Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Gambling, or Gaming, the playing any game of chance, such as cards, clice, etc., for money or money's worth. Gaming houses, together with unlicensed playhouses and disorderly houses, are either at common law or by statute public nuisances. and may upon indictment be suppressed and their keepers fined, and in some cases imprisoned with hard labour. Against gaming-houses in particular assiduous care has been bestowed by the Legislature; and by statutes passed in the reigns of Henry VIII., Anne, and George II..the keeping of common houses for unlawful games and a variety of specifierl games was prohibited under heavy penalties; and by several statutes of the present reign further provisions have been made regarding the offence now under consideration, and in particular for the punishment of those who keep or frequent common gaming-houses, and for suppressing such houses. These statutes provide that the owner or keeper of any common gambling-house, and every person naving the care or management thereof, and every banker, croupier, and other person in any manner conducting the business of any such house, shall on conviction by the oath of one witness before two justices of the peace be liable, in addition to penalties prescribed by 33 Henry VIII.. e. 9, to pay such penalty, not exceeding 500, as shall be adjudged by such justices or, in their discretion, to be committed to the house of correction, with or without hard labour, for not more than twelve months; but any witness who shall make true discovery to the best of his knowledge shall be entitled to a certificate of his having done so, and shall thereupon be freed from all criminal proceedings, forfeitures, and disabilities for anything he has himself done, and, on the other hand, anyone found in a suspected gaming house may be required to be examined and to give evidence, and shall not be excused on the ground that such evidence will tend to criminate himself. One of the above statutes provides that anyoue who by fraud, unlawful device, or ill-practice shall win any money or valuable thing shall be deemed guilty of obtaining it by false pretence, and be punished accordingly; also'that all contracts, whether verbal or written, by way of gaming or wagering, shall be null and void, and that no action shall be brought to recover any money or valuable thing alleged to be won on any wager or which was deposited with any person to abide the event; but this enactment is not to apply to any subscription towards a plate or prize at any "lawful" game, sport, pastime, or exercise. Finally by 36 and 37 Victoria, c. 38, every person playing or betting by way of wagering or gaming at any game, or pretended game of chance, in ang stveet, road, highway, or other open and public place, or in any open place to which the public have access, is to be deemed a rogue and vagabond, and be liable to be convicted and punished accordingly, or, at the discretion of the justices, fined in a penalty not exceeding 40s. for the first offence, or 5 for any subsequent one. [Lotteries.]