Betting in England, Daily Racing Form, 1902-07-18


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BETTING IN ENGLAND. Under date of July 5 a letter from London to the ! Morning Telegraph says : "The select committee of the House of Lords, ap-i pointed to inquire into the increase of public betting amongst all classes, and whether any legislative measures are possible and expedient for checking the abuses occasioned thereby, has at last made public its report. "The committee began by stating that, after hearing much evidence, they are of opinion that betting is generally prevalent in the United King-! dom, and that the practico of betting has increased considerably of late years, especially among the working classes, while, on the other hand, the habit of making large bets, which need at one time to be the fashion among owners and breeders of horses, has greatly diminished. Betting is not confined to horse racing, but is also prevalent at athletic meetings and football matches. p"The report goes on?to makealnnmberfoC observations" and recommendaons,twhichxalljinItan, fean fairly to the voice of the people, realizing that betting cannot be suppressed. The publication of stating prices is not to be prohibited. "Section 11 in a measure summarizes the main features of the report, being as follows : The committee are convinced that it is impossi-TxFeTtogetbTrto suppress betting, but they believe that the best method of reducing the practice is to localize it as far as possible on racecourses and other places where sport is carried on. "An interesting feature is the omission from the report of paragraph 17. In the draft of the report it ran as follows : " Although horseracing in England is more widely diffused than in France, and the interest taken in racing throughout this country, generally, is also far greater, the committee are of the opinion that, were it possible by some modification of the existing lottery law to introduce such a system as the "Pari Mutuol," it would be attended with the best result. " The committee believe that it would tend to localize betting on the racecourses, whilst the revenue obtained by the State would, in their opinion, be a very legitimate form of taxation and could be utilized for the encouragement of horse breeding and for the breeding of army mounts. "When paragraph 16 was read, however, the Bishop of Hereford moved the addition of what appears above as its closing sentence. This was agreed to by five to four, the majority being Viscount Cobham, tho Earl of Aberdeen, Viscount Peel, the Bishop of Hereford and Lord Davey: and the minority the Earl of Derby, the Earl of Hare-wood, the Earl of Durham and Lord Newton. At the instance of the bishop, paragraph 17 was then omitted, the voting being identical with the preceding division. "A curious point in the committees report is that they show pretty clearly, while recommending legislation, that absence of any such interference is really the surest condition for mitigating even an admitted evil. They show this by their finding that among owners and the richer classes betting in large sums is not now nearly so prevalent as it used to be. "Now these are just the classes who have been able to bet without any trouble or fear of, and. just as the old habit of excessive drinking has gone out among such people, though no law exists to stop them from still being three bottle men, so it is clear that education and an advanced order of intelligence will in the case of gambling, as in drinking, allay the trouble, if only it is not aggravated and inflamed by repressive legislation. Tho classes who are still in the shackles of the law continue to get their backs up against it, whether in the matter of drinking, betting or anything else. "However, it is a comfort to remember that Lord Salisbury, when consenting to the existence of the Lords Committee, took occasion to state in no uncertain terms that he could hold out no hopes of a practical result following on the committees report, whatever the matter might be."

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