Parliament

Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill (Thirteenth sitting)

Published date : 04 July, 2023
I beg to move amendment 117, in schedule 19, page 349, line 39, at end insert—

“Non-commercial society lotteries

13 (1) A contract under which a lottery ticket or tickets are purchased for one or more non-commercial society lotteries.

(2) In sub-paragraph (1), “non-commercial society” has the meaning given by section 19 of the Gambling Act 2005, and “lottery ticket” has the meaning given by section 253 of that Act.”

This amendment seeks to exclude lottery tickets purchased for non-commercial society lotteries from the scope of the provisions on subscription contracts.

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Dame Maria.

A few moments ago, I was encouraged to hear the Minister express a desire not to trespass on any of the specialist regulators, and I am delighted to say that that is exactly what the amendment is intended to achieve. I hope we can all agree that charity lotteries do an awful lot of good. They raise an awful lot of money, and they are fun. They are also already heavily regulated by the Gambling Commission. If the Gambling Commission does not fall under the category of specialist regulator, I am not entirely sure what does.

I raised this issue on Second Reading, but I was beaten to the punch by the right hon. Member for Calder Valley (Craig Whittaker), who said that subscription-based charity lotteries

“are already heavily regulated by the Gambling Commission”.—[Official Report, 17 May 2023; Vol. 732, c. 882.]

He wanted to see whether such lotteries could be removed from schedule 19, and the Minister committed to looking at the matter in detail. I do not know what the result of the Minister’s deliberations has been. I know that by the time the Under-Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology was on his feet to sum up he was certain that it would fall outside the scope of the Bill. Despite his best efforts on that occasion, I have to say that some of the representatives of the charity lottery sector I have spoken to are not reassured.

There remains an uncertainty. For all the best intentions of Ministers, and whatever ends up in Hansard as a result of our discussions on Second Reading and today, the Bill contains significant ambiguity. In that regard, it is unclear in a way that it does not need to be. Amendment 117 would add charity lotteries to the list of excluded contracts in schedule 19, so it would remove any remaining doubt that they are excluded from the provision. They will therefore be able to continue under the legislative environment that the Government have already set for them, which seems to work quite successfully, and will be able to do so without having any additional inhibitors put in their way in collecting revenues from the public and their customers, and crucially in paying out to good causes, which I am sure that we have all seen the benefits of across our constituencies.

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If the Minister can assure me that we will have that open dialogue, and that the Government will share the outcomes of their deliberations, at this stage I am content to withdraw the amendment, but I will return to it on Report, contingent on what he is able to say at that point. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Schedule 19 agreed to.

Clause 248

Pre-contract information

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

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