Observer, Rōrahi XXIV, Putanga 37, 28 Haratua 1904, Page 2
Here shall the Press the People's Bight maintain, Uriawed by influence and unbribed by gain ; Here patriot Truth her glorious precepts draw, Pledged to Religion, Liberty, and Law.
THE TOTALIZATOR. Why the Shrinkage in Receipts ? THE parsons and other moral reformers of the community do not read the accounts of the race meetings in the newspapers, or, at all events, it is reasonable to suppose they do not. But if they did, they would find in them certain reason for congratulation amongst themselves. To speak plainly, gambling on the totalizator is falling off. It lias been falling off for the last year. or more. Every successive meeting tells the same tale — i.e., that the totalizator takings were so much less than on the same day last year. It has been so throughout the whole of the season now closing, Feilding being one of the few solitary exceptions, and there were special reasons to account for the increase in that instance. In the case of Devonport last Saturday, the falling off from last year exceeded £600, while Avondale and Auckland recently showed a corresponding decrease. <«• «• «• It is just possible that this falling off indicates success on the part of the numerous reforming moral agencies in our midst, and that gambling is relinquishing its hold on the men of the community. Why we should say men, however, is not very clear. Often, the best patrons of the totalisator are the women, and, though Ibe amount oi their investments may be limited, thej make up in persistent and energetic backing what they may lack in the weight of their stakes. But whethei with the men or the women, the totalisator is not as popular as it was, and the reason is not easy to discover. So far as the men are concerned, it is suggested that the popular vice hat lost none of its fascinations for them, but that the spending power of the sex is becoming limited. They are feeling the competition of the female sex in avenues of employment thai were hitherto solely and exclusively occupied by them, with the result that their salaries are lower and theii situations not so secure as they were, Certainly, this may furnish some par! of the explanation. Theatre manager* admit that nowadays their patrons an chiefly women and girls, who come it threes, fours, and lives without anj male escort, and who appear to have plenty of pocket money while the young male individual can scarcely afforc himself a threepenny glass of ale or an occasional game of billiards. It is nc uncommon thing, when melodrama ii in progress, to count an un broker line of twelve or fifteen females in the stalls of the theatre, while the averagt is generally five or six women to everj man. Is this a sign of the times ? There ia another reasonable explana tion of the shortage in the totalizato: receipts quite apart from any consider 1 ation of the pernicious effects o gambling. Clergymen tell us tha ' men are marrying more than they use< to do, though, if their spending powe is lessening, it must be on the raie taken principle that it costs lesa t keep two than it does to keep one I If this is the correct explanation, an i men are turning from the totalizato towards matrimony, the credit is da to the Right Hon. K. J. Seddon moi
than to any reforming i agencies, because he has done more than anyone or everyone else to awaken the conscience of toe unmarried male person to the duvy he owes to the State and to posterity* and the obligation that rests upon Mm to be fruitful and multiply.
Yet another and an equally likely explanation of the shrinkage in the totalizator receipts is that the young New Zealander prefers to speculate his money, spare or otherwise, in the fascinating game of " two-.up," which deducts no ten per cent, or other commission from the stakes, and which furnishes him with fascinating pastime during the, to him, monotonous hours of the Sabbath. The spectacle may be witnensed every Sunday of knots of men and lads on our beaches, in the public gardens, and on vacant sections of land, all busily engaged playing the " two-up " game. It is just possible that " two-up " may be proving the successful rival of the totalizator, and, if so, the crusade against gambling will require to begin in a fresh place.