Working-class gambling in Britain c.1906-61

Podcast and Presentation from HA Annual Conference

Professor Keith Laybourn, last updated: 22nd May 2014

Podcast and Presentation from HA Annual Conference 2014

Saturday - Session 1 - SGKL1

In search of phantom fortunes: working-class gambling in Britain c.1906-61 - Professor Keith Laybourn Diamond Jubilee Professor of the University of Huddersfield

Determined attempts were made by the middle classes, and some religions, to legally stamp out working-class gambling in the early twentieth century since it was seen as immoral, corrupt, wasteful, godless and the surefire way to poverty. However, working-class gambling was a small-scale, affordable and endemic part working-class culture and as greyhound racing, the football pools and other forms of credit and on-course gambling expanded it was inevitable that eventually offcourse money-ready gambling would be legalised, as it was in 1961. Had the middle classes not become concerned about the growth of the pools, greyhound racing and the Irish Sweepstake Lottery in the interwar years the law would have been changed earlier.

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