BBC celebrates anniversary of bookmaker legalization

Celebrating the 60th anniversary of the legalization of betting shops, BBC dug into her archives to find an account from the day the law went into effect on May 1, 1961.

Covered in black-and-white footage, the reporter heads to James Keefe's bookmaker, "one of 40" stores set to open on the first day.

“Up until last Monday, this was the only way a lucky player could claim their winnings immediately after running on the course itself, but on Monday, the first of the new stores opened their doors for business,” the reporter began.

Comparing the bet to the delivery of the telegram, he continued: “Inside everything looked fresh, but according to the law, nothing could induce me to bet. The only incentive was the lists of runners in the four afternoon meetings. Other than that, it looked like a small post office.

“Putting the bet was a simple operation. My choice written on a piece of paper and my money was handed over to the clerk behind the counter. The receipt was time-stamped, as was my receipt. In fact, it was very much like sending a telegram.

“There have been reports of a slow start to this over-the-counter trading, but over 100 bets were placed on this store in the first couple of hours. And, as you might expect, everyone – well, almost everyone – thought this new idea was a good one.”

Going out into the street, the TV presenter asked the public about their opinion on the legalization of bookmakers with a variety of people, from sailors to soldiers, expressing her opinion in the form of a set of voice messages.

While one cynic said he "thinks nothing '' about the decision and noted that it would “be more likely to be on the corner of the street '', the majority of the public hailed this decision as “a great innovation '' and agreed that it had to happen. some years ago.

One person applauded the move, which would see the traditionally "secret and covert off the streets become a legal situation" while another praised the ability to bet "openly" with "no fear or worry".

Meanwhile, others took a neutral stance along the lines of “everyone has the right to bet” or “if people want to bet, they will,” while one member of the public pointed to the obvious: “As long as you bet. on the right horse, you will definitely get your money! »

Moving on to another shop owned by a family with “bookmaking in their blood,” the reporter added: “After all, the East End of London has always been heavily associated with off-course betting and its people have always loved to bet. . »

When asked how the legalization of bookmakers has affected his customer base, the bookmaker replied: “I am bringing back old customers that I haven’t seen in years because we were more or less pushed off the street and we lost count. a lot of old customers, but in the last couple of days they have come back.”

However, he added that he "personally wouldn't want" women to flock to betting shops despite the repeal of the legislation.

Finally, the BBC paid a visit to the Chairman of the control over betting on the hippodrome to Sir Dingwall Latham Bateso to get an "expert opinion" on the matter, though he simply stated that he hoped the rates would now "become a pattern."

The reporter concluded by saying, “Now with the flat racing season already in full swing, with Lincoln behind us, Derby and other classics ahead, we may find the season to end with a strong opinion on the bookmakers. At a moment when public demand is uncertain, their future is as open as the first stages of any big race.”

A BBC post celebrating the anniversary of the legalization of bookmakers first appeared on