History of Gambling in London

For the empire (British Empire) that once ruled a quarter of the world, you might think it was flourishing with wealth and happiness all the time. Yes, the British royal family in London was the world’s richest dynasty at one point but not all of the royal empire’s citizens were affluent like this family. A large disparity in class was recorded among the dynasty’s citizens and many suffered in the clutches of poverty. Despite this, both the rich and poor had one common thing between them i.e. gambling. Be it King, Queen, Governors, chef or chauffeur, everyone had an immense obsession for gambling in London. Read on to know more about the London gambling.

History of Gambling in London

It all began with Roman Rule

London was brought under Roman rule in 47 A.D., which aided the British people to get accustomed with the Roman people’s way of life. Many things were adopted by the British from Romans including betting games. The best of the gambling games adopted were dice games.

More games emerging into the world of London Gambling

  • Dice games: After the obsession with Roman dice games, fast forward to the time between 12th and 13th centuries. This is when a variant of a dice game called Hazard was invented in London, which was also played by people with utmost interest. Currently, the Craps game played at the casino is based on Hazard itself
  • Card Games: Card games were introduced to British people by French. These games became so popular among people that the King of those times Henry VIII had to ban gambling across England. The card games again became popular when the Printing Press was invented.
  • Lottery: Another addition to the history of London gambling games was a lottery. In 1569, King Henry’s daughter, Queen Elizabeth I was the one who introduced the first lottery to England. This allowed common citizens also to participate in lottery games and win massive jackpots going up to £5,000. The winners also got immunity for petty crimes and can avoid arrests. The lottery game turned out a successful venture which helped tremendously to increase the tax revenue. This, in turn, was used for the development of England as well as the empire.

17th Century London Gambling

During the reign of King Charles II in 1684, many illegal gambling dens in London were shut down. This time the gambling prevailed legally among aristocracy but was illegal among for the lower class citizens. Still, the people kept gambling in many pubs and bars.

Industrial Revolution backed London Gambling

What was till now considered as leisure activity had now transformed into commercial gambling. This happened due to the mid-18th-century Industrial Revolution. Many Clubs were established to avail various games like card games, table games and such. Even betting on horseracing became extremely popular these days.

London Gambling considered Crime

In the 19th century, various reasons like betting frauds, religion, lottery corruption and others led to the British Parliament making laws to curtail it. These included the 1845 Gaming Act and the 1853 Betting Act.

Street betting Act was made in 1906 which called for gambling in public property as a criminal offence. The laws proved to be ineffective leading to the unregulated gambling in many areas of England.

Regulating Gambling in the 20th Century

The 20th century saw various chaos and changes in the world of London gambling. Authorities were still wondering whether it would be safe to legalize and license gambling. Finally, they gave permission for some vendors to operate gambling legally.

A law known as the Betting and Gaming Act of 1960 was passed and as many as 16000 vendors were given licenses to operate gambling games.

The First London Casino

The London’s first Casino was started in 1962 known as the Clermont Club. Owned by John Aspinall, the club is operative till today.

London gambling in current times

From Clermont club, gambling in London has come a long way. Not only have numerous casinos cropped up but also a wide range of casino games. Also with the rapid advent of technology, online casinos have become a common thing today. Not just these, there are many things like Virtual Reality technology, Augmented reality technology and others that are currently cropping up to give gamblers superior gambling experience.

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Author: Richard

Posted On: 24/01/2019

History of Gambling in London
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