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TO TECe EDITOR OF THE VHES3. Sir, —The taste for speculation is deeply rooted, in the habits of the average Englishman. I do not wish to moralise on the matter^—l merely note the.fact: It will lead to-day to a very large amount of wagering on the result of the events at the Grand National meeting. It led on Saturday last to a great deal of betting on the New Zealand football match. We are informed by your* correspondent in Wellington that one wager on that match' wafl as large as £600 to £400- We are told also that "large sums of money were sent over from Australia to back the New Zealand team." A very considerable proportion of the spectators at an important match, it is well known,, have "some-thing on ".to whet their interest in the garnet Bookmakers, it is notoriouw, do considerable business at these matches. It is the absence of the totalisalor alone that prevent* wagering on football from having as much publicity given to it as wagering on horse racing. It i_ certain abo that the practice has In some cases the same undesirable result. A recent scandal in Auckland, where certain players were offered, and accepted, sums bf money to induoe them to play " dead" in a match, will occur to most readers, and severe measttres bo taken, to prevent a recurren-oe of such an abuse. Again Ido not " pojnt tlie moral." My present purpose is merely to drow attention to the fact. The inferenoa to be drawn from it is the simple one that the desire to speculate .on future.contingencies—whether football, racing, or gold <lrcdguig—is deeply seated. Should the rabid opponents of horse racing, Mr T. E. Taylor, Mr H. G. Ell, "et hoc genus omne," succeed in abolishing the totalisator, and in " bursting up " horse racing, as they aver they oan do, what will the result of their micoeea be on the suppression of the instinct for gambling? A large number of people have imbibed puritanical ideas on the subject of , horse racing; they perhaps honestly re- T gard it as a dreadfully wicked amusement. But will tliey extend their condemnation to football? Were horse racing suppressed to-morrow, football would . doubtless take its place as the game most wagered on among people who ai"-*-, given to betting. Tlieir next step, then, must be the suppression of football. Here. tlieir only -course is to aim at stopping tho' game itself. It is independent b( totolisa- j tois, and cannot be fj it that channel. And*notliiag short of the: suppression of the'game will' prevent i -wagering upon it, .eiipecially when other avenues for h-eftf-lng axe closed. -But the" crowds who have'flocked to the three British matches, the intesnse. mtewst. and enthusiasm which they excited, -from* one end of the colony to the other, must make the most perfer-ndVenthusiast among the "reformers" pause. > And saipposing they in ■ -turn succe-eifr in a crusade ogainst football. | Gricket, which is not at present the occasion of much betting, will at once step into its place. wagers will be made not only on the'results of. the • match . as a whole, but on the .runs per man, and runs per over; "doubles" will be laid about the scores of individual batsmen on their two innings'. Cricket ni-ust then be the next objective point of reforming zeal. Again, I merely point to.tho obvious; I even confess to some sympathy with the reforming zealots in the" SyEiphe-an- task they set themselves of ultimaitely suppressing racing, football, cricla*t, and every other form of healthy amusement which furnish "future contingencies-" that may be made the subject- of wagers.—Yours, etc., SPOUT.

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Bibliographic details

Press, Press, Volume LXI, Issue 11968, 16 August 1904

Word Count

WAGERING ON SPORT. Press, Volume LXI, Issue 11968, 16 August 1904