Skip to main content
Normal View

Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 27 Feb 1958

Vol. 165 No. 6

Greyhound Industry Bill, 1957—Committee Stage (Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following amendment:—
Before sub-section (3) to insert a new sub-section as follows:—
( ) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-sections (1) and (2) of this section, the maximum charges in respect of bookmakers carrying on their business in relation to a greyhound race track or part thereof shall not exceed ten times the maximum charges fixed, in relation to the track or part, by the regulations (or by other regulations for the time being in force) in respect of persons who are not such bookmakers.— (Deputies Briscoe and O'Malley.)

When the debate adjourned last night, I was dealing with this amendment. I made the suggestion to Deputy O'Malley that he might perhaps withdraw the amendment and allow us to consider the problem with which he is concerned further. I take it that the bookmakers are concerned mainly with those licensed tracks upon which the totalisators are established. I also am concerned with these tracks. I look forward to the time when it will be possible for the board to abolish the levy. They cannot abolish the levy unless the minimum charge, which will then represent the income the board will get from the bookmakers, is sufficient to compensate the board for the loss of the levy. I hope that is understood.

I suggest that we fix the maximum charge at the sum of the minimum charge plus ten times the admission price to the public. That is to say that the maximum amount which will go to the track will be ten times, at most, the ordinary admission charge. In addition, the minimum charge which goes to the board will be fixed independently. This arrangement is to apply to those tracks only upon which there are totalisators. If no minimum charge is fixed, then the levy will continue to be imposed and the ten times the ordinary admission price will go to the tracks. This will give a reasonable degree of flexibility and it will be confined to those tracks upon which there are totalisators.

In regard to the other tracks, we might say that in due time it would apply certainly to Dublin, Cork, Limerick and perhaps one or two of the other larger centres. In respect of those tracks upon which there is not a totalisator, I think we should not fix any maximum charge because the tracks themselves, since there is no totalisator, will be anxious to attract bookmakers. There is no use in having a track where there is no totalisator, unless you have a bookmaker. The bookmakers will have the monopoly of the betting at those tracks. I am certain it can be a matter of arrangement between the bookmakers' organisation, on the one hand, and the smaller tracks, on the other hand, as to what the maximum admission charge should be.

If Deputy O'Malley will think over what I have said, and let me know in due time, then I would ask him to withdraw this amendment, with the permission of the House, and we will try to draft an amendment for the Report stage which would embody the principles I have outlined.

I appreciate how far the Minister has come to meet my amendment. I think the overall solution would be satisfactory. There is just one point which I should like to mention. At the beginning of his speech, the Minister said that where totalisators are not in existence then, under my amendment, the maximum charge would be ten times the ordinary admission price.

It may be varied by agreement with the bookmakers.

Between the track owners and the bookmakers because it is the tracks that benefit from that section.

I may have to amend that later and we can have another look at it on the Report Stage. I cannot say at the moment what the amendment will be like.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 8 not moved.
Section 48 agreed to.
Sections 49 to 53, inclusive, agreed to.
Amendments Nos. 9, 10 and 11 not moved.
Schedule agreed to.

I move amendment No. 12:—

In page 3, to delete "the Greyhound Industry Board" in lines 11 and 12 and in lines 13 and 14 and to substitute in each case "Bord na gCon".

Amendment agreed to.
Title, as amended, agreed to.

Before we decide when the Report Stage is to be taken, may I raise one general question? It may not be very relevant and I know very little about dog racing apart from the little knowledge I have of coursing. However, owners have asked me to press the Minister to request that the new body to be set up under this Bill would devise some mechanical means for drawing numbers for dogs for boxes. It has also been suggested to me that the same mechanical means should be used before trials for sales. There is also a suggestion that a uniform bell or horn would be used on all tracks throughout the country. The Minister may be able to do something about it.

When the Bill becomes law I shall draw the attention of the Minister for Agriculture to the points made by the Deputy. I suppose he will consider the suggestions sympathetically.

If this Bill becomes law, will the Minister indicate, so as to alleviate some public anxiety, when the establishment date will be—will it be a couple of months afterwards? Does the Minister anticipate that it will come into operation this year—that the Greyhound Industry Board will be set up within the year?

I cannot answer that question. As I explained on the Second Reading, I am only piloting this Bill through the House. I will not have anything to do with the administration of the Act. I do not know what problems the Minister for Agriculture will be faced with when he comes to consider the establishment of the board. No Minister could possibly say when he expects to appoint the date.

The responsible Minister is now in the House.

It will be no problem to me when I come to deal with this.

It will then be in the hands of the nutcracker.

Report Stage ordered for Wednesday, March 5th, 1958.