 15 begins to operate. Section 15 is only a preparatory section to the hearing of the applications referred to in Section 16 and it is only to put in operation the different matters A to F which come under Section 16. These are the ordinary notifications required under the ordinary Licensing Acts but they only apply when the procedure set out in Section 11 has been carried out. Section 11 is the key to the operation of the other sections set out in Part III. I think that if that is understood the difficulties mentioned by Deputy Moran do not exist.
The Minister may consider this matter before the Report Stage. I am still not satisfied that the situation which I envisage will not arise. My difficulty in putting down the amendment was this: Going back to Section 12 for the moment for the purpose of my argument, I had in mind when dealing with the other amendment a moment ago that the local authority may by resolution adopt this part of the Act in respect of the whole or a specified part of its administrative area and that for the purpose of Section 12 the administrative area of a council of a county shall not include any borough, urban district or town and that a resolution shall not have effect unless not less than one month's notice of the intention to propose it has been given in writing to every member of the local authority and has been published by advertisement in at least two newspapers circulating in the area to which the proposal relates.
That section, I take it, has been passed. I proposed to do away with that section for the reasons I am advancing on this section because the whole matter of the procedure is interdependent. I want to say again on this amendment, and the same thing went for the previous amendment, that, supposing the local authority has to be put in motion, who is going to put it in motion? Is it the showman? Does a prospective amusement caterer, if he wants a licence, have to start off and get a special meeting of the local authority held to deal with the matter? Somebody must do it. The Minister for Health shakes his head. Under Section 12, which the House in its wisdom has passed, it must be done by somebody.
I was shaking my head because the local authority cannot consider it in relation to a particular case. It has to take the general case.
I agree that it has to take the general case. Take the County of Dublin or the County of Mayo or any other county. Before anybody can get within shouting distance of a court the local authority must sit down and deal with this matter and discuss it between themselves and debate the rights and wrongs of allowing gaming in their county. They must come to a decision and then a resolution of theirs in the matter shall not have effect unless not less than one month's notice has been given to every member of the local authority. That must be done, I assume, by the county manager or somebody else before they get together. One month has elapsed because the manager must give them notice. Somebody must give notice to the county manager. I am trying to put the Minister's horse to a practical cart because it appears to me that first the amusement caterer must start off to get at the county manager; the county manager must then give at least one month's notice to the members of the authority. Possibly two months have elapsed by this time. Then the local authority come together and decide to pass or not to pass the resolution. If they do pass it and are going to allow the Bill to operate and are going to allow gaming within the confines of their county they have to publish that by advertisement in at least two newspapers circulating in the area to which the proposal relates.
All that cumbersome rigmarole has to be gone through before the applicant himself starts to give notice. It would be Tibb's Eve, under that procedure, before any amusement caterer would know whether or not he could get a licence. He would want to start in the month of January to get a licence to play a game of pongo the following Christmas Eve, the way this matter is drafted.
I would point out to the Minister that the House has adopted Section 12. I was providing under this amendment for a temporary licence for a temporary building or that the showman, who moves from place to place, could be licensed without getting on to his bicycle and getting on to the county manager and the manager getting on to the local authority and the local authority having to deal with it and then the showman going back to his solicitor and so on. I do not want to take up the time of the House unduly but I am suggesting that that procedure is completely unworkable from the point of view of the people who want to operate the Bill.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 15 agreed to.
I move amendment No. 27:—
At the end of paragraph (a), line 48, to add: "or, in the case of a body corporate, of the persons exercising control and management thereof,".
This is merely a drafting amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
I move amendment No. 28:—
To add the following new sub-section:—
(3) (a) Every application under the Act for an amusement caterer's licence (except an application for a temporary amusement caterer's licence for a defined period not exceeding two months) shall be made at an annual licensing District Court and at no other time.
(b) In addition to any conditions that a District Court may insert in an amusement caterer's licence the following conditions shall be inserted in all such licences—
(i) the stake in any game carried on under such licence shall not exceed 6d.,
(ii) no person under the age of 16 years shall be permitted to play.
Would that not be ruled by the decision on the previous amendment?
This amendment is also tabled to provide an alternative procedure for the procedure I proposed to delete out of the Bill. Under this amendment I was again proposing that a temporary amusement caterer's licence for the travelling showman would be allowed, and I was including due safeguards in respect of the games that might be played and the age of the people who would be allowed to play. If the Minister proposes, as apparently he does, to go ahead with the procedure which I have already characterised as being cumbersome and completely impossible to work, that is the Minister's affair and I withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 16, as amended, agreed to.
I move amendment No. 29:—
To delete paragraph (c), lines 20 to 22, and substitute the following paragraph:—
(c) by a person interested in opposing the application.
I do not know what the Minister's view on the amendment is.
Surely the Minister would accept the amendment. As far as I can see it, in many cases there are individuals, sometimes cranks, who represent nobody, who may be opposers. You are giving such a person a right, not only to hold up the person in a particular walk of life but to add extra cost and so forth in having to go to court. The judgment of the District Court where such an opposer would be heard should be sufficient.
At least one should know one's opponents.
They would, in the District Court.
There might be other opponents in the Circuit Court on appeal.
I do not think it is fair.
You agree? That is fair enough.
Is the Minister accepting the amendment?
The Minister for Health says he agrees with it.
Surely it would be all wrong to entitle a person, by Act of Parliament, to appeal from a court decision in which he had no interest, good, bad or indifferent. If he was a party in any way to the District Court proceedings, it might be proper that he should have the right to appeal against the decision of the district justice, but to give a man in the moon, who was in no way a party to the District Court proceedings, by Act of Parliament, the right to appeal against something to which he was no party would seem to be all wrong.
From the point of view of precedent, there are very many statutes under which a man who has no right and who comes in and opposes a particular application can appeal and, as I suggest here, should have the right of appeal. For instance, again drawing the analogy between this and the operation of the Public Dance Halls Act, in one area, you may have three dance hall owners who are satisfied with certain hours. They may be satisfied to finish their dances at 12 midnight, but there may be two more in the same area who want to go on until three o'clock in the morning. All these are separate applicants under the Public Dance Halls Act and any person can appear, as is the position under many other statutes, and make his objections. If one individual or somebody in the locality who objects to late dances comes in and makes his objection, should he not have the right to appeal, if the matter is decided against him?
If he raised the objection in the first instance, yes.
The section restricts the persons to the persons who objected, in the first instance. It would not be fair to the caterer or showman to have somebody who had not appeared in the District Court coming forward when the appeal came up.
It would be most unreasonable to accept an amendment to give outsiders a chance of doing so who had not come in, in the first instance. If they have forgotten about it, they have the 12 months' period.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
I move amendment No. 30:—
To add the following new sub-section:—
An amusement caterer's licence granted by a district justice shall remain in full force and effect until it is altered, amended or refused on appeal by a judge of the Circuit Court.
My reason for putting down this amendment is that the person interested may be held up for a very long time pending an appeal and I think he should be allowed to operate under the licence given to him until such time as it is altered or repealed by the circuit judge.
I should like to support the principle behind this amendment. It seems to me that where a district justice had a full hearing, with all the rights of parties to oppose the application and where he comes to a decision that it should be granted, it would be an injustice if the applicant were to be held up for a period of something like two and a half months or possibly three months, merely because a person, who might be a crank, without any ground for opposing the application, served notice of appeal. There is no provision, so far as I know, for any person appealing against an order of the district justice entering into any sort of recognisances. A crank can come in, show no case and be rejected by the district justice, and then file a document with a stamp costing 1/- on it and hold the whole matter up for three months.
Or during the long vacation.
That is two months, and it may be three months between the District Court and Circuit Court hearings in the same area. I suggest it would be more just to permit the person interested to continue to operate.
I am advised that this amendment is unacceptable in principle and in form. If the principle were accepted, amendment of Section 44 would be required; but the proposal coupled with the proposal to delete sub-section (4) of Section 14 is for perpetual licences for gambling saloons and is contrary to the general structure of the gaming provisions of the Bill, which seek to keep public gaming saloons restricted both in numbers and their operations.
If the Minister is refusing to accept this amendment, he should not base his refusal on the fact that it might be necessary to amend some other section of the Bill. There are quite a number of other sections that I should like to see amended. I think the principle behind this amendment is a sound one and I suggest that the Minister should at least reconsider it to see if the position can be met in some way. The points urged by Deputy Moran and Deputy Finlay are, in my view, cogent points. It is possible under the sections of the Bill adopted by the House already that an application made to the District Court can be opposed without any real grounds, can be opposed by someone who has a bee in his bonnet and can be opposed, not only against the interest of the applicant but even against the public interest. As the Bill stands, unless some such amendment as this is inserted, there is nothing at all to prevent such a person, once he has appeared in the District Court, pursuing the matter to an appeal in the High Court.
I can visualise a situation in which a district justice has no doubts whatever with regard to the merits of an application and grants it, and an appeal is then made by someone of the character I describe. In those circumstances, as the Bill stands, the unfortunate applicant is going to be without a remedy, until the appeal comes off, and, as Deputy Finlay has pointed out, that might well be a period of two to three months later, depending on a number of different factors. I do not believe it is the Minister's intention, or that of his Department, to do an injustice to an applicant in these circumstances and I strongly urge that this matter be reconsidered before Report Stage.
It is quite possible that a district justice might even dispose of the opposition as being frivolous, and, notwithstanding that, the applicant is put to a certain amount of trouble.
We will consider it again to see what can be done before Report Stage. We do not want to inflict an injustice on any section.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 17 agreed to.
Sections 18 and 19 agreed to.
I move amendment No. 31:—
To add to the section the following new sub-section:—
(5) This section does not apply to the printing of tickets, counterfoils, coupons or other documents for the promoters of a lottery promoted and conducted wholly outside the State.
This amendment is necessary because some Irish printing firm have contracts for the printing of tickets for foreign lotteries which are lawful under the laws of the countries in which they are promoted. The tickets are sent out when printed and are not sold here. It is a drafting amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 20, as amended, agreed to.
I move amendment No. 32:—
Before Section 21 to insert the following new section:—
21.—No person shall print, publish in any newspaper or periodical publication, exhibit on any cinema screen or broadcast by radio any notice or announcement concerning a lottery (other than an announcement of the results of a lottery declared by any provision of this Part not to be unlawful) or cause or procure any such notice or announcement to be so printed, published, exhibited or broadcast or knowingly circulate or cause or procure to be circulated any newspaper or periodical publication containing any such notice or announcement.
The amendment proposes to replace Section 21 by a new section, which is not as severe. I have taken into consideration certain criticisms of the section as it stands and I agree that it needs to be modified. I think the amendment is as far as we can reasonably be expected to go to meet the objections raised. The whole principle of the Bill is that gaming and lotteries in moderation should be allowed. In allowing them, however, we must recognise that we are running a risk that they will do some harm. We do not want to go too far. All these things were illegal up to now and there is the danger that the Bill will give them a fillip. To permit newspapers or radio advertising of lotteries would, therefore, in my opinion be most unwise. We are providing for announcements in the Press, etc., of the results of lotteries as, otherwise, subscribers would have no easy means of ascertaining results and this would be conducive to fraud on the part of promoters.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Section 21 accordingly deleted.
Amendments Nos. 33 and 34 not moved.
Section 22 agreed-to.
I move amendment No. 35:—
Before Section 23 to insert the following new section:—
23.—A lottery shall not be unlawful if—
(i) it is promoted as part of a circus or other travelling show, or
(ii) it is promoted as part of a carnival, bazaar, sports meeting, local festival, exhibition or other like event and the persons arranging for the holding of the event derive no personal profit from the event or from the lottery, or
(iii) it is promoted by the licensee of a licensed amusement hall or funfair as part of the entertainment therein, and
(b) it is promoted on a day on which, under Section 6 or 7, gaming is permitted, and
(c) 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, and
(d) the tickets are not sold outside the place or premises where the event is in progress, and
(e) they are sold only on the same day as the draw and announcement of results, and
(f) the price of each ticket is not more than 6d., and
(g) no person may win more than the value of 10/- in the lottery, and
(h) neither taking part in nor the result of the lottery entitles the participant to take part in any other lottery or game or otherwise to receive or be eligible to compete for any money or money's worth.
The object of this amendment, apart from such changes in line with similar changes made by earlier amendments, to which I need not refer again, is to permit small lotteries to be run in amusement halls and at funfairs and travelling shows, in the same way as at carnivals. This provision is necessary because some of the amusements commonly found at these places and which at first sight might be regarded as gaming are in fact lotteries.
Section 23 does not appear to cover the ordinary gaming which often occurs, namely, the small lottery at a dance. This amendment does not seem to bring it in either. There does not seem to me to be any reason why at a carnival, bazaar or sports meeting one can hold a cloakroom ticket-that is generally the way these things are run-confined to the people there, with a small prize and at a dance in aid of charity one cannot; very often such a lottery forms part of the revenue derived at dances in aid of charity. I do not know whether "exhibition or other like event" would cover that, but it seems to me that would beejusdem generis as far as construction goes and would be governed by the preceding words “carnival, bazaar, sports meeting, local festival, exhibition.” The words “or other like event” would be construed with reference to the same type of recreation, say, and would not cover the matter in the ordinary way.
What is the explanation for the complete change or principle in Section 23 in the Bill as introduced and the proposed new section? Promoters of lotteries were debarred under sub-section (b) of Section 23 of the Bill as introduced from any personal profit. That has been dropped entirely and I am wondering why there is this change of principle.
Sub-section (a) of Section 23 says:
"...is promoted by the committee of a carnival, bazaar, sports meeting, local festival, exhibition or other like event."
That would include dances.
In the proposed new section the principle of no personal profit is dropped and the promoter, who is the licensee of an amusement hall, is no longer debarred from making a profit out of a lottery. Naturally, he will run it from the point of view of the profit he can make out of it. He will not run it as a charity. I would like the Minister to explain why the principle enshrined in the original Bill has been dropped.
With respect to what the Minister said in reply to Deputy Finlay, I do not think that the words "or other like event" cover the holding of a lottery at a dance or ceilidhe. I suggest that an amendment could be inserted to clarify the position. The courts interpreting that section would apply theejusdem generis rule and, in construing the words “or other like event”, would construe them in the light of the previous words; and the previous words would not carry the construction that they covered dances. I ask the Minister to look into the matter.
Perhaps Deputy Briscoe would look at the previous section. The original Bill, as drafted, has now been amended to include lotteries in the gaming section in relation to what can be done at a travelling show or circus; and it appears to me that the alteration of the section merely balances that out again.
But there is a change of principle.
There is no change of principle. The original Bill which permitted gaming under certain circumstances at travelling shows or circuses would not appear to have reference to lotteries. An amendment has now been introduced, which we have passed, which puts lotteries under the gaming provisions and this amendment that we are now discussing puts lotteries back in the same position. I do not think there is a change of principle.
Speaking as a layman, it appears to me Section 23 specifically states that if anybody wants to run these small lotteries he can do so provided there is no personal profit.
But the lottery must be promoted by a committee of a carnival, bazaar, sports meeting, local festival, exhibition; they have now inserted the words "as part of a carnival".
The ordinary person who is licensed and runs one of these amusement places as a business will now be entitled to sell these tickets for these small lotteries under the same terms and conditions as the promoter of a carnival run for charitable purposes and, as I read it, he is not precluded from making a profit. I want to know the reason for the change of principle.
I, too, would like a little clarification on this. I thought I followed the reasoning when Deputy Finlay was speaking, but I confess now I do not. In Section 4 an amendment was introduced with regard to the type of gaming which would not be unlawful. That provided that the game would not be unlawful if the various things were implemented, one of which was that the promoter would derive no personal profit. That was on a par with Section 23 dealing with lotteries in the original Bill. Under that section one of the conditions attached to making lotteries lawful was that the promoters would derive no personal profit. For some reason or another, though the amendment in Section 4 has been introduced, that particular subclause has now been dropped from the amended Section 23. I must say it does not appear clear to me why that has been done. There may be some profound reason but as Deputy Finlay suggested I cannot see it.
It is to permit small lotteries to be run in amusement halls.
"The promoter to derive no personal profit." Those words are omitted now.
Though they were in the Bill earlier.
It seems to me that an effort is now being made to make the thing uniform. Under Section 23, as it stood, there was the prohibition that deriving a personal profit excluded them. It is now proposed to have a new sub-section in which the price of each ticket is limited to 6d. and the prize limit is 10/-. That is in accordance with the principle already approved in the Bill. In other words, it is saying there is no objection to small lotteries. Rather it is an effort to make the thing uniform.
Would the Minister look at Section 4 and consider sub-section (c) of that new section?
I do not follow the Deputy.
The Minister should look at the final paragraph in the new Section 4.
The principle of no personal profit is reintroduced in the new Section 4.
That refers to gaming; the section we are now debating refers to lotteries.
Lotteries have been declared to be gaming also.
Let us not get back to that again.
The lawyers will have a great time out of this.
Where you have social events like whist drives or céilí or dances small lotteries were usually run on cloakroom tickets and the proceeds devoted to charity——
——or a bottle of whiskey. My only concern is that such people should be covered by some later charitable section with regard to lotteries if not in this new Section 23. In other words, I should like to know if dance or céilí committees who run an event for charity are covered by another section or will this section apply a limit to the lotteries they hold? If a subsequent section covers them I am not concerned.
If Deputy Finlay can get a bottle of whiskey for 10/- he need not be concerned.
There has been a change in Section 23. As Section 23 stood in the original Bill it permitted these small lotteries at carnivals and like events and what Deputy Finlay and myself want is that these lotteries would be permitted provided no personal profit was made. The point here is that the original Section 23 did not put any ceiling on the prize fund. We all know that a number of charitable organisations hold functions like dances and make part of their profits out of the raffles held. A lot of these people, in order to cover their overheads, hold such raffles. As the section stands you would not have a successful raffle if the winning ticket yielded only 10/-. We know the Minister can say these people may apply for a permit, but that is a cumbersome system. It would be a very simple matter to re-word the section making it clear that persons who promote raffles at carnivals or local festivals or dances will be entitled to do so provided they do so out of no view to profit for themselves. It should be provided that they are entitled to give whatever prize they wish.
I agree with 95 per cent. of what Deputy Declan Costello has said. I interjected the bottle of whiskey because it is worth more than 10/-. I disagree with him only on the point that the term "profit" can be arguable. Perhaps Deputy Costello will listen to me and help me. We all know there are organisations that sometimes have to run events to get funds to keep going. Some of these organisations come around to various people—they come to ourselves occasionally and we give them a present of perhaps a goose or a hamper, the value of which would obviously exceed 10/- and there is now this ceiling which Deputy Costello refers to. Where I cannot agree with him is on the point of where profit begins and ends. If we have an organisation that wants to make funds to pay off a debt on a hall or some such liability, and if they run these raffles, obviously the profit is for these organisations. I think Deputy Costello suggests that the Minister should review this amending section and include something which would meet what he has in mind and possibly remove the doubt in our minds about this ceiling so that there would not be the necessity to have to apply for permission to raffle a bottle of whiskey or a hamper at Christmas. I think the inclusion of some defining word would overcome the difficulty.
I also wish to support Deputy Declan Costello. I do not think that to date we have adverted to the fact that the amendment proposed by the Minister very drastically curtails the liberty which it was proposed to give under the old Section 23 of the Bill. Every one of us knows that for many years past, whatever may have been the strict letter of the law, at every social function for charitable causes or for political causes it was the universal practice to hold a 2d., 3d., or 6d. raffle and invariably the money value of the prize was more than 10/-. In fact I do not believe you would get anybody to subscribe to even a 1d. draw if the prize were only 10/-. It seems to me that the amendment now proposed is going to wipe that out completely.
I do not know if the attention of the House has been drawn sufficiently to this. Undoubtedly if the amendment is accepted in its present form it must have the result I have indicated. Perhaps it is the intention that this will not be enforced rigidly. I do not think that should be put up as a defence. We are passing this legislation to try to rectify the position which has obtained here for very many years where the Legislature, the Gardaí, and everyone else has to close one eye to what was going on. I think Deputy Costello and Deputy Briscoe are quite right with regard to the ceiling imposed under this amendment. I would like to draw attention to paragraph (h) of the proposed amendment. I think it is within the knowledge of everyone here that a popular prize in a number of these raffles is a Sweep ticket in the Irish Hospitals Sweeps. That has been a customary prize for many years past.
And it is above the ceiling.
Under the proposed amendment that would become illegal also. The final remark I want to make is in connection with paragraph (d) and it is this. Most of us know that in order to make money out of these raffles, to have them successful, enthusiastic committees often prepare for months, certainly weeks, ahead, distributing their raffle tickets and trying to dispose of them. But under Section (d) of this amendment they are not entitled to sell the tickets outside the place where the event is being held. It seems to me on reading the amendment proposed by the Minister that he is departing from the spirit in which he introduced this Bill to the House. He made it quite clear—and I certainly applauded the manner in which he introduced it—that he was accepting to a great extent the factual position which had been obtaining here for a number of years where certain forms of gaming and lotteries existed because of public demand, and that the effort behind the Bill was to curb excessive gambling in the form of gaming and lotteries. I feel, pending what the Minister may say on it, that he is departing from the spirit of his Second Reading speech in the amendment which he is now proposing.
Might I suggest that Section 23 as it stands in the Bill remain in and that a new section be added, the proposed amendment No. 35, with sub-section (a) (ii) deleted from it?
In view of the opinions on both sides of the House, I am prepared to consider this for the Report Stage.
I would like to add to that suggestion that the word "dance" be inserted as it may not be quite clear in Section 23.
Does this mean that Deputy Costello is suggesting that the existing Section 23 is retained and that only a certain paragraph of the proposed amendment be inserted, or the whole of it?
No. My proposal is that the proposed amendment be inserted as well as Section 23 making another class of lotteries lawful and excluding sub-section (a) (ii) from any class of lotteries that will not be lawful because they are already included in Section 23 as it stands at the present time.
We have made progress towards what we were discussing but I am not yet clear whether that would include consideration of the ceiling to which Deputy Costello referred.
Yes, because there would be no ceiling then.
Would it also meet the point Deputy O'Higgins was making, I think, in regard to paragraph (h) when I inadvertently broke him off it by a reference to the ceiling? Would one be prevented from offering by way of a prize a ticket in a lottery?
It would not apply to a festival or bazaar.
I think a ceiling is ridiculous because it is not actually what the prize is that does the harm; it is the amount of tickets bought or sold. Surely nobody could suggest that if there is a raffle at any of these functions for a 10/- prize it is necessary that the price of the ticket should be limited to not more than 6d. It would be ridiculous to suggest that anybody would be prepared to pay any more than that when the prize is limited.
I think that the important thing, so far as the whole Bill is concerned, is to prevent so many tickets being sold that there is danger to the pockets of the people buying them apart entirely from the nuisance effect of the whole thing. I would agree with Deputy Costello that the suggestion he has just made would certainly improve this section of the Bill.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 23 and 24 agreed to.
I move amendment No. 36:—
In sub-section (2), paragraph (b), lines 47 and 48, to delete "£300" and substitute "£600".
This amendment is down in my name and that of Deputy Liam Cunningham and I am not very enthusiastic about it any more, but seeing that he is not here I formally move it. The view of my Party is that £300 is the right sum and the House may want to discuss it because it seems that Sections 25 and 26 are very much related to each other. If I have a choice after hearing the arguments I shall "go" for the £300 if there is a vote.
There are various amendments which are similar. Would it not be a good idea to debate all these together?
Amendments Nos. 36 and 37 may be taken together.
On Section 25, I would suggest that provision be made for the form of the appeal to the District Court from the refusal of a Garda superintendent to grant a permit. No form is prescribed in the Bill at the moment and I suggest that provision be made for it.
Are we discussing the three amendments Nos. 36, 37 and 38?
Amendments Nos. 36 and 37 are cognate.
The first one deals with the proposal to raise the limit form £300 to £600 while the other amendment is a proposal to reduce the period from six months to three months.
The point we want to make is that the amount mentioned by the Minister in his original Bill is £300. My colleague and I have put down £600 and Deputy O'Higgins has put down £1,000.
It is not the same thing. Section 25 deals with permits issued by the Minister for small lotteries and I agree that £300 is big enough. Section 26 deals with annual licences.
If you have a lottery run in Dublin as against a lottery run in the country and the limit there is £1,000 or £600, you knock out the country altogether.
Evidently £300 is accepted in this section.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 37 not moved.
I move amendment No. 38:—
To add to sub-section (4), page 9, line 6, the following:—
If more than one lottery is held in any week, the total value of the prizes for the week shall be not more than £300.
How did this arise? Paragraph 3 of Section 25 provides that a permit shall not be granted more than once in six months for the purpose of one beneficiary. That means that more than one lottery could be held in one week.
Amendment agreed to.
Section 25, as amendment, agreed to.
I move amendment No. 39:—
In sub-section (2), paragraph (a), line 15, before "or" to insert "cultural".
I asked the Minister to accept the insertion of the word "cultural" as it would cover organisations such as Cara and the Gaelic League.
They would come in under the legal definition of charitable organisations.
Will the Minister accept the word "cultural"?
The legal definition of "charitable" is very wide and includes all sorts of things including "cultural".
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
I move amendment No. 40:—
In sub-section (2), paragraph (c), line 19, to delete "three hundred pounds" and substitute "five hundred pounds".
I have bid the figure £500 and I do not know what figure the Minister will bid in return or whether he will stick to the £300 limit at present in the Bill. A number of Deputies know the reason why I have suggested £500 and others have suggested £600 and others up to £1,000. The reason is that, at present, as Deputies are aware, a number of very deserving charities are running raffles, admittedly outside the law, but none the less they are holding them for very deserving purposes. It has come to my knowledge, as it must have come to the knowledge of a number of other Deputies, that the promoters of these raffles have had extensive experience, over a number of years, of the type of raffle which will appeal to the public. These people, who have organised these raffles for very charitable purposes, have informed us that as the Bill stands at the present time it would be impossible for the raffles to be a success. These people have no interest in these raffles other than to get as much as possible for their organisation and I would ask the Minister to bear in mind the representations which have been made to him by these people who have extensive experience of running these raffles.
As the Bill stands at present it is proposed that a district justice may grant a licence for a period up to one year for the holding of a lottery and there are two conditions under which the lottery may be held. One is that the total value of the prizes does not exceed £300 and the second is that no more than one quarter of the gross proceeds should be utilised for the expenses of promotion. I have put amendments down to sub-sections (2) (c) and (2) (e). I have been informed that if these sections remain as they are it will be impossible for these organisations to run their raffles.
It is the whole intention of this Bill to declare illegal this type of raffle and then to permit certain raffles for charitable purposes. Let us not defeat the purpose of the Bill by imposing conditions in the granting of the licences which would nullify the licences themselves.
It is agreed in this House that an unreasonable expansion of lotteries and raffles would be undesirable. I could see no objection to permitting licences to be granted by district justices if the conditions which I have suggested be put in. It is the public we are trying to safeguard by leaving the granting of the licences to district justices and by inserting in the wording of the Bill that licences can only be granted to certain organisations. I see no reason why, if you are going to have raffles run by charitable organisations, the prize fund should not be £500, a figure which I have been informed would be sufficient to enable the raffles to be a success.
This section has been included to provide that no large commercial organisation would cash in on our charitable organisations, which are at the moment deriving funds for excellent purposes from the present system of pools.
Now, that anxiety I share wholeheartedly but at the same time I, like my colleague Deputy Costello, have found that the view of the most easily mollified groups among these promoters is that £300 is altogether too small and that they would require £500, which is the figure which would allow them to promote a decent pool which would have the effect they require. With a weekly contribution of 1/- there is absolutely no danger of a large and countrywide commercial organisation coming in, especially if the maximum prize is only £500.
A typical framework for one of these pools is a group of people, usually in the professional class, accountants, etc., looking after the pool within the parish or within a town and a paid secretary or two, and a telephone. Now, even with the advertising and printing added to that modest expense it is a fact that, as they see it, £300 is not a practical business proposition and I would ask the Minister to reconsider the ceiling of £300 with a view to increasing it to £500 in the realisation that both Deputy Declan Costello and I are with him in his anxiety to prevent countrywide commercial organisations cashing in.
I would like to urge the Minister to accept first the proposal of Deputy Declan Costello to raise the ceiling. The difference between myself and him is on the basis of mathematics. I would like to see it £600. First of all there is the prize. We are talking of the prize, that is, the amount given, not the total amount collected, and I have great sympathy with the point of view he has expressed about the 25 per cent. As a matter of mathematics if you increase the prize the 25 per cent. may work out all right because the total collection has to be so much higher if you take into account that a certain percentage must go in expenses. There is an amendment by Deputy McGrath that 25 per cent. must go to charitable objects. You have the amount of the prize money, the cost of printing and the clerical assistance and so on.
I think we are living a little bit in the past and I think the Taoiseach will agree that £300 to-day is not what it was a few years ago. I am not saying the Taoiseach has any responsibility for it but let us face facts. Six hundred pounds to-day is roughly the equivalent of what £300 was some years ago and I think that if we really want to legislate, with full control, for the purpose of helping these pools which are run for charitable objects we should do it in a way that is not going to be unreasonable. I have had representations made to me similar to those which have been made to Deputy Costello and it is a matter of mathematics.
I will settle for £500 with you.
Are we taking all these amendments together because I am not prepared to settle for £500.
Forty per cent. expenses?
Yes. Five hundred pounds and 40 per cent. expenses?
Forty per cent. expenses.
Amendment No. 43 is consequential on amendment No. 42.
I want to say in relation to amendment No. 42 that the principle behind the amendment is the same as behind Deputy Declan Costello's amendment. It is a fact, and most Deputies on the Second Reading of the Bill referred to it, that there have been in this country for some years various charitable organisations which have found it necessary to turn to the operation of these lotteries to get in sufficient income to enable them to continue their work. I think every one of us will have in mind one or more of these charities and I do not think it is suggested or can be suggested by the Minister or anyone else that the works which these organisations are doing are not very necessary works and not worthy of support from the general public.
Over the years particular organisations have been accorded public support for the lotteries which they run and certainly for the past five or six years these organisations have come to depend on the income which they derive from these ventures to keep the work of their charities going to the extent to which they have been accustomed. I have in mind a particular charity which has been accorded very widespread public support in the South of Ireland although the fund is intended for a hospital operated in Belfast.
I do not want to go into details. I think the Taoiseach and other Deputies are well aware of the circumstances which operate in this particular case and of the reasons which make it pretty well essential that we should not interfere with the work which is being done by this organisation by clamping down, as this Bill appears to clamp down, on their efforts. I want to amend that by saying I am very fully aware that hard cases often make bad law and that it is not possible for the Minister or for the Taoiseach to introduce a Bill of this sort and have regard to every particular case put up to them but I would like to urge again the suggestion which I made on the Second Reading, and I think it is within the spirit of the Minister's speech when he recommended this Bill to the House.
I would like to urge the Government, so far as these lotteries of a bigger type are concerned, to try to freeze the position as it is to-day and as it has existed for some time past. The Minister, when he recommended the Bill to the House, recognised frankly on behalf of the Government that there was public demand for lotteries of the type which we are discussing now in these amendments. These lotteries, for various amounts, giving varying amounts in prize money, have been existing side by side in this country for a number of years past. There has been plenty of room for all of them. No one can suggest that there was anything in any way improper, anyway fraudulent, or anyway irregular in the management of these lotteries. Nor do I think it can be suggested that the existence of these lotteries has to any gross degree whetted the gambling appetites of our people. The weekly contribution for the lottery ticket, or pool, or whatever it is called, is 6d. or 1/-. That is not going to break anyone.
I do not claim that everyone subscribes because of the laudable charitable object of the organisation running the lottery but I do say that in many cases the subscribers are motivated because of the charitable object of the lottery. These lotteries have existed side by side for a number of years past. They have not led to excessive gambling and one has not interfered to any great degree with the other.
There has been room for all of them. They have been able to operate with varying degrees of success. I would urge the Government to accept the position that these lotteries are there and that the Government should try to meet them. If they impose a ceiling, and I agree that they must impose some ceiling, the suggestion I make is that the ceiling should be as high as £1,000. I do not take that figure just out of the air. I take it because I believe that that figure would accommodate even the biggest of the existing lotteries. In the spirit in which the Minister introduced this Bill, we should aim at accepting the position as it exists at the moment and, by whatever ceiling we impose, accommodate even the biggest of the present-day lotteries.
I do not think it is necessary to say anything with regard to the expenses because the Taoiseach has met the House very fairly on that.
I do not want to intervene in the debate again so may I deal with the alternative suggestion I have made in amendment No. 44? I think it is linked to the suggestion I am making in regard to the ceiling, by providing an alternative method of dealing with the matter.
I recognise the Minister's difficulty where he is asked to raise the ceiling to such a level as will adequately accommodate even the biggest lottery being run at the moment. I realise that he must be faced with certain difficulties in doing that and that by putting the ceiling as high as suggested by me he may find himself faced with a position where other lotteries will endeavour to take advantage of that ceiling even though heretofore they have not done so.
As an alternative suggestion, I put down amendment No. 44 which is designed to grant to the court, on the hearing of the application for a licence, discretion to fix the percentage of the gross proceeds which may be granted in prize money. What I have in mind is this: the Minister wants to put in a particular ceiling. Whether it is £300, £500, £600 or £1,000, he wants in this Bill to have a particular ceiling fixed. It seems to me that in most cases whatever ceiling is fixed by the Minister will probably be satisfactory, but there will be the exception where a convincing case may be made to the Minister, the Government or the Dáil that in a particular instance the amount of prize fund allowed should exceed the ceiling. Such applications have to be made to the district justices, and my suggestions is that the district justice should be enabled to fix the percentage of the gross proceeds which may be given as prize money on any particular occasion. That would enable an applicant who feels he has a good case for asking that he should be allowed to exceed the ceiling to make that case to the court.
In another amendment I have suggested that the district justice's decision in fixing the percentage may be appealed to the Circuit Court. I would recommend this course to the Government. It will, I think, save them and save the Department of Justice and the Gardaí a lot of trouble if that discretion is left with the district justice.
I agree that the ceiling should be raised because while a number of pools are running very successfully with a £300 prize limit, quite a number of them have a prize limit much higher than that, and if there were a sudden change, downwards, in the prize money it might have an adverse effect on the pools, which are run for very laudable purposes. I could not follow Deputy Briscoe's line of reasoning that an increase in the prize money might possibly be one way of getting over the question of the percentage expenses.
I have already settled with the Taoiseach. I am satisfied.
Yes. Maybe Deputy Briscoe's line of gambling does not run to football pools.
Indeed it does, I am a regular punter.
Most of the agents receive 25 per cent., and if 25 per cent. were the maximum allowed——
The Taoiseach has stated that 40 per cent. will be allowed now.
Yes, I heard the Taoiseach. At the same time, I am not quite happy that, even with 40 per cent., the pools will be as big as they were.
That is all they have asked for. The Deputy would like to give them more?
I would like to give them more. The idea of increasing the amount to £1,000, as Deputy O'Higgins suggested, is, in my opinion, a good one. I think a £1,000 limit would be a fair one. I would not agree that the matter should be left to the courts because, frankly, I would be suspicious of anything that would have to go into the courts.
It has to go into the court, anyhow.
Yes, but not for the purpose of having the prize money fixed. If it had to go into court the people who would be running the pools would not have all the money; somebody else would have it all.
If the Taoiseach has indicated that he is agreeable to 40 per cent. it would be waste of time to say any more about that, but there is one matter that worries me regarding the operation of the pools, that is, the question of the control or machinery for examination that there will be. I believe that in England the Act prescribes that an accountant who is entirely independent of the people running the lottery must be appointed, presumably by the Minister, that he is paid by the State and the State is reimbursed out of the funds of the pool that he is to account for. The accountant has the right by law to go into the premises at any reasonable hour of the day, during business hours, and he has extensive powers regarding the discovery of documents and so forth. The result of that system is that the pools are, in fact, run strictly according to the law which is in operation regarding them.
I do not think that would arise on any of the amendments. We are dealing with the amendments at the moment.
That is right. It will arise on the section.
I take it that we are dealing with all the amendments to Section 26.
I am withdrawing amendment No. 41 but I want to submit that if you go above the £300 limit for prize money you destroy any chance of a rural area running a lottery. They cannot compete with lotteries run in Dublin. The prizes that can be given by Dublin-operated lotteries destroy any effort on the part of people in rural areas. If you have £300 under Section 25 and £500 under Section 26 and one is run by a committee and the other by somebody else the lottery run under Section 26 will destroy any effort in the rural area. I do not think the Taoiseach should depart from the £300. By allowing 40 per cent., you make the thing a profession.
Why did you put down £600?
I withdrew the amendment.
But why did you put it down?
I withdrew it because I was convinced that it was wrong and I gave my reasons to the House.
He is a proper democrat and he listened to public opinion.
I am sorry I was not here to hear this earlier.
I gave my reasons to the House.
I only wanted to know why. I was not here, Deputy. It is my fault.
He is a proper democrat and has his ear to the ground.
Deputy McGilligan changes his mind on the price of the pint.
Assuming we heard the Taoiseach aright, that he is giving £500 as prizes, there is £125 of that for the promoters. He has raised that to £200, but I think £125 is quite enough for them.
The Deputy is misreading it. It is the gross proceeds, not of the prize money.
It has nothing to do with the prizes.
The expenses have nothing to do with the prizes.
They are raised from 25 per cent. to 40 per cent.
Of the gross proceeds, not of the prizes.
It is a lot more than £125.
In that case, it would be much more.
That makes my argument all the stronger for limiting it to 25 per cent. When we confine it to £300 under Section 25, we should do the same under Section 26.
May I answer Deputy Kennedy's points first? He says that when we have confined it to £300 under Section 25, we should have the same sum in Section 26, but the two sections deal with entirely different subject matter. Under Section 25, a person can get a permit from the superintendent to carry on a lottery on the basis of £300. That is all he has to do, subject to the conditions in the section. Under Section 26, however, it is a much more business-like affair and more of a business than it is under Section 25, because a District Court might grant a licence for a period of not more than one year for periodic lotteries, so that you could have a number of lotteries during the 365 days. The things are quite different.
As regards the £300 to £500, I settled across the House with Deputy Briscoe for £500 and 40 per cent.
And I am still standing by the settlement.
Being, like Deputy Kennedy, a good democrat and open to conviction, and occasionally to pressure. The charitable organisations put the case for 40 per cent. on the basis that it was necessary for them to have that percentage for their expenses, that otherwise they could not carry on. I personally would have thought that 40 per cent. of the expenses was a large amount, but the case was put so cogently from various parts of the House that we decided to give in on the point.
With regard to the amendment by Deputy O'Higgins for £1,000, I state frankly that I had, and still have, considerable sympathy with the case put up by Deputy O'Higgins, because of the people or organisation on whose behalf he is really speaking, and for some little time we considered whether it might be possible to meet that case. I personally approached the consideration of the problem with more than sympathy, with a very great leaning towards doing what the particular organisation wanted because of the particular conditions in which they were; but having considered the entire matter and what granting facilities to that particular organisation or cognate organisations down here would involve, I was coerced to the conclusion that the door would be too widely opened to all sorts of people, if we gave in on it. The promotion of lotteries down here would become a complete business, really big business, and it would develop from being merely a method by which charities can finance themselves into nothing less than a racket, probably organised from outside, so, in all the circumstances, I was personally coerced, in spite of my own personal sympathetic outlook, into saying that £500 must be the limit.
I have great sympathy for the point of view of Deputy Kennedy in relation to the rural areas, although he did put it in a somewhat offensive way from the point of view of a Dublin man like myself, saying that Dublin is getting everything, as Deputy Corry would say from the point of view of Cork. What he really wanted to say, and it is this I agree with, was that, if you have a big lottery which requires big organisation to carry it on and if that big organisation is there, it will tend to put out the smaller lotteries down the country by the local parish priests looking for money to build their churches, schools, halls and so on. To that extent, I have the greatest sympathy with Deputy Kennedy's point of view, but on the whole the £500 and the 40 per cent. meets the general view of the House and it probably meets, so far as we can in all the circumstances, the views of the people outside.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 41, 42, 43 and 44 withdrawn.
The following amendment, amendment No. 45, was agreed to:—
In sub-section (2), paragraph (e), line 25, to delete "one-quarter" and substitute "40 per cent."
Amendment No. 46 not moved.
Question proposed: "That Section 26, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
I want to draw the attention of the Taoiseach to paragraph (d), which sets out that the value of each prize shall be stated on every ticket or coupon. I want the Taoiseach to explain to me where is the power in this Bill to provide for the tickets that are sold at a dance or by a small showman being so printed. These tickets are simply numbered. A showman will have a little raffle at his show, depending on the house he has got on the particular night, for £2 one night, perhaps £1 another night and £5 another night. Take also the case of a sports organisation or a cultural organisation. Very often at their dances, in order to raise a few shillings to help to pay the band, they will have a raffle for a £1 note or a couple of pounds and perhaps give some other prizes. Under this section, it would appear that they would have to have tickets in advance, specifying, in accordance with the law, the kind of prizes they are going to give.
Under the whole of this part of the Bill there does not appear to me to be any provision made whereby people can carry on a small raffle such as is going on from time immemorial at dances, and in particular in a number of cases where small showmen operate perhaps a couple of nights a week in each town. It appears to me that either they would have to come armed with tickets setting out the specific prizes given on each occasion or they could not hold these raffles. I do not say that this whole Bill is unworkable, but that if this is so this part of it will preclude the ordinary dance committee from running a small raffle or the small showman from running a lottery, since the prize would, of necessity, vary from night to night depending on the takings and they would be prevented from doing so under the legislation we envisage under this Bill. I would like the Minister to tell us whether they can carry on with these small raffles as they used to.
Would the Taoiseach deal with the point I mentioned before? I do not think there is anything more I have to say about it.
Do I gather that the Deputy is suggesting that there should be some sort of State official who would be an accountant to examine the accounts of these various people who hold lotteries?
Of course, I think that there is considerable value in what the Deputy says. One of the reasons why we decided ultimately against big lotteries was that it would necessitate the formation of very elaborate State machinery. I would suggest that the Deputy should let this Bill operate for a while till we can see how it is going to work. I agree that there is a lot to be said for his point of view but we cannot do everything at once.
Under Section 48 the commissioner may make regulations providing for the keeping of accounts and other records. He may prescribe whether an accountant should see the accounts but you would not need an elaborate system for every small dance or lottery. Does the Deputy think that this should be regulated by legislation?
No, but it might be desirable to put in a chartered accountant in many of these cases.
I wanted to know from the Minister is he precluding the raffle that takes place at a dance?
We have already agreed under another section to put in the word "dances".
Section 23 will cover most of what the Deputy asks, unless a dance is not a local festival.
Question agreed to.
Sections 27 and 28 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 29 stand part of the Bill."
I wonder whether the Minister between now and the Report Stage would consider clarifying the matters which the district justice is to take into account. At the moment he has to take into account "any other matter which appears to the court to be relevant". It seems to me, if I might say so, that the draftsman got a bit tired when he got to this stage of the Bill. The district justice has an extraordinarily wide discretion given to him under this section. I would like to see some more specific items put which he has to take into account in deciding whether to grant a raffle or not.
Would you take Section 16, which is very specific? Yet it ends with "any other matter which appears to the court to be relevant."
It seems to me that for example, one of the things that the Circuit Court on appeal should take into account is the object of the lottery. I would like to see the section made clearer.
I will consider the point raised by the Deputy.
Question agreed to.
Amendment No. 47 not moved.
Question proposed: "That Section 30 stand part of the Bill."
Under Section 26 the District Court has got the discretion to grant a licence during a period of not more than one year. In other words, the district justice may decide to grant a licence for say, six months. An appeal by the applicant under Section 30 is only from the order of the District Court refusing an application. I would suggest that the appeal be extended to enable the applicant to appeal in the event of an order being granted by the district justice for a lesser period than a year if he so wishes.
You can bring in the equivalent sub-paragraph under Section 17.
There is no amendment.
Question agreed to.
Section 31 agreed to.
I move amendment No. 48 on behalf of Deputy Dunne, if I may:—
To add the following new sub-section:—
The State, for the purposes of sub-section (1) of this section, shall mean the national territory as defined in Article 2 of the Constitution.
I have ruled it out of order.
Then I oppose the section.
Do I gather that Deputy Boland would like to put the national territory as 32 Countries?
Would you like to have it reconsidered?
I would, because there is no case for it.
I move amendment No. 49:—
To add to the section the following new sub-section:—
(2) This section does not apply to the export of tickets, coupons, counterfoils and other documents printed in the State for the promoters of a lottery promoted and conducted wholly outside the State.
This amendment is similar to No. 31. It safeguards the position of Irish firms which print tickets, counterfoils and other documents.
Amendment agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 32, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
I cannot see any case for the section. Under the section you are saying that no person shall send or attempt to send out of the State any ticket or counterfoil or any prize money. I think that is going too far altogether. We have agreed to allow these organisations in the State, and I suppose "State" means the Twenty-Six Counties. A lot of tickets are sold across in the Six Counties and in England, and it would be an undue hardship on those people to prevent them sending any ticket or prize money won out of the country. I do not see any reason for that at all and I have heard no case for it. On the Second Reading I took strong exception to it. I am very much opposed to it, and so are most of our Party. We have had a committee considering this Bill and its members were agreed that the section had no justification at all.
Does the Deputy agree that it is not right to send money out from this country to pools abroad —in England, for instance? That is part of this.
That is not what is here.
I would like to make that point first. We can then see where we stand in relation to the rest of it. As I understand the purpose of this section, it is that if we send out tickets in connection with things, which are legal here, by way of gaming or lottery, but are illegal in England, we are up against the English law.
Are we not doing that already?
Let us put it this way: We do not want to do it any more than is necessary. That is the case for it.
Surely it is neither good business nor justifiable for this House to put a section in a statute which we all know is not enforceable. How is it suggested this section will be enforced? This section prohibits a person sending or attempting 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——
We all know we have the largest organised lottery in the world which is run successfully largely because we are distributing tickets all over the world.
Might I suggest it is not in the national interest to pursue that?
Surely in the year 1955 it is a bit late in the day to go talking "hush hush" about the Irish Hospitals Sweepstakes.
One cannot talk "hush hush."
The less the Deputy talks about it the better.
I suggest it is absurd to put a section on the Statute Book which we all know is impossible of enforcement. Forget about the body I mentioned a moment ago. Take the case of the country parish priest trying to collect funds to renovate his dwelling house or for other parish purposes. The vast majority of parish priests get such funds by running raffles, tickets for which are sent by their parishioners to friends and relatives in England, America and elsewhere. The same is true of many sporting organisations. Many fishing clubs in the West depend largely for funds on tickets sent out to friends in England and America. For all these reasons, I cannot see why we should incorporate this section in the Bill.
I think it would want to be reconsidered.
I think the section should be opposed from another point of view. One thing I am afraid of in relation to it is that the Post Office authorities might be used as a means of enforcing it. As far as Gaelic games are concerned, the State connotes the whole of Ireland and the results connote the whole of Ireland. If this section is enforced the only pools organisation based on our native games will be put out of operation. I think that would be deplorable. I think the House should not introduce a section which will injure not alone our native games but our native language as well. If this organisation is not permitted to operate, the people will then have the right to apply to the State direct for aid. The fact they are not doing that now is no justification for incorporating this section in this Bill, a section which will make it impossible for this organisation to carry on.
We will consider all these points.
Section, as amended, agreed to.
Progress reported: Committee to sit again.