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BETAÏNE

hoisted bookmakers proclaim their readiness to lay or take certain odds, which vary according to the demand for the different animals. Backers are influenced by many considerations: by gossip, by the opinions of writers on racing, and in many cases, unfortunately, by the advice of “tipsters,” who by advertisements and circulars profess their ability to indicate winners, a pretence which is obviously absurd, as if these men possessed the knowledge they claim, they would assuredly keep it to themselves and utilize it for their own private purposes.

The specious promises of such men do infinite mischief, as they so often appeal with success to the folly and gullibility of the ignorant, and in recent years the extent to which betting has grown has resulted in attempts to check it by organized means. A society for the purpose was formed in England called the Anti-Gambling League. A bookmaker named Dunn was summoned in 1897 for betting in Tattersall’s enclosure, which it was contended contravened the Betting House Act of 1853. This act had been aimed against what were known as “list houses,” establishments then kept by bookmakers for betting purposes, and associated with many disgraceful scandals. In the preamble to his bill Lord Cockburn began by remarking that “Whereas a new form of betting has of late sprung up,” and the Anti-Gambling League sought to argue that this included a form of betting which had not sprung up of late but had on the contrary been carried on without interference for many generations. The divisional court of the queen’s bench (Hawke v. Dunn, 13 T.L.R. 281) held that such betting was an infringement of the act, and that the enclosure was a “place” within the meaning of the act, and had been used by the respondent for the purpose of betting with persons resorting thereto, and that he was liable to be Convicted. The case was remitted to the justices, who convicted the defendant. A somewhat similar case was decided on the same day (M‘Inany v. Hildreth, 1897, 13 T.L.R. 285), in which it was held that a professional bookmaker who went to a place known as the “pit heap” at Jarrow, to which the public had access at all times, and made bets with persons assembled there, was properly convicted, and that the “pit heap” itself and the place where he stood were “places” within the meaning of the act. It was afterwards held by the court of appeal (Powell v. Kempton Park Racecourse Co., Ltd., 1897, 2 Q.B. 242), in an action brought to restrain a racecourse company from opening or keeping an enclosure on a racecourse by allowing it to be used by bookmakers, that the words “other place” must be construed as meaning a defined place, that the user of such a place implied some exclusive right in the user against others, and that the racecourse owners had not been guilty of permitting the enclosure to be used in the manner prohibited by the act of 1853. The decision in Hawke v. Dunn was disapproved of; and the House of Lords afterwards affirmed the decision of the court of appeal.

The Street Betting Act 1906 enacted that any person frequenting or loitering in streets or public places for the purpose of bookmaking, or betting, or wagering, should be liable on summary conviction, in the case of a first offence, to a fine not exceeding ten pounds, in the case of a second offence, to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds, and in the case of a third or subsequent offence, or in any case where he is proved to have committed the offence of having a betting transaction with a person under the age of sixteen years, to a fine, on conviction on indictment, not exceeding fifty pounds or to imprisonment with or without hard labour for a term not exceeding six months. On summary conviction the fine is a sum not exceeding thirty pounds or imprisonment with or without hard labour for a term not exceeding three months. A wide definition is given to the words “street” and “public place,” and racecourses are expressly exempted from the operation of the act.

On all French racecourses (since 1866), as on others nearly everywhere else on the continent, and likewise in the British colonies, a system of betting known as the Pari-Mutuel or Totalizator, is carried on. Rows of offices are established behind or near the stands, on each of which lists are exhibited containing the numbers of the horses that are to run in the coming race. At some of these the minimum wager is five francs, at others ten, twenty, fifty, one hundred, five hundred and in some cases a thousand. The person who proposes to bet goes to the clerk at one of these offices, mentions the number, as indicated on the card, of the horse he wishes to back, and states whether he desires to bet on it to win or for a place only. He receives a voucher for his money. After the race the whole amount collected at the various offices is put together and divided after a percentage has been deducted for the administration and for the poor. As soon as this has been done, the money is divided and the prices to be paid to winners are exhibited on boards. These prices are calculated on a unit of ten francs. Thus, for instance, if the winner is notified as bringing in twenty-five francs, the meaning is that the backer receives his original stake of ten and fifteen in addition, the money being paid immediately by another clerk attached to the office at which the bet was made. The great French municipalities derive considerable revenue in relief of rates from the Paris Mutuels. In Japan this system was made illegal in 1908.

BETAÏNE (Oxyneurine, Lycine), C5H13NO3, a substance discovered in the sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) in 1869 by C. Scheibler (Ber., 1869, 2, p. 292). It is also found in cotton seed, in the vetch and in wheat sprouts (E. Schulz and S. Frankfurt, Ber., 1893, 26, p. 2151). It may be synthetically prepared by oxidizing choline with chromic acid (O. Liebreich, Ber., 1869, 2, 13), (CH3)3N(OH)·CH2·CH2OH → C5H13NO3 + H2O; by heating trimethylamine with monochloracetic acid (Liebreich), (CH3)3N + CH2Cl·COOH = (CH3)3N(Cl)·CH2·COOH (betaïne hydrochloride); and by heating amino-acetic acid (glycocoll) with methyl iodide in the presence of an alkali (P. Griess, Ber., 1875, 8, p. 1406). It crystallizes from alcohol in large deliquescent crystals; and is readily soluble in water, but insoluble in ether. It is a weak base. As is shown by the various syntheses of the base, it is the methyl hydroxide of dimethyl glycocoll. This free base readily loses water on heating and gives an internal anhydride of constitution 1911 Britannica-Betaïne1.png which is the type of the so-called “betaïnes.” These organic betaïnes are internal anhydrides of carboxylic acids, which contain an ammonium hydroxide group in the α-position. A. Hantzsch (Ber., 1886, 19, p. 31) prepared the betaïnes of nicotinic, picolinic and collidine carboxylic acids from the potassium salts of the acids, by treatment with methyl iodide, followed by moist silver oxide. The reaction may be shown as follows:—


1911 Britannica-Betaïnes2.png


The methyl betaïne of nicotinic acid is identical with the alkaloid trigonelline, which was discovered in 1885 by E. Jahns in the seeds of Trigonella faenum-graecum (Ber., 1885, 18, p. 2518). It has also been obtained from nicotine by A. Pictet by oxidizing the methyl hydroxide of nicotine with potassium permanganate (Ber., 1897, 30, p. 2117).

Substances closely related to betaïne are choline, neurine and muscarine. Choline (bilineurine, sincaline), (Gr. χολή, bile), C5H15NO2 or HO·CH2·CH2·N(CH3)3·OH, first isolated by A. Strecker in 1862 (Ann. 123, p. 353; 148, p. 76), is found in the bile, in brain substance, and in yolk of egg in the form of lecithin, a complex ester of glycerin with phosphoric acid and the fatty acids. It is also found in combination with sinapic acid in sinapin, the glucoside obtained from white mustard, and can be obtained from this glucoside by hydrolysis with baryta water,

C16H23NO5    +    2H2O    =     C5H15NO2    +    C11H12O5.

Sinapin.Choline.Sinapic acid.

It can be synthetically prepared by the action of trimethylamine on an aqueous solution of ethylene oxide (A. Wurtz, Ann. Suppl., 1868, 6, p. 201). It forms deliquescent crystals of strongly alkaline reaction, and absorbs carbon dioxide from the air. It is not poisonous. By continued boiling of its aqueous solution, it is resolved into glycol and trimethylamine.

Neurine, trimethyl vinyl ammonium hydroxide (Gr. νεῦρον, nerve), CH2 : CH·N(CH3)3·OH, is a product of the putrefaction of albumen. It may be prepared by the action of moist silver oxide on ethylene dibromide and trimethylamine,

CH2Br·CH2Br → CH2Br·CH2N(CH3)3Br → CH2 : CH·N(CH3)3·OH.