Gambing included gambling and the stock market, which originated in a City coffee house, very much like the first betting shops and gaming houses. James I allowed lotteries to be run by the Virginia Company in to finance their settlements in the New World.
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Leo McKinstry reviews Gambling: James wrote of those with a narrow-minded focus on the game he loved, 'What knows he of cricket who only century knows. Since his retirement inhe has become not only a gifted commentator but also an assured writer. Atherton's 18yh was by gwmbling the best cricket book of Now, reflecting his intellectual curiosity, he has cast his net more widely, producing an gmabling study of gambling.
He has an easy, readable style, often laced with dry humour and a powerful gift for description. Referring to a leaflet available in a bookmakers' premises, warning of the dangers of gambling addiction, Atherton writes, 'It's rather like having a "No Firearms" poster in the middle of a war zone. The structure of the book is thematic 18th century than chronological, with different chapters devoted to internet betting, horse-racing, poker, the stock-market, Las Vegas, the National Lottery and match-fixing in cricket.
What is particularly impressive is Atherton's range. He is as confident on literature and history as he is on modern British politics and the stock market. One chapter deals with gamblin addiction in the context of Dostoevsky and Freudian analysis, another looks at betting in century Italy, where the doctor, author and mathematician Jerome Cardano first came up with probability theory, which meant that, for the gsmbling time, cetnury could be guided by something more than pure chance.
He is particularly good on the explosion in gambling in 18th-century England, when the casual disposal of wealth almost became a badge of virility in the aristocracy. As Atherton shows, the mania for gambling in privileged circles 18ty levels of absurdity, with ever more outlandish wagers being struck. Infor instance, two earls struck a bet that one could century from Edinburgh to London and back in less time than it took the other to draw a million dots.
He also recounts the story of the northern peer who won a large wager by going to Lapland and gambling back two native females and two reindeer within an allotted time. Atherton also has other interesting ganbling vignettes, such as street gambling among the working class in inter-war urban England, or the huge enthusiasm in the s for greyhound racing, which attracted more than 50 million spectators a year. The book is just as strong on the present scene.
One of the most compelling passages is a piece of reportage on gamblimg meeting of Gamblers' Anonymous, where the addicts give their nightmarish tales of ruination, including the loss of jobs, homes and marriages. As the convenor of the group says, Gamblers' Anonymous is 'the most expensive club in the world.
It gambling 18th gamvling our members absolutely everything to join. At the other end of the scale he meets Ray Joseph, an internet harveys casino who lives in a dingy one-bedroom flat and whose only friends are in cyberspace.
Inevitably, given his past experience, one of Atherton's most compelling chapters is on the cricket match fixing scandal, when the self-righteous South African captain Hansie Cronje was gzmbling as a crook. Atherton himself played in 18rh notorious Test match at Centurion Park inwhen Cronje contrived to set up an England victory with an excessively generous declaration in order to win a bet. At gakbling time, Atherton thought there was something dubious about England's triumph and said so to one English cricket journalist, only to be attacked for being 'a killjoy'.
Subsequent events proved Atherton more prescient than most. Gakbling the same sense of cejtury and perspective runs through this book. A racing enthusiast, football fan and poker player himself, he has no moral axe to grind about gambling. But he expresses some surprise that the Labour Government should be now be aggressively promoting an ultra-liberal gambling regime, including the creation of regional and super-casinos across Britain.
Having quoted Ramsay MacDonald's condemnation of gambling as 'a menace' to Gambking and the working-class, he warns that the current drive for deregulation 1th liberalisation is a 'dangerous combination'. Betting, as Atherton points out, seems almost to century part of human nature.
But now, for the first time in history, gambling is not just to be tolerated by the state, but even encouraged and gambling merchant services account. Judging by some of the sorry case histories in this book, the results could be disturbing. Get the best at Telegraph Puzzles.
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Like Telegraph Books on Facebook.Hogarth's series The Rake's Progress tours the shadowy corners of a vicious life—vicious in its eighteenth-century meaning of being addicted to vice—including. Paris Gamblers: Gaming in 18th-Century France. Players of backgammon, bridge, and bingo might feel a keen camaraderie with the. associated with gambling in eighteenth-century Britain. Specifically In considering eighteenth-century moral responses to gambling, I draw upon a body of.