Street Betting at Conisborough – Bookmaker Heavily Fined – Maximum Penalty

April 1906

Mexborough and Swinton Times April 28, 1906

Street Betting at Conisborough
Mexborough Bookmaker Heavily Fined
Maximum Penalty Imposed

A well-known bookmaker, named William Gough junior of Mexborough, was summoned for Street betting at Conisborough, on the fourth and fifth April, and also the six and ninth April.

The defendant appeared and Mr W Baddiley defended.

PC Horton stated that at 2:30 P.M. on the fourth inst. he was on duty with PC Wailes, when he saw the defendant standing in the road near the Denaby Main Hotel. The first time there would be about 12 to 15 men with him, and men kept going up to him and handing him something, after which he made an entry in his book on each occasion. They watched him until 3 P.M. and during that time saw eight men and one woman hand him money. As soon as he and Wailes got near to him he walked away into Loversall Street, behind the Denaby Hotel.

At 2:45 P.M. as a miners were leaving the colliery, they went round to the back of the hotel to the defendant. Witness and Wailes went round, and surprised defendant just as a man was making a bet. He was handing the defendant 2s and with the remark, “Two shillings on Roseate Dawn.”

As soon as Gough saw witness he put his book in his pocket, walked away, into Denaby Road, and stopped near to Whitaker’s pawn shop. Witness saw a woman give him a shilling, but he was not near enough to hear what she said. On the following day, the fifth, witness watched the defendant in the same place from 2:45 P.M. to 3 o’clock. Gough had a book in his hand and witness saw eight men go up to him and hand him money. Whenever witness and Wailes got near to him he walked away.

During the time they were there a man fetched him a bottle of stout out of the Denaby Main Hotel, which he drank in the road. On the 9th he watched the defendant from 12:33 P.M. in the same place. He saw 12 men and five women go to him, and hand him money, after each of which he made an entry in his book. As they were approaching near to the pawnshop a man shouted “Pencil,” and defendant then put his book in his pocket and walked away. At 2:45 P.M. the defendant was at the bottom of Blythe Street and witness saw several men and women go to. Witness and Wailes walked sharply up to defendant, round the corner just as a woman handed him 2/6, saying, “This on Killigrew.” Defendant made an entry in his book and walked away. He started to run, but witness said “It’s no use you running, Gough; you will be reported.” He then stopped and said “Well.” The woman had a child in her arms.

PC Wailes gave corroborated evidence, and said on the 6th he was on duty with PC Jenkinson at 1:15 PM when they watched until 3 PM. There were about 16 persons with the defendant, most of whom were reading “sporting pinks”. At 2.30 they saw a man hand him two shillings but they were unable to hear what he said.

Mr Baddiley said he was not going to attempt to deny that the defendant was betting on the day name in the summons, and he thought the less said about these betting cases the better, because it did not matter how many prosecutions took place, betting would still go on. It was almost an impossibility to stop these men from gambling; it was born in them, and they could legislate until Doomsday and still betting would go on. It was well known that it was a breach of the bylaw, but it was a perfect farce that a man could not bet in the street, whereas if you went on a racecourse he could do as much as you liked. It looked a perfect farce that there should only be one course for them. The Government, in its wisdom, made these bylaws instead of trying to legislate to try and keep betting within a proper limit. He thought that would do a great good, while the passing of such bylaws as the one in question appeared to be absurd. Of course, it was a lot, but the sooner they took a lesson from the people of the water, and put betting in another form it will be a benefit to all concerned. He hoped their worships would not inflict a every penalty, because, when all was said and done, it was not a serious matter, and it was well known that it will was carried on extensively in all parts. He thought if a reasonable penalty was inflicted, and order the costs in the other cases, it would meet the justice of the case.

The Chairman said the defendant would have to pay £5 and the costs in the first case and pay the costs in the second.