MIONTUAIRISC NA FINNEACHTA
(Minutes of Evidence)
Déardaoin, 21adh Márta, 1929.
(Thursday, 21st March, 1929.)
Rev. J. J. Flood (Adm., Pro-Cathedral, Dublin) called and examined.
816. The following memorandum was submitted by Fr. Flood:—
I have been asked by His Grace the Archbishop of Dublin to give evidence before this Commission and so I have handed in a memorandum of suggestions.
It must be stated at the outset, that Catholic teaching does not consider ordinary betting as an ethical wrong. If a man wishes occasionally to risk in a fair bet a moderate sum of money which he really owns and can freely dispose of, he is perfectly entitled to take the risk. His attitude in the transaction does not greatly differ from that of a Catholic who for recreation and amusement plays an honest game of cards for reasonable stakes. But things which are quite lawful in the abstract or in an ideal setting, may become morally risky, or even evil because of their accompaniments or results. Experience shows that this is peculiarly true of betting; for many, one might almost say for most people, who engage in it at all, there is a strange seductiveness which tends almost inevitably to make this form of gambling a habit most injurious in its consequences, a seductiveness which tends to lower the moral tone, to incite to greed and other individualistic and selfish defects.
Other forms of gambling may exercise an equal fascination on certain individuals; but we do not think that any form of gambling makes such a wide appeal or tends so easily to become morally dangerous as betting.
It is because of this dangerous fascination of betting for the multitude and the tremendous risk of great social and moral evil which would surely follow from the wide indulgence in the betting habit, that most modern States have been compelled to use the machinery of law to regularise and control this form of gambling.
When, two years ago, our Government abolished street corner betting and touting, it, no doubt, had this end in view. It is now, however, obvious to all responsible people that the new system established in the Free State—the licensed office for ready-money betting—is far from satisfactory. It is realised that the innumerable facilities afforded for gambling by the new system are harmful to a great number of citzens; that these facilities are at least the occasion of serious loss of time, and often the occasion of temptation to theft, fraud, and embezzlement, and that among the hard-working labouring classes they are the occasion very often of neglect of home and family. When results like these follow on betting in many particular cases, or classes of cases, it must be admitted that such betting constitutes a serious social, moral, and spiritual evil.
And even when the evil of betting does not go so far, it is plainly the duty of the State not only to protect its people against the danger of social ruin, but also to inspire them with high civic ideals, such as the responsibility of citizenship, the value and importance of serious work, and the manliness of self-support and paying one’s way, and of being the helper rather than the helped. Ideals and qualities like these are certainly not fostered by the frequenting of betting-shops.
In view of existing conditions it must unfortunately be presumed that the betting methods recently legalised in the Free State, instead of limiting the betting evil, have apparently had the effect, rather, of extending and intensifying the betting craze.
The number of betting premises far exceeds the needs (if needs they may be called) of the population of our towns and cities. If it were contended by any considerable group that this is not the case, and that more opportunity for betting should be given by increasing the number of existing betting-shops, it would, we think, be time for the Government to take the heroic step of abolishing all offices lincensed for betting. This would be, indeed, an immense blessing, but it would involve such heroism on the part of the Oireachtas and the public that it is not to be expected. Hence the following suggestions are made in the hope of aiding the Oireachtas to find a reasonable, beneficial, and satisfactory solution of the betting problem:
1. All young people under 18 years of age should be forbidden by statute to enter betting offices: and bookmakers should be held responsible for allowing children, even when accompanied by their parents, to remain in their betting-offices.
2. That the number of licensed offices be considerably reduced, especially in the poorer and more congested areas. The multiplication of these offices in such areas supplies a constant and powerful inducement to betting, and renders proper supervision extremely difficult. At the betting-offices one can witness day by day crowds of people—men, women, and children—all lured by the chance of quick and easy gains, awaiting in intense excitement result after result.
3. That the hours of business be shortened so as to run from 10.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. for receiving bets, and from 5.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. for payment on results.
4. No calling of odds or posting up of starters.
5. Under no consideration should the legislature bow to the demand that legalised betting should carry with it the right in law to demand payment of debts incurred by betting. The law as it stands at present is a strong safeguard to that backer who in a moment of excitement or desperation, or while labouring under the false courage which a slight indulgence in stimulants sometimes imparts, wagers beyond his means.
The present law I deem a great protection to that highly-strung portion of our citizens who find their chief pleasure in the excitement of a gamble and who are by temperament inclined to bet beyond their means.
Recovery of debts incurred in such circumstances would mean great injury, not only to the individual backer, but often to his home and family.
On the other hand, it is a warning to the layer not to take exceptional risks. Moreover, the layer usually in the long run comes off best and can afford to submit to a settlement arranged by clubs which exist for that purpose.
6. The present system of paying immediately after results is frequently the cause of crowded offices, and it is, moreover, an incitement to a practically continuous gamble. To remove this scandal of continuous overcrowding of betting offices—for scandal it is to many of our citizens, and to many visitors to our city—as well as to curb this tendency to a continuous gamble, betting debts incurred in offices should be discharged (as suggested in No. 3) only between the hours of 5.30 and 7.30 p.m., or, better still, but once each week namely, on Monday, a day practically free from racing.
If the existing system of paying is to be continued, I venture to say that all other intended or suggested legislation on betting would fail to bring about any change for the better.
7. Should the suggestion (No. 6) re hours of receiving bets and of paying out be not feasible, or one day each week for payment on result, then the alternative should be that offices for payment should be segregated from receiving offices, whatever inconvenience or expense may be involved in making this change. But only such separation is suggested as will obviate the risk of those who receive payment being strongly induced to reinvest their winnings.
8. A high licensing fee, or duty, should be required for the opening of betting offices; and premises of a better-class type should be made obligatory. This, while not creating a monopoly, should tend to reduce the number of offices, bookmakers.
9. I am quite willing to believe that our present state of unemployment, with its consequent lack of occupation, has much to do with that lingering round betting-offices which is such an eye-sore to so many; and therefore, however unwilling I am to do so, I suggest that there be a minimum wager of 2/6. This may be regarded as an undue interference with the liberty of the subject in a State where ready-money betting has become legalised; yet, for the welfare of the poorer members of the community, I deem it a necessity.
817. Chairman.—I desire to say, Fr. Flood, that the Committee are very much obliged to you for coming here to-day to give evidence. If there are any members of the Committee who wish to ask Fr. Flood questions on the introductory matter in his memorandum, perhaps it would be well that they would do so now before we take up the numbered suggestions in the memo.
818. Father Flood raises the question on his memo. of the total abolition of betting offices. I would like to ask him a few questions on that. When Fr Flanagan was giving evidence on behalf of the Central Savings Committee I asked him whether he would advocate the total repeal of the Act of 1926 and go back to the conditions that existed before that Act was passed, when there was a large amount of unlicensed illegal betting going on. Fr. Flanagan said that he would not, because the knowledge of breaking the law was an injurious thing. Would you be prepared, Fr. Flood, to go back to that system of street betting?—The system of street betting was never lawful.
819. But it was found impossible by the police to check it. The Commissioner of the Gárda Síochána has told the Committee that if the Act of 1926 were completely repealed and that betting offices were abolished, street betting would revive and he would not be able to check it?—Prior to the passing of the 1926 Act, for a period of twelve or fifteen years, there was, I think, very little vigilance exercised in the matter of street betting.
Deputy Murphy.—I think Deputy Cooper is wrong in saying that the Commissioner of the Guards said that he could not check street betting. He might not be able to stop it altogether, but he surely could check it.
Deputy Cooper.—The Commissioner of the Guards said that if the Act of 1926 was repealed that there would be a great revival of street betting, and that he would not be able to deal with it.
Chairman.—I gather from the memorandum sent in by Fr. Flood that he seems to be of the opinion that, if certain modifications were made in the present Act, it would be better to carry on in that line rather than go back to the old conditions.
820. Deputy Cooper.—Fr. Flood suggests that the main reason why the Act will not be repealed is that it would involve heroism on the part of the Oireachtas and the public to do so. I think that we must face the fact that the responsible authority in the State has put it to us that repeal of the Act would mean a revival of uncontrolled street betting. Partly for that reason, Fr. Flood is putting forward certain suggestions?—I do not think it is fair to the Guards to suggest that they could not deal with it.
Deputy Murphy.—The phrase used by the officer who attended was, I think, that they could not effectively deal with it.
821. Chairman.—It could be stopped to a certain extent, but not effectively. There was a certain amount of abuse in connection with this street betting?— Not, I think, greater abuse than there is under the present system.
822. I now wish to quote the evidence given by Gen. O’Duffy. The following are the questions and his answers. They will be found in the minutes of evidence given before the Committee on November 21st last:
Q. 52. If this Committee were to make a recommendation for a repeal of the whole Act of 1926, do you think the result would be a big increase in street betting?—Yes, probably.
Q. 53. That the unfortunate people would continue to bet?—Yes, that you would return to the conditions that prevailed before and in a much worse form than before.
I would like to point out to you, Fr. Flood, that it is not lack of courage that would prevent the Committee recommending the repeal of the Act, but the fact that we have certain evidence from a responsible authority that if the Act were repealed we might make things worse than what they are?—As may be seen in my Memorandum, the suggestion made there is my answer to those who advocate wider facilities or oppose reform of the Act of 1926.
823. Realising that we are not in a position to repeal the Act of 1926 you now make certain suggestions?—Yes.
824. You deal in your memo. with the evil of betting and you point out that it is the duty of the State to protect its people. In this matter would you consider it the duty of the State to deal with the Press, through which much of this betting information is spread. If the State were to take on the duty that you suggest, do you not think that it should deal with that aspect of the question?— Yes. It is the duty of the State to see that the rising generation, which is its greatest asset, is protected from acquiring injurious habits. The betting craze is certainly injurious to the moral fibre and efficiency of a young nation. For this reason the overconfident prediction of results so often to be seen in the sporting columns of our newspapers forms a fit subject for State interference.
825. Is it not rather painful at times to read leading articles in a newspaper denouncing the evil of gambling and in the same issue of that paper to find three or four pages devoted to information calculated to spread that evil, pointing to the success of that newspaper’s tipsters’, and so on?—That is certainly a very curious contradiction, but I suppose it is commercialism.
826. Chairman.—You consider that children under the age of eighteen should be prohibited from entering betting shops?—I consider it highly inexpedient that young children should be allowed access to betting shops. These betting shops are very injurious as regards the formation of character. Their influence tends to create a spirit of restlessness and militate against the formation of character so necessary for children. In the case of the non-wage earning section of the community, these betting shops are a great temptation to them to be guilty of small thefts.
827. Do you think that this limitation in the matter of age would have any real effect in putting down this betting craze. I suggest it would be very hard for a bookmaker to tell whether a young fellow who went into his shop was seventeen or eighteen years of age. Do you think that legislation should provide that no one under eighteen should be allowed into a betting shop. How would it be known whether that person was over or under eighteen?—The licensed traders have to meet much the same difficulty. If children under a certain age are found on their premises they can be prosecuted.
828. Do you think it has any effect?— Well, at any rate, it makes them more careful than they might otherwise be.
829. And you think that the bookmaker, like the publican, should be made use his judgment as to whether, according to appearance, a person is or is not over the specified age?—Yes.
830. The age in the case of publicans is sixteen. I suggest that it is much easier to tell whether a person is under or over sixteen than it is to say whether a person is under or over eighteen?—It is a question of degree.
831. I have a daughter who is over seventeen, and I think a stranger would be inclined to say that she was twenty-one. In the case of a person under sixteen, they have not reached full growth, and so on, and I think it is much easier to tell their age than in the case of a person who is eighteen?—It would be merely a question of non-admittance. In case of doubt, if they are not admitted to the betting shop they have no grievance.
832. Supposing a boy was stopped going in because it was thought he was under eighteen, when, as a matter of fact, he was twenty, would he not have a grievance?—It is a privilege to be allowed to go in at all, just as it is a privilege for a bookmaker to have a licence.
833. You think the fact of having a limit of eighteen would be a protection?— I think so.
834. Chairman.—You consider there should be a reduction in the number of licensed betting offices?—Yes. I would advocate that they should be reduced by at least one-half. In the City you have 90 post offices, and the postal service is a very necessary and useful public service. There is certainly more necessity for, and utility in, post offices than betting offices. It should not be the duty of the Oireachtas to bring betting facilities within the reach of the people to a greater extent than they provide facilities with regard to the postal service.
835. Deputy Murphy.—Would it not be hard to decide who is to get a licence if you had a limited number?—It is a privilege for a person to get a licence.
836. Chairman.—Are you aware, in Dublin there are about 186 betting offices? —Yes; I would divide the number by two.
837. Deputy Cooper.—Have you any idea of how you could get that inside an Act of Parliament? Would you have so many in proportion to population, or would you work on the basis of the Local Government area or according to parish? —I would favour going according to area. I would not be inclined to give betting offices in proportion to the population, for in that way you would have most of them in the slum areas, where they do most harm.
838. You suggest we should put into an amending Act that the number of betting offices should not exceed the number of post offices in an area?—Certainly.
839. Deputy Shaw.—That would be only in connection with the slum areas, and it would not affect central Dublin so much, as the abuse would be less?—Yes, the abuse would be less, but I do not confine the evils of betting to the labouring classes. I think a large number of men in a small way of business are very much injured in business by the habit of betting.
840. Deputy Murphy.—Such as clerical people?—And others besides.
841. Deputy Cooper.—The difficulty is that while it is easy to assert a principle it is very hard to get a definition which can be put into an Act of Parliament. You want betting offices generally reduced, and not only in the slum areas?—Yes, generally reduced.
842. Would that be possible by making the suitability of premises much stricter? —I have recommended that later in my memo.
843. You think there should be some provision limiting the number of betting offices, not in proportion to population, but according to some other standard?— To an area with but slight consideration to its population.
844. Deputy Murphy.—Would you suggest that an applicant for a licence should have to pay a very heavy fee?—Yes, if the offices are reduced I would certainly advocate that, but I would not advocate any increase if there is no reduction in the number of these offices, for it would become a question of revenue, and it is false economy to look for a revenue from betting offices.
845. Senator Molloy.—I understand a number of men in the business have several betting offices?—Yes, some have three or four.
846. Some have as many as a dozen in the country. I know a man who has them in six different towns. Would you be in favour of an individual having, say, three offices, paying for the first a fee of £20, for the second a fee of £50, and for the third a fee of £100, and so on? Do you think that would have any effect as regards a reduction in the number of offices?—I would not be inclined to give any man more offices than one. Except he had some marked suitability, I do not see how he could control offices properly if he has more than two.
847. Chairman.—In your memorandum of suggestions you suggest a shortening of the hours of business both as regards the receiving of bets and payment on results?—Yes, that for the receiving of bets the hours be from 10.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m., and from 5.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. for payment on results.
848. Deputy Murphy.—Your reason for not allowing business between 1.30 and 5.30 is so that no results can be received? —Yes. A certain class of people hang around offices looking for inspired information. That turns betting into a business rather than a recreation.
Senator Molloy.—I think the idea of fixing the hours 5.30 to 7.30 p.m. for payment is really good, for it prevents people hanging around offices while the racing is taking place.
849. Deputy Shaw.—Do you not think it would be much better payment would be made on the next day?—I think the ideal thing, if we could carry it through, would be to pay once a week, say on Mondays, when there would be no racing.
850. Senator Parkinson.—Would you also suggest that while the offices are closed from 1.30 to 5.30 no bets could be received by telephone or by telegram?—I would not interfere with betting in that way—by telegram or by telephone.
851. Chairman.—Have you anything further to add to your suggestion in paragraph 5 regarding the legalising of betting?—However lax it may seem on the question of contract, I think, for the general good of those who, as I say, are of an excitable temperament, the law as it stands at present is a great safeguard. The bookmaker knows the position and, therefore, he should be on his guard against taking exceptional risks in the matter.
852. Deputy Murphy.—Does it not seem unfair, if a man puts a bet on a horse, and the horse wins, he gets paid, but if the horse does not win the backer does not pay the bookmaker?—Men who bet with offices of that kind are usually under a limit.
853. You cannot legislate for the small bookmaker and the big bookmaker. You are enunciating the principle that the bookmaker must whistle for his money?— And sometimes, too, the backer also.
Deputy MacEntee.—Might I suggest that the bookmaker need not give credit and can protect himself?
854. Deputy Cooper.—Is it your contention that an extension of credit facilities is undesirable?—Certainly.
855. Deputy Shaw.—When the betting tax was being discussed Mr. Blythe stated he would prefer scrapping the tax altogether rather than to legalise the payment of betting debts, for if that were done many persons might be ruined by getting out of their depth?—I quite agree with that.
856. Senator Parkinson.—It is clearly laid down in the existing law that gambling bets are not recoverable, and you want the law to remain as it is?— I do.
857. Because the law says it is not due. Of course the bookmaker can protect himself by giving credit, and he should not give credit to people who cannot afford to pay?—That is so.
858. Deputy Cooper.—Or to people who do not intend to pay?—Usually he will find them out in due course.
859. Chairman.—In paragraph 6 you entirely disapprove of the present system of paying on results?—Yes, I have given my considered opinion in that paragraph.
860. Deputy MacEntee.—The bookmakers state that if a regulation of this kind were enforced they would have to go out of business, and possibly your suggestion is a very drastic one. Do you think there would be any benefit in imposing a closing period some time, say, after the hour of 3 o’clock? While that might not meet your position fully, do you think it would be of any advantage? —Certainly. Any closing period would be an advantage if only to get rid of the present difficulty of over-crowding, but a half hour’s closing or an hour’s closing would not be of very much advantage.
861. You suggest 2/6 as a minimum wager. Would you not consider that a rather high figure, having regard to the fact that a considerable amount of the betting done is in bets of as small as a shilling and sixpence?—It seems hard, I admit, to make that the minimum, but considering the hardships that result it is plainly a necessity to protect these people.
862. Other suggestions have been made on this, and I think I am right in saying that there has been a general feeling that a bet of that figure would have the effect of reverting back to the system that we have made some effort to stop?— That is the street bookmaker?
863. Deputy Cooper.—Do you lay much stress on the difference between half-a-crown and two shillings? We have had recommendations from the Gárdái that it should be two shillings. Do you think the extra sixpence would be a great deterrent?—It certainly would.
864. Deputy MacEntee.—Or would it not have the other tendency—to act as an incentive to a person to increase his bet from two shillings to two and six-pence?—With a certain percentage of people that would be the case, but not with the greater number of them; they could not afford it.
865. Deputy Murphy.—In number nine your case is that unemployment causes betting?—I mean that it is the cause at present of a number of those offices being more overcrowded than they would be if people had work.
866. In other words, that unemployment makes people bet?—Well, it gets the crowd around the offices, in any case.
867. You do not think it possible that betting, and the facilities for betting, make people not so desirous of being employed?—Well, that is certain. Those who become habitual backers do not want to work. That is one of the disastrous effects of the betting craze. It is not the money people lose in betting that ruins them, very often; it is the loss of time and the lack of interest in their ordinary employment.
868. Deputy Murphy.—One of the principal evils of the betting shops is that young fellows want to get rich quickly and do not want to work.
869. I understand that you advocate the closing of the betting offices from 1.30, and that you also advocate making the lowest wager half-a-crown. Do you think that both these suggestions rather aim at preventing what is recognised as the legitimate right of the poor man to bet? If you prevent him from entering a betting house except from 10 to 1.30, when he is engaged in his employment, and if in addition you impose a regulation that he cannot bet except in a sum which you assume it is impossible for him to pay, does it not look in the abstract that you take away from him what the Government say he has a right to do?— As a matter of fact, I would have made the closing hour 1 o’clock were it not that the labouring man should have a reasonable and legitimate opportunity.
870. Is 1.30 an hour at which he can bet?—Yes, from 1 to 1.30 he is free.
871. Chairman.—Have you anything further to say, Fr. Flood?—I have drawn out my suggestions in the Memorandum as far as I consider them necessary and helpful.
872. Deputy Murphy.—I suppose we may take it that the attitude of at any rate a certain section of the Roman Catholic clergy is that betting should be allowed in shops on certain conditions?— On certain conditions.
873. Deputy MacEntee.—That it is not ethically wrong?—Oh no, betting is not ethically wrong. It is owing to the accompaniments and the consequences that it becomes wrong.
874. Chairman.—The Committee are very grateful to you for your attendance here to-day, and they appreciate very much the valuable suggestions you have made.
The witness withdrew.
EVIDENCE OF REV. E. J. McKEE, LL.D., and mr. CHARLES EASON, M.A.
(representing the Presbyterian Church).
Rev. E. J. McKee called and examined.
The following summary of evidence was handed in:—
I. General Statement.
Extent of gambling a great evil.
Betting saloons and greyhound racing have caused considerable increase.
Betting houses too many, and some in unsuitable places.
Crowds in saloons waiting for results of races, including women and children.
Law should be strictly enforced and heavy penalties imposed.
1. The number of saloons should be reduced and greater facilities should be given to close promptly any badly conducted.
2. Local authorities should have a veto on opening of a betting house or racing track.
3. A substantial cash deposit should be required from every licensed person.
4. Betting saloons should be closed every day from 1 to 3 p.m.
5. Bookmakers should be required to give prescribed and numbered receipts for all bets.
6. Bets should not be payable on same day as the result.
7. Bets less than 2/6 should be forbidden.
8. Young persons under 18 should not be allowed to bet, or to take betting slips to betting houses.
9. Those who bet should not be allowed to remain on the premises after making their bets.
10. No loitering should be allowed adjacent to licensed premises; the police should have power to arrest without the necessity of proving obstruction.
11. No lists of horses, of odds, of starting prices, or winners should be shown in the window or on premises adjacent to licensed premises.
12. Convictions for offences should be endorsed upon the licences.
875. Chairman.—It is the wish of the Committee, Doctor, that you would take your suggestions in the order in which they appear and elaborate them.
Witness.—Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I am grateful for this opportunity of bringing before this Committee our general attitude on this question as a Church. You have already received so many views that I would just like to say that our attitude as a Church has been strengthened and deepened by the evidence that we have been following in the Press since this Joint Committee began to sit. We do look upon this betting as a great national social evil, and our Church deplores that such an evil has the sanction of the law and the protection of the Government. It is a deep concern to us as a Church that betting should be so greatly on the increase. The matter came before our General Assembly at the last meeting in June, and I would like to give you the resolution passed by our General Assembly then, which states, briefly, the attitude of our Church:
In view of the disquieting increase of late in the practice of gambling, whereby the poor are often dispossessed of their wages, habits of unconscionable recklessness created and habits of industry destroyed, the Assembly earnestly appeals to the Irish Legislatures to take such steps as shall effectively protect the young and unsuspecting from the lure of the bookmaker’s den and the glamour of “greyhound roulette.”
Following up that resolution, our Church appointed a small deputation to see the Minister for Finance. Mr. Blythe was good enough to receive that deputation, and we placed before him evidence of our general position. He informed us that this Joint Committee would in due course be appointed and would receive further evidence on our attitude. We do hope, therefore, that there will be a drastic change in the Betting Act of 1926. I feel that it is not our duty as a Church to work out remedies for these social evils: we must leave that to the politician and to the economist; but it is our duty to say what we think is an evil, and if we believe that betting is an evil and a great evil, an evil that is a plague, spreading over the land and striking out roots deeper into the life of our country, I think we should say it. Therefore I approach this Betting Act of 1926 from the standpoint not necessarily of revenue, which is, of course, behind that Act, but from the moral standpoint. I would be inclined to leave it more to Mr. Charles Eason, who is with me here, to give evidence from the economic standpoint; but from the moral standpoint we feel as a Church that this Act does give so many facilities to betting that we would press the point earnestly and sincerely that we would like to see the evil suppressed, and we would like to keep at that point until at length we would deprive betting of the sanction of the law and the protection of the Government. You will gather from this statement, therefore, that we would like to see the repeal of this Act, because that would take away all these facilities that are now quite legal, and all the increased temptations, I believe. But, failing that, the next thing is to secure amendments that will, as far as possible, reduce the number of these saloons, and also help to reduce the facilities that are now legal and under the sanction of the law. Coming to our recommendations, the first one is that the number of saloons should be reduced, and greater facilities should be given to close promptly any that are badly conducted. You might ask me how you are going to reduce the number of these saloons. They are already so numerous, and we want them reduced to a minimum. In the first line of Section 4 I would be inclined to have the word “shall” for “may.” I remember that General O’Duffy in his evidence stated that he was held up owing to appeals, but that he was not able to take any action, and that the prosecutions that otherwise might have taken place could not be carried out by the Civic Guard. If we could strengthen the position by amendments to Section 4 and Section 8, I think that would drastically reduce the number of these saloons.
876. Chairman.—What is the suggestion in Section 8?—A certificate “may” ——
Deputy Cooper.—He wants to make it imperative instead of optional.
877. Witness.—I do not think it should be optional. There are many questions arising out of Sections 4 and 8, and if it were not optional, it would certainly reduce the number of appeals. I remember that after the Act came into operation a betting saloon was set up half a dozen doors from my manse in Quinsboro’ road—the main street. That betting saloon has been removed, but it was opened in the main street, and there was a notice up—“Betting can be done here.” It was close to a publichouse. To my mind, speaking not from the strictly legal side but from the point of view of the people of the district, it would help us if we felt that these grounds for refusal were there clearly and distinctly, and that there should not be such a wide option as there is at present. In that connection Section 8 (c) states “That the premises are in close proximity to a place of worship.” I think we should take out the words “in close proximity” where they occur in the first line and insert there instead the words “are situate in or close to a residential area.” The second recommendation we make is that the local authorities should have a veto on the opening of betting houses or a racing track. The position of our Church is that we would like to develop public opinion and public sentiment on this matter. From the moral aspect we think no licence should be granted—but that, of course, is drastically altering the whole position of Sections 4 and 8—without a vote of the electors in the district.
878. It was suggested here that licences should be given by the District Justice in open court with certain powers to objectors. Would that meet your case instead of drastically amending the Act? —You mean to amend sub-section 5 of Section 10.
879. In the giving of licences?—At present the law is that no party except the Superintendent of the Gárda, and the Revenue Commissioners, shall be heard in opposition to the appeal; in other words, that excludes local bodies and the citizens of the place concerned. I think that would be a very helpful amendment if it were taken into consideration.
880. Deputy Cooper.—That is the alternative to your suggestion, and you would be prepared to consider it, that the local authorities should be allowed to appear in opposition?—I would welcome that. Under the Licensing Act we have the same standing. There is a case in to-day’s paper, from Howth, where, in spite of the application of the citizens, the rights of Dublin people, who go there, prevailed as against the rights of the local people. We feel that by the development of public opinion responsibility is thrown on the local people and, as a Church, we stand for that.
881. Deputy Murphy.—Why do you introduce the word racing-track? This inquiry has nothing to do with racing-tracks. We are not concerned here with licences for racing-tracks, so that rather enlarges the scope of the inquiry.
Deputy Shaw.—That is probably in connection with greyhound racing.
Deputy Murphy.—Even so, I do not think we have anything to do with racing-tracks.
Witness.—I am not giving evidence on that point. Although that is put down in the statement, we have been thinking more of the other matter, betting houses.
882. Deputy MacEntee.—Do I take it that you favour, so far as the granting of licences for bookmakers’ premises is concerned, a system of local option?—I do.
883. That is really your suggestion?— That is our ideal. That is what we ask for.
884. And that where an application is made for a licence for premises it should be referred to the ratepayers of the district for their decision?—Before the police superintendent for the district would give a certificate of personal fitness he should have the sanction of the local body of electors.
885. Either by plebiscite or otherwise? Do you suggest machinery?—I do not want to go into that now.
886. Deputy Cooper.—I would like to ask a few questions in connection with what you previously stated. The resolution of the General Assembly speaks of a great increase in betting. Is there any evidence of that?—There has been an increase of late in the practice of gambling.
887. Mainly in connection with gambling on race-horses?—The evidence, of course, is more in the open now.
888. That is what I was going to say. Before the passing of this Act ready-money betting was illegal, but went on surreptitiously. Therefore no one knows how much went on. Is it your belief that there is an increase in gambling?— That is my belief. I was stressing more the fact that it has now received the sanction of the law. We admit that it went on before. We cannot help that, but it has now received the sanction of the law and is under the protection of the Government, and we would rather that that was not so. We believe that it is an evil, and we do not want the Government to stand over it and give it protection.
889. Your ideal solution would be a repeal of the Act? Tell me if I am misrepresenting you. What is your point? Are you in favour of a repeal of the Act?—I am, from the moral standpoint, and for the suppression of gambling.
890. You realise that the Civic Guard speak on this point with some authority, as to how far a repeal of the Act would suppress gambling. When General O’Duffy was giving evidence, here are his replies to my questions:—
If this Committee were to make a recommendation for a repeal of the whole Act of 1926, do you think the result would be a big increase in street betting?—Yes, probably.
That the unfortunate people would continue to bet?—Yes, that you would return to the conditions that prevailed before, and in a much worse form than before.
891. We are bound to take that into account. Would you like to make any comment?—I am not in a position to question that course beyond stating that I am quite clear in my own mind that, as a Church, we take the line that what is an evil—and we consider it an evil, and a growing evil—should not have sanction and should not have facilities made more easy under this Act than they were before.
Deputy Cooper.—Quite so.
892. Deputy MacEntee.—That is the point I should like to be clear about. Does your Church regard betting as ethically wrong?—It does.
893. You start off by saying that it is wrong, and that it should not be tolerated in any way?—That is the point I want to make clear.
894. Consequently, you would not favour any regulation of betting. Your view is that it should be totally suppressed?—Yes, if it could be.
895. Deputy Cooper.—With regard to the suggestion that the word “shall” should be inserted instead of “may” in Sections 4 and 8, do you suggest that the Civic Guard are failing to do their duty in objecting to applications to set up betting establishments, or as to personal fitness or suitability of premises? These two sections give an option to the Guards?—Not at all.
896. To put in the word “shall” would make it mandatory. You do not suggest that they use an unwise discretion?—No; but I suggest it makes their duty more easy and simple.
897. Putting in “shall” would not affect Section 10, as a man would still have power to appeal. The only thing is that if “shall” is put in the Guards would not have power to refuse a certificate, but there would be still power to appeal. Would you like some amendment of Section 10?—I would. I suggest that we should be heard in opposition to the appeal, and not only that, but in Section 10 (d) I would put in the word “shall,” so that refusal would make the applicant pay the costs.
898. I take it that your point—and I think it is a good point, although I do not believe that putting in “shall” instead of “may” will do any good, except to stiffen Section 10 on the ground of suitability of premises—is that it will achieve the object you want?—I am very glad to know the position. I am not concerned with the actual way of getting at it, whether it is “shall” or “may,” as long as you get my point.
899. With a view to testing Section 8 (c) as it stands, I think you referred to the fact that a betting shop was opened very near your manse. Did you, or any responsible person in the area, make representations that a certificate should be refused?—I want to give all credit to the Guards that they took action. The matter was dealt with without any volume of local opinion. It spoke for itself.
900. So far as that particular instance was concerned, Section 8 was effective?— It was effective in transferring the betting shop, but I want to see it different. We have bookmakers in Bray, in what I would still call residential areas, and I was suggesting to change the word “close” from the first line to the last line to guard against possible cases of the kind.
901. Is their presence there due to the fact that no representations have been made to the Guards, that under Section 8 (c) certain premises should be removed—I mean they may be there because the people in the district have tolerated their presence and have not made any representations to have them removed?—There has been no organised representation on that particular point.
902. Or possibly any private representatian. May I take it that your general attitude is that you believe if representations were made to the Guards they will act? You have no reason to believe that they will not act on representations as to suitability?—None whatever; but power of appeal remains easy to applicant.
903. Chairman.—We will proceed to Number 3. Witness.—Perhaps Mr. Eason would wish to come in now and give evidence.
904. Deputy Murphy.—I think Dr. McKee said his Church is of the opinion that betting or gambling is ethically wrong. How far do you think that betting, especially in these saloons, is en couraged by the publication in newspapers of forecasts of what will win? Do you not think that these newspapers do a great deal to encourage betting? If people merely saw a programme of what was running they would not know what to back?—It certainly helps to do that.
905. Do you not think that if there were no racing intelligence in the news papers there would be no betting?—I would not say that.
906. Deputy Shaw.—If you did that you would also have to eliminate the Stock Exchange. There is more gambling on the Stock Exchange than in the other? —That does not make it right.
907. Deputy Murphy.—I do not think I agree with Deputy Shaw, because the Stock Exchange is more or less business, but when you have newspapers giving betting forecasts and those gentlemen think they know what is going to win, is it not on that information that poor people who go to betting saloons act? I am not talking of people who go to race meetings?—It is partly that. I understand from the evidence you received here that children are clubbing together and putting on their pennies. I do not think they act on the newspaper information.
908. On what do they act?—General talk.
909. It seems to me that comes from the newspapers?—If you go far enough back you can link it up with many things, newspapers and other things, but that does not alter the ethical point.
910. How far do you think betting, which you think is wrong, is encouraged by newspapers?
Chairman.—You mean racing papers?
911. Deputy Murphy.—Every paper which gives a forecast of betting, etc.?— It is certainly encouraged by the news in the papers. In the case of papers, especially these placed in public libraries, if the racing news were blotted out it would help.
912. I only want to know how far you think it is influenced by the newspapers? —We cannot say how far, but we know it is influenced.
913. Deputy MacEntee.—Is it your opinion that it is a great stimulus to betting?—It does stimulate.
914. You are not able to form an idea as to the quantitative effect of it on the public generally?—I have no evidence, but, generally speaking, it has an effect.
915. You do not think it is practicable to deal with the publication of this racing intelligence in the papers?—I have not got any special evidence that would lead me to suggest any method beyond what I have suggested as to public libraries and other places.
There has been a suggestion that the publication of racing intelligence might be limited or restricted, and we have been wondering whether your Church has any views on that matter?
Mr. C. Eason, M.A., called and examined.
916. Chairman.—Have you anything further to add to the memorandum?—I want to take up as little time as possible. I might say a word or two on the economic effects. Almost all employers agree that gambling is injurious to the efficiency of their staff and leads to theft. Generally, it is a very uneconomic form of spending. Those are obvious objections, which are well known, and I only wish to repeat them. Taking the points in our memorandum in order, I notice you suggest that we ought not to refer to greyhound racing. I will only say that gambling is increasing, and part of the increase is due to greyhound racing. As to the number of saloons you have already had valuable evidence from General O’Duffy on that point. We concur with that and his remarks that action should be taken. With regard to the question of the veto it is very important, and the suggestion was made that in the case of a licence being granted the local authorities should have power distinctly to veto a particular locality for a betting saloon. Whether that should be done by a plebiscite or a vote of the local government body is a matter of detail, but in some way or another we think local bodies should have a veto on the establishment of a betting saloon. I do not know that we should say that they should be able to refuse all saloons and no saloon should be established, but certainly we should have a veto on the particular locality in which it is proposed to be established. We think Nos. 3 and 4 would be an obstacle to the starting of saloons and would probably reduce the number.
917. The object of a substantial cash deposit is to secure that a man is a man of substance?—I think that is another thing, and in the case of penalties they could be enforced if they followed a conviction.
918. Have you more than one object in asking for a substantial cash deposit?— I have several. First of all, it would be some security that a man was really a man of substance and able to discharge his obligations. Then it would be a guarantee that if a conviction was followed by a fine there would be some security that the fine should be paid. I think that is about all you can say about it.
919. One point of your evidence is one that we should focus a little attention on. You suggest that regard should be had to environment, to the neighbourhood, etc. I think that is an important point. Would you take it as a prima facie evidence against the establishment of a bookmaker’s office in a district if the district were a tenement area or a poor working-class district?—I would.
920. The same objection would not be so strong in the case of a bookmaker attempting to establish his shop in a comparatively well-to-do district?—Except in so far as it was purely residential. I do not think the fact that it is a business district should be made an objection. I I would not like a saloon put at the bottom of Gloucester Street in close proximity to my factory. That is a tenement district. All these rules may help to ensure proper conduct in the district. Bets should not be paid on the same day as the results. In the same way, we think there should be a limit on small bets, and that young persons should not be allowed to bet. I wonder if the Committee are aware of an Act, “The Betting (Juvenile Messengers) (Scotland) Act.” It is “an Act to prohibit the use of young persons in the conveyance or delivery of messages or information relating to betting, and for purposes connected therewith.”
921. Senator Bennett.—When was that passed?—In August, 1928. I only mention that.
922. Chairman.—We have got a copy of it on our file?—I only mention it as supporting our proposal. As to the evidence against allowing people to congregate in saloons, it is agreed to by some of the betting proprietors themselves. People should not be allowed to loiter outside premises, and a conviction should be endorsed on the licences.
923. Senator Bennett.—Do you mean that a certain number of convictions would disquality a licence holder from renewing his licence?—Yes. The way in which a house has been conducted is now admitted to be a ground for the refusal of the renewal of the licence. This would make it more certain that it would not be over-looked.
924. In connection with No. 5, that bookmakers should be made to produce a numbered receipt for all bets, what is the purpose behind that?—To ensure accuracy in the keeping of the accounts and to enable the tax to be better collected.
925. To enable the Revenue Commissioners to check the returns. That is very desirable. No. 10 is that police should have power to arrest without the necessity of proving obstruction. Is not that a very wide power?—This is supporting the suggestion of General O’Duffy, where loitering goes on until it reaches what is called a public nuisance. I understand that the police do not feel that they have any power to interfere, and I think the powers asked ought to be given to them. I am aware of the evidence given by Mr. Quinn on behalf of the national school teachers. I concur in that. I would like to endorse what Dr. McKee has stated. Betting has become more respectable. Where there was, undoubtedly, illegal betting in the streets before, it now goes on openly in the betting saloons, and children, as was mentioned by the national school teachers, are brought much more into touch with it than in times past.
926. Can you make any suggestion as to how that was brought about, in view of the fact, as is generally admitted, that betting was considerably in operation prior to the Betting Act. The only difference is that it was done away in the side streets?—There was this difference. The very fact that it was done away in the side streets implied that there was something wrong in it. The children were not taught that it was a thoroughly legal and proper thing and the parents did not use the children in betting in the past as freely as they do at present.
927. Deputy Shaw.—From your knowledge concerning the sale of papers, what effect would the elimination of race news have on the circulation of newspapers?— I think it is quite impracticable to propose the exclusion of betting news from the newspapers.
928. Senator Bennett.—People like it? —Yes, and you cannot expect the law to go completely counter to public opinion. I would like myself to see betting reduced.
EVIDENCE OF THE CHURCH OF IRELAND.
929. The following summary of evidence was presented on behalf of the Church of Ireland by Very Rev. H. B. Kennedy, B.D., Dean of Christ Church, Dublin, and Rev. D. H. Hall, B.D., Rector of St. Paul’s, Glenageary:—
I. Criticism of the Working of Betting Act, 1926.
1. Pernicious effects of Act: (a) has stimulated gambling habit; (b) multiplication of betting saloons, producing widespread demoralisation and impoverishment; (c) has resulted in special temptations to young people and children.
2. Defects of Act: (a) no limitation of number of betting offices; (b) no penalties provided.
3. Revenue produced does not justify the moral, social and economic losses resulting.
4. Failing repeal of Act, drastic amendments are needed.
1. Cost of licences and tax should be increased.
2. Number of licensed betting offices should be largely reduced, especially in poorer districts in cities.
3. No licence should be given to a house close to a public-house.
4. No person under 18 should be allowed on premises licensed for betting, or to make bets for themselves or on behalf of others.
5. No women with children should be allowed on licensed premises.
6. Betting offices should be closed every day from 1 to 3 p.m.
7. Bets of less than 2/6 should not be allowed.
8. Bets should not be payable on the day of the race on which the bet has been made.
9. No loitering should be allowed in or adjacent to licensed premises, and power to arrest should be given to the police.
10. No lists of horses, odds, or starting prices or winners should be shown on or adjacent to licensed premises; and no calling of odds should be allowed there.
11. Local authorities should have the right of a veto on the opening of a betting office or a racing track.
Very Rev. H. B. Kennedy, B.D., called and examined.
930. I think all have been supplied with the points we intend to bring forward. We think that this Act has had very pernicious effects, that it has stimulated the gambling habit to a large extent. I might just give one or two instances of this gambling habit that we consider to be a national danger. Now that it has been legalised, of course, betting has become respectable. The stigma that formerly attached to betting in the street, and so forth, has been removed. Now that registered betting offices have been permitted by the State, people can bet with bookmakers all the time, if they like. Formerly they had, as a rule, to go to race-courses; now they have only to go round the corner. I might just give one instance that has come to my notice as an illustration of a great many others. A man with a wife and five children, the eldest eight years of age, was earning about four pounds a week. They had a comfortable home. He began betting with registered bookmakers. The result was that he got notice to give up his house because he could not pay his rent. Then his children were half starved, their clothes were in pawn, they were helped by the neighbours with food and clothing, and, in the end, he was turned out of his house and lost his job. The mother has since died, and the children were sent to various homes.
I might give an illustration of another man who had a wife and family depending upon him. He took the money of the firm in which he was engaged to win back his losses. The result was jail. Of course, one could give many instances, but I do not want to delay the Committee, as I presume they have had many such instances put before them.
There are such a multitude of betting saloons now, not only in the city, but in the country, that they have produced widespread demoralisation and brought a great number of people to poverty. When people give their minds to betting they take it off their work, with lamentable results. We can all see it for ourselves in the city. People in the country tell me that there are five or six betting houses very often in a town of from only three thousand to four thousand people. The opportunities are much too frequent, and this has resulted in special temptation to young people. Very respectable boys are often sent with bets from offices and shops by senior assistants, and that has familiarised them with a habit that they had been taught previously to abhor, with very unfortunate results.
Then there is no limitation—talking of the defects of the Act—in the number of betting houses. Publichouses licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquor have restraints put upon them, but it is not so with regard to betting offices. No adequate penalties appear to be provided and no summary methods of dealing with breaches of the law. We think the revenue produced does not justify the moral, social and economic losses resulting. The bookmakers are entirely unproductive members of the community. They produce nothing. They make nothing for anybody except themselves. Their occupation is a wholly selfish one. Personally, I should be very glad to see the Act repealed, but I presume that that is not possible. It would be a great advantage if it was, because it has produced much mischief. Failing that, we think that measures should be taken to curtail the evils that have been caused. We think that the cost of licences and the amount of tax should be increased. It is evident that bookmakers make enormous profits. A small proportion goes to the State, a small proportion, possibly one-fifth of the bets, may go to the people who engage in betting, and the remainder, as far as we can gather, goes to the bookmakers. Consequently, we think that there should be a higher cost for licences and a higher tax. It seems obvious that the number of betting offices is quite excessive. Measures have been taken to reduce the number of publichouses. Why not betting offices, when they produce demoralisation and national loss by interfering with the productive capacity of the people who engage in betting? We think that no licence should be given to a house close to a publichouse. The two work into one another’s hands. People go and make their bets, and while they are waiting for the results they go into the publichouse.
One point that has been emphasised by various organisations and in resolutions sent forward to the Government is that no person under eighteen years should be allowed on premises licensed for betting, or to make bets for themselves or on behalf of others. You have doubtless heard that an Act to that effect was passed for Scotland during the past year. We think that no women with children should be allowed on licensed premises. These women ought to be looking after their children. We think that betting offices should be closed during the lunch hour, when publichouses are closed. It would be a great advantage. We also think that bets should have a minimum. We suggest 2/6. If a man or a woman cannot afford 2/6 they ought not to bet. They have not the means for it. We also think that bets should not be payable on the day of the race on which the bet has been made. At present we all know that people wait for the result of a race, and when the money is paid they go on betting more and more, and their wages are squandered and their people left in want. Similarly, we think that no licence should be allowed in or adjacent to licensed premises, and power to arrest should be given to the police, which we understand they have not got at present. Also, we think that no lists of horses, odds or starting prices or winners should be shown on or adjacent to licensed premises, and no calling of odds should be allowed there. When these things are there, there is a great incentive, just as at an auction, and people are carried away by the excitement of the means that are taken to induce them to bet. We think also that local authorities should have the right of a veto on the opening of a betting office or a racing track. There is no local power at present to prevent people opening a betting office, so that they can be multiplied indefinitely. Similarly, with regard to a racing track for mechanical dog racing, we think there ought to be such powers. There was a great movement to that effect last year in England. Men like the Mayor of Newcastle, for instance, very strongly advocated that they should have the right of veto. Those are the only points that I suggest.
931. Chairman.—In your opening statement you referred to the evils in families resulting from betting. Did these same evils exist prior to the Betting Act as the result of gambling?—Doubtless they did, but they have been increased by the increased facilities that are given.
932. You admit that they were existent prior to the Betting Act?—Certainly.
933. I should like to ask the witness if he would give us any instance, out of his own knowledge, of an increase in betting since the passing of the Act. It has been pointed out to the Committee that betting existed on almost as widespread a scale before the enactment of the Betting Act as it does now, but that it did not come so much before the public notice. I wonder could you give us any idea as to whether there was an actual increase in betting in consequence of the Act?—I could not give you a definite personal instance, but clergymen who are in touch especially with the poorer parts of the city have assured me that there has been an increase since the passing of the Act of 1926. It is quite possible that Mr. Hall may be able to give definite instances.
934. Your ideal solution would be to repeal the Act? It has been pointed out to us that that would mean a recrudescence of the street bookmaker, and that it will not actually help to restrict the gambling habit. I would like to know whether your attitude in regard to the Act is governed by the fact that you think betting is wrong or whether you think betting could be made legitimate in certain circumstances?—I can only give you my own personal opinion. I think betting in any form is wrong, and that it certainly has extremely bad effects, nationally as well as individually.
935. Do you say that it should not be tolerated at all?—That is my personal opinion, but I do not put that forward as the opinion of all those whom we represent here to-day.
936. With regard to recommendation No. 11, in which you say that local authorities should have the right of a veto on the opening of a betting office or a racing track, I may say that another witness to-day suggested that that might be done by a Superintendent of the Gárda; that when he received an application for a certificate he should refer the matter to the ratepayers of the district for their opinion. Is that what is proposed to be done under this recommendation, as, if so, it would entail a considerable amount of machinery?—One can see that it would entail a considerable amount of machinery. I should have thought that it would be done by the local authority. In the case of Dublin, it would be the City Commissioners.
937. Not the local ratepayers?—That would involve such cumbrous machinery it would hardly be practicable.
938. Senator Molloy.—If the onus were laid on the applicant so that he would have to receive, say, within 2,300 feet of his betting office the signatures of, say, 200 residents in that area, would that be practicable?—An arrangement of that kind would, I think, require much thought.
939. Do you feel that any change should be made in the method of granting licences? It is suggested, for instance, that applications for a certificate should be made in open court to the District Justice, and that certain interests should be given the right to appear there to oppose the application?—I think that that would be much more satisfactory.
940. At present it is almost mandatory on the Guards to grant a licence?—Yes; there are great difficulties under the Act in their way to refuse applications. I think there should be some other body to whom reference could be made.
Rev. D. H. Hall, B. D., Rector of St. Paul’s, Glenageary, called and examined.
941. Chairman.—Perhaps you would be good enough to give us your views on the operations of the Betting Act?—I would like to add a few remarks to what Dean Kennedy has said. I have been concerned with building schemes, and I have come across a number of instances in regard to betting in that connection. First of all, I discovered that when I tried to get certain men employed on building jobs the foreman would not take on some of those who would not give a certain percentage of their wages every week for betting. I found a foreman who had an edge against men who would not join in that system. I was definitely against anything of the kind. I had some very poor men anxious to get work on these jobs, and I saw there harmful illustrations of the effects of betting, especially in regard to building scheme. I know particularly one man, and I spoke to him, and told him that so long as I was concerned with that building scheme I would see that he was not employed on it if he interfered with the workmen or encouraged them to bet. In that way I stopped it. On another building scheme which was just starting I spoke to the foreman, and said that I was out for the betterment of the country, and if he had anyone who introduced betting amongst the men, I would be dead against it, and that it would be a matter on which I would have to take drastic action. I know another case in which a tenant of one of the houses went to Baldoyle and was particularly fortunate. He came back and told me that he had won £700. He proceeded to buy the house in which he had been living for some time, and he spent the balance in opening a betting shop in Parnell Street when the Betting Bill was passed. He has that betting office there now. He told me on one occasion that he felt safe now, that he would not allow his money to be frittered away, and that he would take it off the “softies,’ as he called them. I had a man in a basement of a house in Gardiner Street. He was a cripple from the war and had a pension of 16/8 a week. He was putting 2/- a day on horses, and sent out a young person to the betting office near him. I asked him to keep a record of his winnings. I knew that his expenditure was 2/- a day, and that his income was 16/8 a week. He made £4 19s. winnings in the year. That brought home to me the effect of betting. He said that it gave him a little daily excitement and enabled him to pass the time away. As he was a cripple, he had no other way of getting excitement. I had several illustrations of bookmakers themselves being destroyed as they were not fortunate in their bookmaking. One man recently died in hospital, and made me the guardian of his children, who were left absolutely penniless. Another man was thrown out of his house in Waterloo Road. He drank heavily and was unfit for work. His furniture was sold, and his wife died of vexation. Betting on football has become common. I asked members of my congregation if they would give me assistance in regard to the evidence I was going to submit to this Committee. I asked them to let me know if there was an endeavour to hide anything. I was told in nearly every house I went to that nearly everyone bets every day, especially during lunch time. When we made recommendations that the betting offices should be closed from 1 to 3 o’clock, we knew that that is the period in which persons having time to bet do so. It would prevent a great deal of loitering. I want to give another illustration of the way in which betting enters into the life of so many people. Recently I have had some contracts. In this connection one man obtained a contract time and again, and I asked him whether he could let me know how it was that on a little job of £106 he was £28 cheaper than the next man, who I knew was an excellent worker and who organised his men well. I found that he works with his men. He said that you cannot keep the men going when you are away from them, as they are arranging about bets. Their work is ever so much less if the man in charge is not working alongside of them, as his presence prevents the tendencies which occupy so much of their thoughts. That was an illustration which showed me that betting is so prevalent it enters into the work of many men and prevents them giving that production one longs to see. I must say, however, that on my schemes the production was very high. I have a personal reason for objecting to the spread of betting because, with another young fellow, I won the championship in whist in Trinity College. We never played for money, but we were challenged afterwards, and my partner broke his pledge to me and lost £127. He was ruined. That was many years back, and it showed me the results of gambling. I come before you as a person with a knowledge of workmen, and I consider that
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