Gambling is a serious business. People have been betting for more than four millennia, entrusting their money to Sorț’s whims. As you know, nowadays you can bet on almost anything – casino games, sports matches, online tournaments and even who will be the next pope. However, there is one thing in common between all games of chance – you must believe that you have a chance for victory. But what if … you didn’t actually do it? How would you feel if the game was ready, its outcome would be decided from the beginning? This is one of the biggest sins of gambling and tends to leave people rather upset. Let us walk you through some of the great gambling scandals that have amazed the public and left their mark on history.
The Royal Baccarat scandal
In the 1890s, London’s high society was left outraged by a lawsuit involving the heir, Prince Edward – who would later become King Edward VII. One of the Prince’s relatives, the decorated war hero Sir William Gordon-Cumming, had been accused of deception and filed a response for slander. The prince himself had to attend as a witness, the first such occasion in 1411. People literally bought tickets to see the historic event, and the Royal Court of Justice felt like a theater. With the media in full swing, it seemed like the whole of England was watching. And all this – over a game of baccarat.
A year earlier, Sir William had joined his friend the Prince at a social gathering in Tranby Croft, home of a great maritime magnate Arthur Wilson and his family. After two nights of baccarat, he had won a significant amount, but several players confronted him directly about the bending of the rules. It seemed that the skilled soldier had added chips to the stake after the cards were revealed , thus making his gains higher.
Naturally, he vehemently denied the allegations, but eventually had to commit to never playing cards again to avoid public outrage. In high society, your reputation can make or break you – and deception in any way was a grave sin . Of course, when rumors about the “Tranby Croft affair” were spread in public, Sir William took to court to defend his honor. After a very controversial case worthy of a Game of Thrones episode, he failed. Publicly stripped, he was fired from military service and ended up ostracized by London society – although his wealthy American fiancé was blocked by him, so not all of them were bad.
What was really outrageous at the time was that the game had been suggested and organized by Prince Edward himself . Baccarat may be one of the most popular casino tables today, but it was frowned upon in Victorian England. It was considered a gamble rather than a skill and even worse – there were rumors that it was popular in France. Baccarat had been banned when played with money, but this did not stop it from becoming the favorite hobby of many nobles, including the prince. The general public was shocked by the vision of the elite and it will be some time before Prince Edward restores his reputation. At least – he had to go from baccarat to whistle.