Letter Shines Light on WW1 Gambling

Gambling is an abundant part of modern society. We are able to play slots on sites, such as gamblers.co.nz, from the comfort of our home. We can enter most cities in the world and find somewhere to play roulette and table games, such as poker and blackjack.

When we compare our world to the one a century ago, it is easy to assume that gambling was not as prevalent. It is true that society had not embraced casino gambling or wager based betting in the same way that our modern world has. However, that does not mean that people in the 1910s completely shunned this activity.

In a recently unearthed letter, we get a glimpse of the level of gambling done in the trenches of the First World War. The mail is from the father of a recently deployed private called Ralph Honour. It would be easy to think that this man would be mostly concerned with his son possibly being injured or killed.

Instead, the letter details the man’s worry that his son will be taken advantage of by the seasoned gamblers he would be serving with. The letter states that he is “very anxious” that his son will lose all of his money by the time he makes it back home. He goes on to say that “so many soldiers” partake in gambling on the Western Front.

While analysing the letter, the Telegraph newspaper explained how the young men coming into the trenches had limited life experiences. Such people could easily be taken advantage of by more unscrupulous individuals. For this reason, it is no wonder that having a son lose all their money was a common concern for parents. This letter is just one example of how a culture of gambling affected people during the First World War.


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