Motion to Regret

Part of Gaming Machine (Circumstances of Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 – in the House of Lords am 7:00 pm ar 23 Mawrth 2015.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord Dubs Lord Dubs Llafur 7:00, 23 Mawrth 2015

We had great craic. I was in the fortunate position that I was quite friendly with the then Irish Culture Minister quite some years ago—he is now dead, unfortunately. He was a very good judge of horses. For the first four or five races I put my money on the same horses he did and I was well ahead of the game. I lost him for the last race or two and I contributed significantly to the Irish economy. The races were 25 minutes or half an hour apart; therefore, it was possible to be quite measured about it.

The problem is the speed with which one can lose large sums of money on these terminals. Why are so many local authorities appalled by this? Why is there is a wish to keep the maximum stakes down to £2? Surely not all these people are absolutely against any form of gambling, but the local authorities realise that it can get out of hand.

Initially there were two Lib Dem Ministers on the Front Bench; I am afraid that the arrival of the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, has rather spoilt my story. How was it that they pulled such a short straw to be sitting there, shortly before an election, advocating a case that is against their party’s policy? I cannot understand that. How were they persuaded to do this? The mind boggles. They are smiling now, of course, but they both at one point looked very unhappy about the position that they were in. Their faces revealed what they thought about the whole business. They did not agree with my noble friends, of course.

It is a sad moment that we are putting forward regulations that cannot do much good at best and will do harm at worst. I do not think that the change advocated by my noble friend on the Front Bench would mean the massive closure of betting shops; it would just get betting into a sensible proportion. That is all we are asking. We are not saying that there should not be gambling and betting. It can be fun, but it should not get totally out of hand; I believe that this proposal does that.