Betting at Denaby – A Widow in a Losing Game

November 1927

Mexborough and Swinton Times November 11, 1927

Betting at Denaby
A Widow in a Losing Game

Thomas E Armstrong, a pony driver, of Denaby, was charged at Doncaster on Tuesday, with his mother, Betsy Armstrong, a widow, with using and permitting the use of a house for betting purposes, was ordered to pay costs, and his mother had to pay £5 for not having a bookmaker’s licence, using the house for betting purposes £10.

Mr CP Brut, prosecuting, said defendant lived at 26 Adwick Street, Denaby. The premises were kept under observation between October 8 and October 22. The average number of people who visited the house daily was 45. The premises were raided on October 22, when the police found slips relating to 112 bets on horses running that day at Stockton and Sandown.

Betsy Armstrong handed the police £2 12s 9d and said “That is the money I have taken today.” On a pay sheet it was found that she had paid out £10 the day before. Whilst the police were there a child entered and handed the police two slips and three shillings. Betsy Armstrong admitted that she had no licence.

Police Sgt Hawke said he raided the house of October 22 at 1:15 PM. He entered at the back door. He saw a woman hand to the female defendant, in the presence of Thomas Armstrong, a slip and a silver coin. In reply to witness Mr Dobson said, “I am only trying to get a bit of money.” When witness spoke to Thomas Armstrong, he replied “I know my mother takes bets but I cannot help it.” Mrs Armstrong handed to the police all the betting slips she had. The bets ranged from 6d to 2s. When questioned Mrs Dobson said, “I am taking them for Longbottoms in Doncaster Road. I tried to get a bit of money. If I had carried on as I did last week you would not have caught me.”

Mr G Dunn, of Rotherham, defending, submitted that it was not a thriving business.  The woman had lost during the present season. She had been carrying on the business for two flat-racing seasons. They were poverty stricken, as the woman had a large family to keep on about £3 a week. She had been a widow for a good number of years, but unfortunately she had become associated with a man, who lived with her, and to whom she had had five children. It was in order to obtain money on which to live that she thought of bookmaking.

In the box, Betsy Armstrong, said that during the present season she had lost money

The Chairman (Mr. G. Cooke Yarborough} . Made no money out of it? Why did you carry on then?

Witness ; It was the “strap bets.”

The Chairman: What are those?

Mr. Dann explained that ” strap bets ” were credit bets.

Mrs. Armstrong denied that she was taking money or bets for Longbottoms. She told the police she was because she was frightened.

The Chairman said there were circumstances in the case which made it different from many of the cases which the Bench dealt with. Thomas Armstrong was not in the position of the husband who was carrying on a betting business, but there was no doubt that there were family influences. They did not propose to deal with him in that way. Betsy Armstrong, in the opinion of the Bench, was carrying on a ready-money betting business on behalf of Longbottoms. As a rule when the case had been a clear and a bad one the Bench had imposed a fine of £20, but in this case they were going to make an exception.

Rose Bell, married, of Denaby,and a fourteen-year-old schoolgirl were bound over on a charge of having resorted to the betting house.