The History of Bookmakers

The origins of bookmaking have vanished into the past, but betting, especially on horse racing, has been ingrained in the character of England for centuries. Originally betting would have been between individuals, with the largest sums of money wagered on the Classic races, such as the Derby and the St Leger. Betting was the domain of the wealthy, but betting contracts, where no money changed hands, often led to large debts and animosity. The Gaming Act of 1845 banned this practice and bookmakers began to insist on cash up front.

Betting shops started being set up around the country but were outlawed by the 1853 Betting Act, and were not legalised until 1 May 1961, after which 10,000 were set up within 6 months, with some of the illegal bookies making it through the new vetting procedures, established by the 1960 Betting and Gaming Act. However a lot of them found that entering into the business world was outside of their capability, being unable to set up premises, pay staff and ‘go straight.’ As well as this, betting tax was increased and the Government imposed a 33 per cent tax on the fixed-odds coupons issued by bookmakers. The number of High Street shops began to decline, and now there are just over 8,000.

Punters could listen only to an audio commentary on races in the betting shops, provided by the Exchange Telegraph Company, with each region having a ‘local’ commentator with a ‘local’ accent. In 1986 the regulation relaxed and television screens were permitted which would bring live racing via satellite to the majority of shops. Bookmakers were permitted to open in the evenings and on Sundays, but duty at 10 per cent was driving punters to illegal bookmakers, who, operating in pubs, clubs and factories, accounted for a 10 per cent of betting turnover.

Another two events have had a massive impact on bookmakers – the first when Frankie Dettori rode all seven winners at Ascot in 1996, which resulted in massive payouts. The second was the introduction of the National Lottery and particularly scratchcards in 1995, with the betting shops being denied the right to sell tickets. A Government survey on gambling revealed that 57% of gamblers use the lottery, 20% buy scratchcards and 17% bet on horseracing.

However in the past decade, measures have been taken to rebalance the nation’s gambling impulses. Tax on betting-shop wagers was cut from 10% to 9% and abolished in 2002, in favour of a tax on the bookies’ gross profits. Rules regarding betting on football were relaxed, allowing bets on single matches, and betting shops have been allowed to install fixed-odds betting terminals and fruit machines.

Online gambling is today’s worry on bookmakers but the figures suggest that the world of internet gambling and betting shops could live side by side -the four biggest betting shop companies still seem strongly committed to betting shops. William Hill currently runs more than 2,250 shops; Ladbrokes has 2,350; Coral owns 1,600; and totesport manages 540. Paddy Power, which has 58 British shops, mostly in and around London, announced profits of £55.2m for 2007, half of this coming from online operations. But its UK shops also made money and it plans to have twice as many by 2011.

How Do I Set Up a Casino in the UK?

Anyone who wishes to provide facilities for gambling, or to manufacture supply, install, repair or adapt a gaming machine or gambling software is required to hold a licence authorising the specific activity to be undertaken.” Gambling Act 2005

If you wish to provide facilities for gaming in the UK you will require a licence. There are three categories of licence (operating, personal and premises) – your business may need all three kinds. Operating licences and personal licences, are issued by the Gambling Commission and premises licences are issued by your local authority.

What are the licences?

Operating Licenses – if you wish to provide facilities for gambling you will require an operating licence.

Personal Licenses

There are two types of personal licences:

· Personal Management Licence – required by all persons who occupy a specified management position.

· Personal Functional Licence – required by those individuals who work within a casino at staff level e.g. a dealer, cashier, pit boss etc

To apply for a licence you should visit the The Gambling Commission’s website at www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk [http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk]

What are the costs?

There are two types of fee payable for operating licences – a one off application fee and an annual fee payable within 30 days of your licence being issued:

1. Application Fee for a new casino up to £40,000

2. Annual Fee for a new casino up to £102,000

There are two types of fee payable for personal licences:

1. Personal Management Licence £330

2. Personal Functional Licence £165

When should I apply for my licence?

You should aim to submit your application as soon as possible, and you cannot start running your gambling business until you have obtained all the relevant permissions.

Offshore Gambling – A Real Review On Offshore Gambling

Offshore gambling is commonly defined as the voluntary risking of a sum of money called a wager, stake, or bet, on the outcome of a game or other event. Gambling is risking something of value on the outcome of an uncertain event. Gambling is central to almost everything we do as human beings. Gambling is legal in 48 of 50 states. Offshore gambling is very much a leisure activity.

Internet gambling, for the compulsive gambler is defined as follows: Any betting or wagering, for self or others, whether for money or not, no matter how slight or insignificant, where the outcome is uncertain or depends upon chance or skill constitutes gambling. Casino gambling involves betting, whether individually or in pools, in games of chance where the odds of winning or losing are artificially created so that those who win do so (at least in part) at the expense of those who lose. Offshore gambling has been branded the new “opium of the people” in a Church of Scotland report presented to the General Assembly. Internet gambling becomes a problem when it causes a negative impact on any area of the individual’s life. Internet casino gambling can include playing the on-line or video lottery games, playing cards, dice, or dominoes, playing slot machines, betting on sporting events (with or without a bookie), betting on the horses or greyhounds, betting on games of skill (bowling, pool, golf, video or arcade games), and many other activities.

Offshore gambling is the new pre-marital sex. Online gambling can be addictive, but only to persons that have an addictive personality. Online casinos are a choice adults make about how to spend their own money. Internet gambling is a more responsible way of gambling than going to a brick and mortar casino where there is no limit on the amount you loose, where you are encouraged to continue gambling. Blackjack gambling online for example, is growing rapidly over the last 2 years and attracts many companies to invest in this ancient game. Gambling systems can be better monitored to avoid problem gambling than traditional forms of land-based gambling. Online casinos have regulations in nations such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and Antigua ensure that consumers are treated fairly and the games are completely honest. Online poker fans from the States are already comparing this era of prohibition to that of the 1920s. The level of interest in online gambling remained relatively consistent throughout the year and actually increased in July 2001, at the same time as the introduction of the Interactive Gambling Act.

Online casinos as they do present some difficulties for the new player to get accustomed to, have none of the intricacies as land-based casinos do. Gambling is based on the evil desire to get money or goods, which belong to someone else without giving fair value in exchange. Offshore gambling is big business, bringing in huge amounts of cash and tax revenue, and employing thousands of state citizens. Gambling is essentially an expression of a covetous spirit and in my opinion offshore gambling is so appealing because of the opportunity to get something for nothing. Online casinos are successfully regulated in many parts of the world, so it can obviously be regulated in the United States. If you think of gambling as a form of entertainment, that seems to take a lot of the mystique away, and it may be easier to see that gambling is pretty harmless if one looks at it from an economic point of view.

To be continued…

Is It Legal to Play Online Poker in the United States?

Like many poker fans, you may have been concerned about the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act last year. Does the Act make it illegal to play online poker?

First of all, you should know that even before the Act was passed, online gambling was already deemed illegal by 11 states. I assume this means that the state laws deem online poker to be illegal–I am not familiar with all of the state laws, but that is what I would conclude. The 11 states in which online gambling was deemed illegal–and remains so today–are Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin. Let me repeat, online gambling remains illegal in these states. However, as far as I can tell, no one has ever been prosecuted by any state for gambling online.

In California, where I live, the law does not equate “poker” with “gambling” but deems it game playing, and professional poker players are not deemed as gamblers, but as professional game players.

After the Act was passed, nothing actually changed with regards to the legality of online gambling. As I have said, it remains illegal in those 11 states. But the Act did not make online gambling illegal in the United States of America as a whole. Following this line of thinking, then logically there are 39 US states in which online gambling is legal, as it was before the Act was passed.

So what did the Act do? In spite of its name, it does not declare online gambling to be legal. Instead, it made it illegal for financial institutions in the US to allow the use of electronic fund transfers and credit or debit cards in connection with online gambling. So players can no longer make bets or collect winnings through these methods. Of course, most US banks and credit card companies already denied the use of their cards on online gambling sites. But the new law has placed even more restrictions on player’s means of transferring funds to and from online gambling sites.

Nevertheless, there remain a number of online poker sites that accept real-money players from the United States. If you are a US citizen and you find yourself barred from one poker site, then don’t fret–you are sure to find one that will allow you to play.

There is controversy, after all, on whether the new bill is even enforceable. After all, online poker sites are situated outside the United States. So how can a United States law be made to apply to them?

Is it legal to play online poker in the United States? The answer is yes, it is legal–at least in 39 out of the 50 states. But the new bill has made it a lot more difficult for US players to make money at it.