THE DRAFT DEREGULATION
(BINGO AND OTHER GAMING) ORDER 2002
9. On 28th January 2002 the Government laid before
Parliament the draft Deregulation (Bingo and Other Gaming) Order
2002, together with a statement by the Department for Culture,
Media and Sport.
Our predecessor Deregulation Committee has reported on the Government's
proposal for this draft Order, which would make three separate
changes to the law regulating bingo, namely:
(i) to remove the requirement for licensed
bingo clubs to notify changes to their charges at least 14 days
in advance and for casinos to do the same in respect of cardroom
(ii) to remove the prohibition on licensed
bingo clubs offering lowervalue 'amusements with prizes'
(AWP) gaming machines as well as jackpot machines; and
(iii) to allow for more than one national,
one regional, and one house prize in multiple bingo games.
10. Our predecessors were content that the first
and third of these changes should proceed. They did not, however,
believe that it could be demonstrated that no necessary protection
for vulnerable groups would be removed by the second aspect of
the proposal, especially bearing in mind the limited nature of
the consultation exercise which preceded the laying of the proposal.
They therefore recommended that the proposal be amended by the
deletion of the second proposed change before a draft Order was
laid before the House.
11. Following publication of the Committee's Report,
the Department conducted a further consultation exercise in respect
of this aspect of the proposal. It did so in the context of a
wider consultation on the report of the independent review of
the controls on gambling in Great Britain, chaired by Sir Alan
Budd (the Gambling Review Body), but drew specific attention to
the Committee's comments on this proposal. Consultees included
representatives of a number of organisations specifically interested
in the welfare of those vulnerable groups about whom the Committee
had expressed concern and who had been excluded from the original
consultation exercise. None offered any objection to the proposal;
indeed, the only comment came from the organisation GamCare, which
supported it. No
other representations appear to have been made during the period
for Parliamentary consideration of the proposal.
12. We welcome the fact that the Department has carried
out this further consultation. In the light of the fact that,
having been specifically consulted on the point, no organisation
concerned with the protection of vulnerable groups sees any reason
to object to the proposal, we are now satisfied that the draft
Order meets the criteria against which we are required to judge
it, and we recommend unanimously that it be approved.
13. Finally, however, we also wish to endorse our
predecessors' comments regarding the undesirability of proceeding
with further reforms to the law relating to betting and gaming.
As the Lords Committee remarked in their report on this proposal,
the law on gaming is a mess;
and, as the Government admitted, this change adds a further layer
of complexity to the statute book (albeit that the actual effect
of the law may be no more difficult to follow). We welcome the
Government's assurances, in the explanatory statement accompanying
this draft Order, that the Order would have no consequences for
the controls which might apply in any other premises, nor for
Parliament's freedom to accept or reject any of the other recommendations
in the Gambling Review report.
Nevertheless, as with the law relating to licensing, to which
we refer elsewhere in this Report, repeated piecemeal amendment
of the law relating to gambling has been an unwelcome feature
of the deregulation procedure. Now that the report of the Gambling
Review Body has been published, we look forward to the early introduction
of a Bill which will obviate the need for any further such amendment.
Regulatory Reform Orders should be used to simplify and ease comprehension
of the law, not to add a layer of complexity.
12 Copies are available to Members from the Vote Office
and to members of the public from the Department for Culture,
Media and Sport. It is also available on the Cabinet Office website
Fourth Report, op cit, paras 43-67. Back
Explanatory statement, para 35. Back
Fourth Report, paras 46-51. Back
Twenty-Fourth Report of the Delegated Powers and Deregulation
Committee, Session 2000-01. Back
Explanatory Statement, para 29. Back