Unique Exciting and Accessible, Victoria’s Bookmakers – the Life of Racing
Let us introduce ourselves
Since Australian horse racing began, Bookmakers have been an integral part of its rich and colourful history.
They were there when Archer won the first of his Melbourne Cups in 1861 and are now a unique feature at all race meetings, adding tradition and passion to this already exciting sport. Australia is one of only a few countries in the world fortunate enough to have both the traditional Bookmaker and T.A.B. facilities on-course.
In days gone by, with low stake money, connections of horses sought to gain profit from betting which led to spirited and massive exchanges between Bookmakers and punters, off-course Bookmakers, though then illegal in Australia, also thrived in the early days.
Bookmaking probably reached its zenith in the 1920’s and 1930’s when fielders such as Sol Green and Mannie Lyons did battle with owner/punter Eric Connolly and others.
Until 1931 betting on-course with a Bookmaker was the only legal form of gambling in the State. In that year a very small on-course tote was introduced to give the on-course punter an alternative.
Despite this, Bookmaking continued to grow and by 1954 the number of Bookmakers peaked at 1500. The number of Bookmakers in the State is now around 169.