Gambling on the Titanic


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Tami Smith

Guest
Could anyone tell me if there was gambling on the Titanic? thanks so much!
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
Hello Tracy, gambling was quite common on all the liners. Enough so that they attracted professional gamblers in numbers enough to present quite a problem for the lines to deal with. John Maxtone-Graham's "The Only Way To Cross" deals with this in some depth. Nailing down who these blokes were is something of a problem for the historian as these people were not anxious to draw a lot of attention to themselves for obvious reasons.

Then there was also the sort of gambling Dave alluded to. Unfortunately, the Titanic was the one to roll snake eyes.
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Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Dec 12, 1999
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Tami,
You should also check out Mike Herbold's article (shown on the main page) about "George A. Brereton: Mystery Man" --which is about one of the gamblers aboard Titanic.
 

Dave Hudson

Member
Apr 15, 2011
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Tami,
There were many profesional gamblers on board (most travelling under assumed names). In fact, The 1st Class Passenger List had a small insert in the front that warned:
SPECIAL NOTICE
The attention of the Managers has been called to
the fact that certain persons, believed to be Pro-
fesional Gamblers, are in the habit of traveling to
and fro in Atlantic Steamships.

In bringing this to the knowledge of Travelers, the
Managers, while not wishing in the slightest de-
gree to interfere with the freedom of action of Pa-
trons of the White Star Line, desire to invite their
assistance in dicouraging Games of Chance, as
being likely to afford these individuals special op-
portunities for taking unfair advantage of others.

All gambling was in the form of card games, usually played in the Smoking Room.
Hope this helps,
David.
 
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Tami Smith

Guest
Thanks so much to all of you. My 14 yr old is doing class research on the Titanic and I wasn't quite sure where to go for help. You have all helped immensely....thanks so much
 
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Emily Bisignano

Guest
I also think that White Star Line was making a huge gamble with the Titanic. Yes-people did gamble as much, if no more, than people today. People played cards in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class Smoking Rooms. Anybody up for a game of Poker, maybe Blackjack? :)
 
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Chris Gregory

Guest
Modern cruise ships and larger ferry boats now have casinos . Obviously casinos were there in America and France at the time but did any ships have them on board at that time?
 
Oct 31, 2008
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Cards on Sunday

I was just wondering why the White Star Line did not permit card playing on Sundays? Was it because of religious reasons or did they have other reasons behind it? I also would like to know if anyone knows why stewards were allowing card playing on the fateful Sunday?
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
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The White Star Line did not forbid gambling (except for its crew members). The only reference to this activity in the 1st Class passenger booklet is a warning about professional gamblers and a suggestion that to avoid risk passengers should refrain from 'games of chance'. Suggestions like this were made "without wishing in the slightest degree to interfere with the freedom of action of patrons". Some smoking rooms carried signs with the message: "Gentlemen are respectfully requested not to play for high stakes." These were cheerfully ignored. Certainly there were often complaints from non-gambling smokers that there was far too much card playing in the smoking room, the only place where smoking was allowed inside. But the Shipping Lines were reluctant to consider a ban, as card players consumed a lot of alcohol and that was very profitable for the Lines. The Captain of the Germanic had this to say on the subject: "Men who gamble drink; and largely, too. The profits derived from the sale of these wines and liquors during the traveling - or, I may say, the gambling - season are so great that it is not to the interest of the steamship companies to abolish gambling, or to interfere in any way with the comfort and enjoyment of a class of passengers who so materially add to their income."
 
Oct 31, 2008
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I believe I first heard of it through Titanic and Interactive made by Phillips CDI and I believe I have read it thought a couple of books. But I know there is a lot of books that publish things like third and second class passengers were allowed into the Sunday Service in the first class dinning room.

I could also be confused with my memory and the fact that I am thinking of is the steward kept the lounge or smoking room open longer than the normal closing time so that passengers could keep playing their card game. But I thought that the CDI documentary said that the White Star Line did not permit card playing at all on Sundays but it just could be a faulty memory on my part.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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Thank you!

It was not a "attack" against you. I know that it is stated in a few books and was wondering if you might have seen another source for it. I for my part have not find a primary source. And you are right about the Sunday Service and like this the card play it is taken over from one author/researcher by another without even looking for a source.
In Titanic's story there is much made up or general opinion which has been presented over the years as a fact even there is 0 evidence for it or the source of the claim is unknown or made up in later years.
 
Oct 31, 2008
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That is good to know. It is one of those things I have always remembered growing u p about the Titanic and was curious if there was any truth to it or if it was true the reason behind it. I did not feel that you were attacking me. I just felt like to that my memory could be playing tricks on me and I was confused with something else.
 
Oct 31, 2008
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Loannis I was happening to be listening to an audio book of A Night to Remember by Walter Lord and in chapter two it states that card playing was not permitted on Sundays. That is the only one for sure that I came up with.
 

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