While officials of the tote believe England will eventually have a tote monopoly, the bookmakers probably would not be eliminated but operate as agents of the tote. Meanwhile, the Old Guard is standing pat. "There won't be a tote monopoly," says a Jockey Club senior steward, Major-General Sir Randle Feilden, "because our tradition says, 'I'd much rather defeat you as an individual than a machine.' That's just the way we are brought up."
The argument rages widely. Lord Wiloughby de Broke, president of the noted jump meeting at Cheltenham, declares, "I am not against Wigg, I am just against some of his ideas. But he is obviously right trying to get more money out of the bookmakers. In England we have 15,000 betting shops, compared to 4,000 tote shops in France. The turnover in England is three times what it is in France, and yet our receipts from racing are only one-sixth what they are in France. French prize money is four times what it is in England, and admission fees are a third of ours. Doesn't this show that our system of collecting money from betting makes no sense at all? One way would be to charge each betting shop so much per race per day, and you'd get millions more a year in no time at all."
So Wigg has convinced some Establishment members about some things. He remains, however, a politician of a party that they feel has no rightful place in racing. Many Jockey Club members resent the power he has been given, knowing he may use that power to do things contrary to their tradition.
Wigg has a mild retort for those who fault him. "Like others before me," he says, "I believe in respecting tradition. But I shall not be strangled by it."