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26 September 2014updated 11 Sep 2021 5:50pm

State of play

By New Statesman

State of play

Given that gambling is one of the earliest forms of entertainment in human history, it is safe to assume it is here to stay. Its roots can be traced to religious rituals in primitive pre-historic societies. From these rituals, gambling grew into a separate activity used to make decisions about who would get a bigger piece of prey or a woman. Eventually pure gambling for material gain evolved.

The Victorians found gambling deeply immoral and irreligious. In 1906 the Street Betting Act was passed,making street betting illegal. The only legal betting was that done at the race track. This suddenly put legal gambling as a leisure pursuit out of reach for a generation of working men who had neither the time nor the money to attend the races.

As the 20th century progressed, the government moulded legislation to limit and control gambling opportunitieswhile drawing revenue from them. Todaygambling is global, yet the tension between regulators and the owners of gambling businesses still exists. With jobs and businesses at stake, now more than ever before the industry is fighting for what it regards as a fair deal from government

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