Oldest Bookie in the world

Local Doug Carrol, operating for 70 years, is the oldest bookie in the world. PICTURE: EVE-LYN KENNEDY

At 95 Doug Carrol is the oldest bookie in the world.

He has been a bookie since he first got his licence in 1952.

Betting started with his dad, who would give him some money to go lay the bets on at the pub.

He made friends with the local bookie’s lookout called a nit keeper or a sprinter in Broken Hill.

A nit keeper sat outside the pubs keeping an eye out for the police and if they were spotted, he had to run into the pub and tell the SP bookie that they were coming.

Doug Carrol became a nit keeper at twelve.

The SP bookie was an illegal Starting Price Bookmaker.

He also started betting at 12 with another sprinter who was older and put the bets on for him.

Doug is now the only bookmaker at the Saturday nights Harness Racing in Broken Hill.

This year he will be the only local bookie at St Pats, with another six taking bets for St Patties Races and one or two bookies for interstate races.

He remembers starting with 25 bookies at St Pat’s and at one point, it rose to 49 working at the track.

He is the only local bookie left.

These days he has one person on a computer and a bagman to help with the bookmaking.

In the old days managing the money and making sure you still had enough in the bag was all done in your head.

The bookmakers gave a note with the punters bet on it written out by hand by the bookie.

“It got so busy one day this bloke came back to me with a handwritten ticket and said I can’t read this, did I win?”

“I had to tell him ‘I don’t know. I wrote the ticket out so fast it was just a squiggle,” he laughed.

These days the bets are printed on the spot and it lets him know immediately how much has been bet and how much money is left in the kitty.

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