Both men and women were drawn in by Lady Luck’s tests of chance even though there were differences in regards to their typical approaches to gambling. Men, in general, bet on a wider range of activities including cards, dice, sporting events (e.g., boxing and races), etcetera. Really, though, the true gamblers, would bet on almost anything. Women, however, particularly women of higher social standing, tended to keep their gambling more focused on cards, and also tended to keep their stakes lower.
In 1926 the growing habit of playing bridge for money was spreading through the smaller communities, and Carleton Place was no different. Some of the bridge clubs, especially one on Lake Ave East, was whispered as having genuine gambling contests. The Herald remarked that in our small town the ladies are genuinely playing for hard-earned money. Prizes were being bought with the proceeds of an assessment on each member at each meeting.
“We suppose the bridge crazy feminine species has to do with the fact that she now refuses to bake, iron, and even sweep in her own home,” said The Herald. The paper also placed blame on the husbands of the time. They said when the ladies began their little euchre clubs in years gone by—the men just smiled and said,
“Of course its all right–you girls ought to play a little”.
Unfortunately, when a monetary consideration was injected into the game the motive of the action changed. The women were now accused of jeopardizing the support of their families, hope for the future, and obligations to their communities. Woman were told that a half dollar and an afternoon spent at the church thimble bee was more of a benefit to the community of Carleton Place, than an afternoon spent playing bridge for a prize in which they might half a dollar invested.
Nov 11 1926