Royal Commission on Sweepstakes Royal Commissions arc all too often
devices for post- poning awkward questions. But though the Royal Commission on Sweepstakes and Lotteries, which the Home Secretary promised last week, may be not wholly unconnected with Sir W. Davison's Lotteries Bill which passed its second reading on Wednesday, everyone agrees that the subject calls for inquiry. Now that millions of English people invest regularly in Irish Free State sweepstakes, which would be illegal in this country, while the sale of the tickets is an offence, the century-old law is clearly inadequate and unsuited to modern conditions. A thorough examination of the whole question should help Parliament to bring the law up to date. The Commission is also to consider the problems of the totalisator and of street betting. We deplore the wide prevalence of the gambling spirit, but we are not blind to the unfairness of the law as at present admin- istered, under which the well-to-do man can bet with ease while the poor man has to do his betting by subterfuge with bookmakers who may at any moment be arrested and prosecuted. The law, whatever it is, should be equal for all and should be respected.
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