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5 - Gamblers and the Law

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 March 2022

Bob Harris
Affiliation:
University of Oxford
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Summary

This chapter examines an apparent paradox, the existence and further development of significant body of laws prohibiting different forms of gambling and gambling in certain places, and their overwhelming inefficacy. The law provides, nevertheless, a very useful prism through which to plot changing and fluctuating attitudes towards gambling among the authorities and politically powerful, and, indeed, rather lower down in society. The heart of this chapter is an analysis of successive drives to clamp down on gaming houses in London and their fairly negligible impact viewed in the longer term. This is partly a story of the resourcefulness and resources of the gaming house keepers, and their ability to evade or blunt the effects of law and magisterial campaigns to enforce the law. But it is also a story of how ineffective the law and contemporary forms of policing were when faced with an extensive, well-embedded and well-capitalized gambling industry, often supported by or at least tolerated by local communities. This is quite apart from the flagrant double standards which were entertained by the state and Parliament towards gambling.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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  • Gamblers and the Law
  • Bob Harris, University of Oxford
  • Book: Gambling in Britain in the Long Eighteenth Century
  • Online publication: 10 March 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009067348.007
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  • Gamblers and the Law
  • Bob Harris, University of Oxford
  • Book: Gambling in Britain in the Long Eighteenth Century
  • Online publication: 10 March 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009067348.007
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Gamblers and the Law
  • Bob Harris, University of Oxford
  • Book: Gambling in Britain in the Long Eighteenth Century
  • Online publication: 10 March 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009067348.007
Available formats
×