21 January 1720   Last Monday night, Mr. Lloyd, the High Constable of Westminhster, assisted by a detachment of the Foot Guards, went to a gaming house in the Hay-market; and after a scuffle, in which some swords and blood was drawn, carried off about a dozen of the practitionhers, who were committed to prison. (London Journal)

15-22 October 1720   Last Saturday the Bench of Justices at Hicks's-Hall, read the Act of the 9th of the late Queen, for preventing excessive and exorbitant gaming, and came to a resolution to take effectual measures for suppressing that pernicious practice; and, as 'tis said, they agreed to move the Parliament to get a clause to make forcible entries into gaming houses. (London Journal)

24 February 1722   On Monday last one Richard Jones, commonly call’d the Captain of the Sweetners or Guinea Droppers, was committed to the Gatehouse, Westminster by Nathaniel Blackerby, Esq; for cheating and defrauding several of his Majesty’s subjects of their money, at a play call’d Cups and Balls, in Chelsea Fields and other out parts of the town. (Daily Post)

Tuesday 11 August 1724   Yesterday the Sessions of the Peace for this City began at Guild-Hall: One Rose Marks, a widow, was convicted for keping a disorderly house in St James's, Duke's-Place; entertaining of Jews at unseasonable hours at cards and dice, the Lord's Day not excepted: But the Court, in consideration of her poverty, fined her 13s. 4d. only, and obliged her to give 200l. security for her good behaviour for a twelve-month, and to pay the Prosecutor's costs in Court. (The Daily Journal)

5 February 1726   Yesterday 7-night several Constables, with proper Assistants, having the Lord Mayor’s Warrant to apprehend the Master of the Goat and Buffler Tavern in Fleet-street, for keeping a common gaming house there, and also to take up the gamesters resorting to it, the Constables no sooner approach’d, but one of the servants of the house gave the gamesters notices; whereupon, being conscious of their guilt, they made their escape through a Gentleman’s chambers into Clifford’s Inn, leaving their cloaks, hats, swords, and canes, behind them; but upon diligent search the Constables found one of the gamesters and one of the waiters, together with the man of the house, who were taken into custody, carry’d before the Lord Mayor, and dealt with according to law. [Weekly Journal, or The British Gazetteer ]

Saturday, 8 March 1729   On Friday, last week, 15 common gamesters were apprehended at the Coach and Horses in Old Palace Yard, where footmen usually play at dice; and 10 of them were committed to Tothill-Fields Bridewell, and 5 to the Gate-house. (London Journal)

29 March 1729   On Monday night a notorious gaming house in the Hay-Market, called the Phoenix, was searched by virtue of a warrant under the hands and seals of Sir John Gonson, the Chairman of the Sessions of the Peace for the City and Liberty of Westminster, and several others of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace, and there was apprehended at the said gaming house 20 gamesters; who being on Tuesday morning examined before the said Sir John Gonson, Justice Cowper, Justice Beaver, and Justice Mercer, at Covent-Garden Vestry, nine of the said gamesters were bound in recognizances of 20l. a-piece penalty, to play no more; 5 were committed to the Gate-house, and 6 to Tothill Fields Bridewell to beat hemp, amongst which were one Charles Rogers, alias Shock, the door-keeper, and one Allen, alias Pipes, a noted prize fighter. (London Journal)

19 March 1730   Saturday, March 14. On Thursday night, the Spread Eagle Chocolate-house in Bridges-street, Covent-garden, (where a common gaming table has been kept for some time past) was searched, by virtue of a warrant under the hands and seals of Sir John Gonson, Chairman of the Quarter-Sessions of the City, &c. of Westminster, William Cooper, Esq; Chairman of the Sessions for Middlesex, and six other Justices of the Peace: and several gamesters were apprehended at the said gaming-house, particularly two noted Jews, who live in the City; and being carried before those worthy Magistrates, some of them were bound over to the Sessions, and others in recognizances, with sufficient sureties, to play no more during life, pursuant to the Statute of 33 Hen. VIII. cap. 9. and a clause in an Act passed last Sessions of Parliament. A woman who opposed the Constables, and assisted some of the gamesters to make their escapes, was also bound over to the next Sessions. [Grub-street Journal]



7 January 1731   Last Wednesday night the High Constable of Holbourn Division, &c. went to search a notorious gaming-house behind Gray’s-Inn Walks, by virtue of a warrant under the hands of the Lord Delewar, Sir John Gonson, &c. but the gamesters having some previous account, all fled. The master of the house they apprehended, and the Justices bound him in a 200l penalty, not to permit any unlawful games in his house for the future.

   A List of the Officers established in the most notorious gaming houses.
   1. A Commissioner, always a Proprietor, who looks in of a night; and the week’s account is audited by him and 2 other Proprietors. — 2. A Director, who superintends the room. — 3. An Operator, who deals the cards at a cheating game called Faroe. — Two Crowpees, who watch the cards, and gather the money for the bank. — 5. Two Puffs, who have money given them to decoy others to play. — 6. A Clerk, who is a check upon the Puffs, to see that they sink none of the money given them to play with. — 7. A squib is a Puff of a lower rank, who serves at half salary, while he is learning to deal. — 8. A Flasher, to swear how often the bank has been stript. — 9. A Dunner, who goes about to recover money lost at play. — 10. A Waiter, to fill out wine, snuff candles, and attend the gaming room. — 11. An Attorney, a Newgate Solicitor. — 12. A Captain, who is to fight any Gentleman that is peevish for losing his money. — 13. An Usher, who lights Gentlemen up and down stairs, and gives the word to the Porter. — 14. A Porter, who is generally a Soldier of the Foot guards. — 15. An Orderly Man, who walks up and down the outside of the door, to give notice to the Porter, and alarm the house at the aproach of the Constables. — 16. A Runner, who is to get intelligence of the Justices meetings. — 17. Link-boys, Coachmen, Chairmen, Drawers, or others, who bring intelligence of the Justices meetings, or of the Constables being out, at half a guinea reward. — 18. Common Bail Affidavit Men, Ruffians, Bravoes, Assassins, cum multis allus. [Grub-street Journal]

21 January 1731   The same night a notorious gaming-house, called the New Phenix, in the Hay-market, was searched by virtue of a Warrant under the hands of Sir John Gonson, &c. Several of the gamesters made their escape over the tops of houses; but 9 were taken. One, a Horse Grenadier, was bound in 200l. penalty, to play no more at unlawful games; and 3 were committed to Tothill-fields Bridewell to hard labour. [Grub-street Journal]

18 February 1731   The gamesters at the Phœnix in the Hay-market, having removed their gaming table to a ground room backwards, the passage to which is through the cellar of another house, and being secured with treble doors, and 2 centinels, or orderly men, constantly walking about the door, though themselves pretty secure: but a fresh information having been given, that the said game-house is frequented by several highwaymen, street-robbers, &c. a new Warrant to search was granted under the hands and seals of 14 Justices; and a great number of Constables, &c. went on Friday night to execute it: they were a long time vigorously opposed by the gamesters, who assaulted them with red-hot pokers and spits; but at last they entered the gaming-room, and took 7 of them. Will. Ambrose, the box-keeper, was committed to Newgate for want of sureties to play no more at unlawful games, and for assaulting the Constables with a red-hot poker; Sam Smith was committed to the Gate-house, being a common gamester; Edw. Mortimer and Michael Picket, the one a gentleman’s servant, the other a stay-maker, were committed to Tothil-fields Bridewell to hard labour; Wilson, a lawyer’s clerk, was bound to his good behaviour; a cooper in the Minories, thought not to be an old offender, was discharged; as was a Soldier of the Guards, who was a door-keeper, upon giving information against several common gamesters. Four or 5 escaped through a hole which they broke into the wall of the adjoining house. [Grub-street Journal]

30 June 1739   The following clauses are in the Act to prevent deceitful and unlawful gaming.
         The person that keeps a house or other place to game in, incurs the penalty of 200 l., half to the prosecutor, and half to the poor of the parish, except in the City of Bath, where the half of the fine goes to the poor in the hospital.
         Lotteries, sales shares in houses to be determin’d by lottery, raffle, &c. are under this Act, the lands houses, &c. forfeited.
         All persons gaming in the places abovesaid, or adventurers in lotteries, on conviction forfeit 50 l.
         The games forbid by the Act as unlawful to be play’d are, Ace of Hearts, Pharoah, Basset, Hazard; except in his Majesty’s palaces.
         Justices of the Peace refusing to act and convict persons on this Act, forfeit 10 l. (The Country Journal: or, The Craftsman)

(Texts have been modernized with regard to capitalization, italicization, and punctuation, but original spelling has been retained. This edition copyright Rictor Norton. All rights reserved. Reproduction for sale or profit prohibited. These extracts may not be archived, republished or redistributed without the permission of the compiler.)

CITATION: Rictor Norton, Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports: A Sourcebook, "Gambling", 31 July 2004, updated 31 March 2007 <>

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