Who was the first British woman licensed bookmaker?

HELEN VERNET 1876 – 1956

Helen Vernet was born into a middleclass family. As a child, she inherited several thousand pounds on the death of her father.

By the time she received her inheritance she had developed an interest in horse racing and gambling and she lost most of her wealth.

However, she was a frequent visitor to the races and continuing to enjoy a flutter, she started to take small bets from women of her acquaintance as it wasn’t regarded as the polite thing for women to do to be seen betting at a race course.

When her activities became noticed by the authorities she was given a warning as what she was doing was illegal.

She teamed up with Arthur Bendir who was running the Ladbrokes bookmaking firm and under his guidance she continued to take (legal) bets from an increasing number of wealthy ladies and their partners.

She was the first woman to be licensed to do this and she continued working as a bookmaker throughout her life.

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