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Two fat ladies at the seaside: the place of gambling in working-class holidays

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Abstract

Gambling was a popular and pervasive leisure pursuit long before it was legalised in January 1961. The most prevalent forms of gambling amongst the working classes were the football pools, illegal off-course cash betting and greyhound racing; all of which were predominantly male pastimes. This paper explores the role of gambling amongst women during their annual seaside holidays and highlights the role of seaside arcades and bingo games in familiarising women with gambling, creating a ready market for the first commercial bingo halls which opened within a few days of the passing of the Betting and Gaming Act (1960)