Illinois Racing is Legal: But Moral Uplifts Believe Killing it Only Way to Prevent Betting, Daily Racing Form, 1922-09-01


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ILLINOIS RACING IS LEGAL But Moral Uplifts Believe Killing It Only Way to Prevent Betting. "There is nothing illegal in the racing," says the Chicago Tribune in an editorial discussion of horse racing. "It is in the betting. Harness races are a regular feature of the state fair at Springfield. Most people who see a horse race like to bet and many of them do. They bet on nearly all contests, golf, baseball, football, prize fights, elections, and almost everything. "The law prohibits but does not try to prevent one man from betting 0 with another. In New York a man nodding to a bookmaker is one man betting with another. The system permits welshing, and it is said that about 20 per cent of the bettors do so. The bookmaker figures that in his risks and into his odds. New York has both racing and betting. Our administrators of morals believe that the way to prevent the betting, which is illegal, is to prevent the horse racing, which is not. "Horse racing with its accompaniments is a colorful, thrilling combination of pageantry and contest. In the open air assemblage of people in holiday attire, in the movement and excitement of crowds, in the preliminaries of the races and the climax of them there is pleasure for the people who see them. "The Americas Cup races bear about as mucli relation to the development of the American merchant marine as horse races do to anything utilitarian. Poker is about as utilitarian, possibly more so. It may correct some temperamental defects. A goou poker player is a shrewd and capable citizen. "Horse racing is sought because it delights multitudes. They have a good time. If they bet they usually lose. Occasionally a weak-minded man bets his employers money or his familys money. In one case he goes to prison. In the other the children go without shoes. This makes the social case against horse racing and betting, the case of the man who is tempted to bet what he cannot afford to lose. "Because of him the pleasure which nearly all people find in a horse race is a social taboo. Pleasure in itself is questionable to socially serious people. It is very dubious. Anything which can justify itself only by the idea of pleasure must stand cross-questioning and receives a grudging permit blurred with doubt. It is hardly fitting a solemn people in a gray world."

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