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History of Gambling in London

Gambling has remained as an inevitable part of human history. It has long been practised by people from around the world and a lot of changes has been made and observed, all in the scope of keeping up with the times. Britain has experienced its own share of this thrilling show as well. Gambling in London is not an alienated concept and has remained in existence for centuries together. However, a practice that delineates a way to the abhorrence of law. This article enlightens readers and takes them through a time warp of the practices of gambling in London!

History of Gambling in London

Societal differences – a factor affecting gambling in London

Britain has seen both the faces of the same coin when it comes to affluence. Britain ruled over a quarter of the countries, in one point in time and it was evident that wealth was a constant flow in the royal treasury as well as the dominating sectors in those times. With such wealth accumulated, many took to gambling and other leisure activities as well. However, Britain also had its fair share of the population those that were living under extreme poverty. This portion of the society couldn’t indulge itself in the lawful, statutory venues for gambling since because of low-income thresholds. However, such population did indulge themselves in unlawful, underground gambling venues, where they could afford to spend some money and have a chance at their own luck.

Roman influence on gambling in London

London was found in the 47 A.D. The cultural exchange was an evident process that happened between 2 cultures that were poles apart. However, Britons did find gambling as a favourable practice that they could enjoy as well. Although gambling was forbidden by Roman laws, people still indulge themselves in gambling practices. The most popular gambling game that was followed by the Britons was the game of dices. The crusade wars that occurred post the fall of the Roman empire saw variants of the dice games such as ‘Hazard’ and ‘Craps’ and slowly more such gambling games came into existence in London.

Card Games – a new rise in practices of gambling in London

The French introduced card games to the Britons and thus, slowly it caught the attention of the British gamblers as well! The prospect of introducing card games in gambling was an enticing opportunity and a lot many people were engaged in it. King Henry banned card gambling because of its enticing prospect to his soldiers that led to them avoiding their duties and gambling on their designated posts!

Lottery games to evolve gambling in London

Queen Elizabeth introduced the lottery which allowed people to claim lottery wins and in turn, helped the royal treasury as well. The proceeds from the lottery buys were added to the treasury that allowed the establishment of many important structures such as the water canals in the kingdom. Lottery wins were not only associated with monetary incentives but also immunity against some petty crimes for the winner as well!

Gambling in London post-medieval era

All this while, gambling was considered illegal among the poor but was legal for the aristocrats. This was not stopping the underprivileged to abstain themselves from gambling. The local pubs and various such illegal underground venues were hosting gambling events that led to King Charles II to appoint Sir Neale to shut down such illegal venues. Post this era, many gentleman’s clubs were established in the Industrial Revolution period, which was still open to the upper class while the lower class still dwelled in the illegal venues. Roulette started getting popular in such clubs. 2 other card games called Pharo and Basset started getting popular among the rich too.

Modern era gambling in London

The 19th century saw a variety of significant government policy changes that changed the entire perspective towards gambling. Increased cases of fraudulent activities in not only card-based games but also in other gambling activities (e.g. horserace betting etc.) led to the enactment of the Betting Act in 1853. Over time, there were many amendments made to this act and many more were added to allow the British denizens to opt for gambling and casino games, without indulging themselves in illicit activities as well.

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Blog Summary

Blog Name: History of Gambling in London

Posted On: 11/02/2019

Author: Robert Bowron


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