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National Museum of Australia

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Betting board

Object information

Physical description

Betting board. Wooden frame hinged at base, 40 red and blue dowel knobs attached to left side. 9 white hand-written cards in wooden slots on single side, right. Printed on cards in descending order: "MELBOURNE / ARCHER / PHAR LAP / COMIC COURT / RIMFIRE / WILD WEST / MAKE FUN / LONRHO / DOBBIN."

Statement of significance

The Jim McMahon Collection consists of a horseracing bookmaker's betting board, a greyhound racing bookmaker's betting board, bookmaker's betting tickets, ticket holders, personalised bookmaker's bag marked 'Jim McMahon Canberra', betting board stands and four carrying cases. These items were used by Jim McMahon in Canberra and the Southern Districts region from 1983 until 1994.

Horseracing has played an integral role in Australian sporting, social and economic history. Bookmakers were once a vital and colourful presence on the racetrack and betting on the horses, through a bookie, was the first legal form of gambling in Australia. Developments in computerised betting technology and an increase in the available choices of other gambling attractions has seen the number of bookmakers steadily decline. The bookmaker's profession is fast becoming redundant and their equipment obsolete.

Object information

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