£500,000,000 (lid the Englishman spend in 1938 on gambling-roughly £150,000,000 more than he spent in 1937. So estimates the Committee on Gambling, set up by the Christian Social Council.
The Committee reports that all the main forms of gambling had a very good year. Only the Irish sweepstakes, collecting a mere £2,000,000 from adventurous Englishmen, showed a substantial decrease in receipts.
Horse-racing is still the most popular form of losing one's money. £350,000,000 was staked on horses in 1938, an increase of £100,000,000 over the previous year and more than the total for amounts staked on greyhound racing, football pools and gaming machines. Only £9,000,000 of the £350,000,000, however, was actually staked on the racecourses. Many of the smaller greyhound racing tracks closed down in 1938, but the bigger tracks reaped very high rewards. £70,000,000 altogether went to the dogs.
THE LURE OF BINGO Football pools continue to cause all middle-class moralists to demand that something should be done. 10,000,000 people fill up the pool forms every week. Their stake is usually not less than half-a-crown a time.
More than 60 pool promoters advertise in the national and provincial Press at the cost of about £600,000 a year. One penny pool alone is now receiving regularly every week more than £100,000.
Something should be done? Perhaps a special tax to bring the Government an even bigger revenue than the vast amount spent by " pool" enthusiasts on stamps.
Many new gaming machines were brought Into the country during 1938 from America and apparently succeeded in turning " country fairs and seaside resorts into casinos," to quote a picturesque phrase from the committee's report.
Bingo-referred t already in the " Catholic Herald" and condemned by an American Bishop as one of the side shows on the rosy way to Hell, had 1remarkable revival.