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  • Cited by 2
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
March 2022
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Book description

English society in the eighteenth century was allegedly marked by a 'gambling mania', such was the prevalence and intensity of different forms of 'gaming'. Gambling in Britain in the Long Eighteenth Century subjects this notion to systematic scrutiny, exploring the growth and prevalence of different forms of gambling across Britain and throughout British society in this period, as well as attitudes towards it. Drawing on a vast range of new, empirical evidence, Bob Harris seeks to understand gambling, its growth, and significance within the context of wider trends and impulses in society. This book asks what light gambling practices and habits shed back onto society and the values, hopes, and expectations that informed the lives of those involved. This is a book, therefore, as much about the character of British society in the long eighteenth century as it is about gambling itself.


‘Were Georgian Britons genuinely mad for gambling? Bob Harris’s focus on sports wagering and lotteries allows readers to navigate an otherwise impossibly large topic, and yields important insights about attitudes toward chance across socioeconomic strata, in both metropolitan and provincial settings, throughout Great Britain.’

John A. Eglin - University of Montana

‘Harris's meticulous archival research draws from an impressive range of papers held in private, county and national archives.’

Jane Darcy Source: The Times Literary Supplement

‘… this book offers a valuable corrective to existing studies and will need to be taken into account by future historians of gambling in Britain. … Harris has trawled a vast array of archives to produce a detailed and richly exemplified account which ranges from the ‘deep play’ of elite gambling to the lower-stake betting which took place further down the social hierarchy.’

Paul Goring Source: Journal for Eighteenth Century Studies

‘This is a beautifully detailed book, full of rich examples and provocations that have the power to reshape thinking on the nature of gambling during the long eighteenth century. … Covering the period from the 1680s to 1830 this book offers a fascinating insight into the various worlds of gambling in Britain during the long eighteenth century.’

Anne L. Murphy Source: Cultural and Social History

‘… Harris has obligingly scoured the archives for us to provide rich detail for anyone working in eighteenth-century studies in any number of disciplines from economic history … to urban, film, and media studies.’

Joyce Goggin Source: H-Net Reviews

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