Page:1902 Encyclopædia Britannica - Volume 26 - AUS-CHI.pdf/268

This page needs to be proofread.


BETTERMEN T—BETTING direct line KN.W. of Arras. It is situated in a very a year before the running of the races, and a few handiproductive coal-field. The fortifications of the town are caps, such as the Chester Cup, used to occupy attention no longer maintained. Port traffic on the Aire Canal in months beforehand ; the weights, of course, being published 1898 amounted to 987,157 tons. Population (1881), at a much longer interval prior to the contest than is at present the rule. As regards ante-post betting, bookmakers 9076; (1896), 10,529; (1901), 11,370. have their own ideas as to the relative prospects of the Betterment. See Compensation. horses entered. A person who wishes to back a horse asks Betti a, a town of British India, in the Champaran the price, and accepts or declines, as. the case may be. If district of Bengal; situated in 26° 48' N. lat., and 84° 32' the bet is laid it will probably be quoted in the newspapers, E. long., on the Harha river ; station on the Tirhut section and other persons who propose to wager on the race are so of the Bengal and North-Western railway. Population, likely to follow suit that it is shrewdly suspected that in about 22,000. Bettia is the residence of one of the not a few cases bets are quoted which never have been leading noblemen of Northern Behar, who enjoys a rent- laid, in order to induce the backers to speculate. Accordroll of <£66,000, and who raised a mortgage loan of ing to the public demand for a horse the price shortens. £475,000 at 5 per cent, on the London Stock Exchange in If there is little or no demand the odds increase, the 1888. In 1901, owing to a disputed succession, the estate market being almost entirely regulated by the money ; so was under the management of the Court of Wards. It that if a great many people bet on a certain animal the comprises land in no less than ten districts, much of which odds become shorter and shorter, till in many cases instead is let on permanent leases to indigo-planters. Besides the of laying odds against a horse, the bookmaker comes to palace of the raja, the town contains a middle English take odds, that is, to agree to pay a smaller sum than he school and a female dispensary, entirely supported out of would receive from the backer if the animal lost. Post the estate. There is a Roman Catholic mission, with betting is conducted on very much the same principles. about 1009 converts, which was founded by an Italian When the numbers are hoisted bookmakers proclaim their priest in 1746. readiness to lay or take certain odds, which vary according Betting1.—In the early days of horse-racing persons to the demand for the different animals. Backers are influwho wished to bet often failed to gratify their inclination enced by many considerations : by gossip, by the opinions because of the difficulty of finding any one ready to wager. of writers on racing, and in many cases, unfortunately, by To obviate this difficulty the professional bookmaker the advice of “ tipsters,” who by advertisements and cirarose. It was perceived that if a man laid money against culars profess their ability to indicate winners, a pretence a number of horses, conducting his business on discreet which is obviously absurd, as if these men possessed the principles, he would in all probability receive enough to knowledge they claim, they would assuredly keep it to pay the bettor who was successful and to leave a surplus for themselves and utilize it for their own private purposes. The specious promises of such men do infinite mischief, himself ; for the “ bookmaker,” as the professional betting man came to be called, had enormous advantages in his as they so often appeal with success to the folly and favour. He was presumably shrewd and wary, whereas gullibility of the ignorant, and it is for this reason that a many of those with whom he dealt were precisely the certain amount of sympathy is felt for the endeavours of opposite, and benefit arose to him from the mistakes and persons who have entered upon the forlorn hope of miscalculations of owners and trainers of horses, and endeavouring to prevent betting. A society was formed from the innumerable accidents which occur to prevent called the Anti - Gambling League. A bookmaker was anticipated success; moreover, if he carried out the theory summoned for betting in Tattersall’s enclosure, which it of his calling he would so arrange his book, by what is was contended contravened the Betting House Act of called “betting to figures,” that the money he received 1853. This Act had been aimed against what were would be more than he could possibly be called upon to known as “ list houses,” establishments then kept by bookpay. In practice, of course, this often does not happen, makers for betting purposes, and associated with many because “backers” will sometimes support two or three disgraceful scandals. In the preamble to his Bill Lord horses in a race only, and the success of one may result in Cockburn began by remarking that “ Whereas a new form loss to the bookmaker; but in the long run it has been of betting has of late sprung up,” and the Anti-Gambling almost invariably found that the bookmaker grows rich League sought to argue that this included a form of betting and that the backer of horses loses money. It is the which had not sprung up of late but had on the contrary bookmaker who regulates the odds, and this he does, been carried on without interference for many generations. sometimes by anticipating, sometimes by noting, the desire The Divisional Court held that such betting. was an of backers to support certain animals. Such things as infringement of the Act, but ultimately the question came stable secrets can scarcely be said to exist at the present before the House of Lords, and the decision was reversed. time ; the bookmaker is usually as well able as any one else The arguments turned almost entirely upon whether such to estimate the chances of the various horses engaged in an enclosure was a “place” within the meaning of the races. Notwithstanding that the reports of a trial gallop Act, and it was finally held that a place did not mean are of comparatively little value to any except _ the few an enclosure in a racecourse, to which many persons, no persons who know what weights ,the animals carried when doubt, did go for the purpose of betting, whilst others tried, the bookmaker is extraordinarily keen, and frequently went merely with the object of seeing the races. The successful, in his search for information; and on this the law with regard to betting is in fact not a little curious. A few years ago two men were imprisoned for introducing odds depend. Betting is of two kinds: “ post,” when wagering does a machine similar to the Pari-Mutuels which are recognized not begin until the numbers of the runners are hoisted and supported by the French Government and by authorities on the board; and “ante-post,” when wagering opens elsewhere, and from which French municipalities dei B e weeks or months before the event; though of this latter handsome sums in relief of rates. Many attempts have been made in France to interfere there is far less than was formerly the case, doubtless for with the practice of bookmaking and to induce all who the reason that before the introduction of so many new and valuable stakes attention was generally concentrated on a desire to wager on horse-races to support the Pari-Mutuels. comparatively small number of races. Bets on the Derby, On all French racecourses, as on others nearly everywhere the Oaks, and the St. Leger were formerly common nearly else on the Continent, and likewise in the Colonies, where 236