Sweep-stake Money

Has sudden wealth brought happiness or woe to sweepstake winners? These cases speak for themselves

R. E. KNOWLES July 15 1935

Sweep-stake Money

Has sudden wealth brought happiness or woe to sweepstake winners? These cases speak for themselves

R. E. KNOWLES July 15 1935

Sweep-stake Money

Has sudden wealth brought happiness or woe to sweepstake winners? These cases speak for themselves


MORE THAN fifty million dollars changes hands each year in the world-wide whirligig of wealth that results from the Irish hospitals’ sweepstakes on the classics of the English turf.

More than fifty million dollars is collected annually from nearly as many votaries of the Goddess of Chance, to be handed over, in due course, to the favored few of that capricious deity. Some of these favorites get more than $100,000, others get sums around $50,(XX), while many more find themselves richer by a few odd thousand.

What happens to all this wealth?

Some of it is saved; some is spent. Some of it is invested wisely and multiplied; some invested foolishly and lost. Some of it is used to do good; some is wasted in dissipation. In short, some of it brings varying degrees of happiness, and some of it brings varying degrees of disaster.

It has brought happiness, genuine and lasting, to Andrew Proudfoot and to Allan Perks, and has enabled them to bring the same sort of happiness to others. But it has brought acute misery to two sweepstake winners who must be nameless here and to those dear to them, for it set in motion a sequence of events that led to catastrophe.

Andrew Proudfoot is in his late twenties and is employed by an electrical firm in Welland, Ont. He paid $2.50 for a ticket in the Irish hospitals’ sweep on the Derby in 1933, got King Salmon in the draw, and won $70,000 when that horse came in second. Shunning publicity and dodging a small army of salesmen and cadgers, Mr. Proudfoot built a house for his mother in Hamilton and one for his sister there as well. He allowed himself two extravagances—a flying visit to New York city and a cheap motor car—and then invested the balance of his winnings in the firm for which he works. Today he is the same hard-w'orking, unassuming young single man he was before the queer workings of Lady Luck made him rich. Baseball and hockey teams in his town find him a ready promoter, and he frequently provides banquets for local sporting clubs.

Back in 1932, Allan Perks was a twenty-five-year-old clerk in a Toronto office, but his heart was not in clerking. He longed to own and operate an up-to-date poultry farm. Today, that is exactly what he is doing. More as a joke than anything else, he bought a ticket in the 1932 Derby sweep and drew' Miracle. It ran third, w-inning $42,000 for him. His first act was to see that his parents were looked after for life and to provide for the education of his younger brothers and sisters. Then he took a course in poultry farming, later buying a hundred acres near Pickering, Ont., where he lives today, his ambitions completely fulfilled.

Luck That Led to Crime

BUT TAKE a look at the other side of the picture. Eight years ago Mr. X won a paltry $600; today he is serving a prison term. Winning the $600 struck him as such an easy w'ay of making money that he decided to get more of it that way and began to back horses every day—for larger and larger amounts. Soon the $600 w'as gone and, holding a trusted position with a large lumber company, he began to “borrow” his employers’ money. More and more he “borrow'ed,” hoping each time to recoup himself through the races and pay it all back. It went on for eight years before he was discovered. Then he was arrested on a charge of stealing $45,000 and his conviction and sentence speedily followed.

Nearly as tragic is the case of Mr. Y. He won $3,000 in the 1930 Cambridgeshire sweep, left his job as a motor mechanic and opened up a garage of his own. Two years later the business failed and he found himself deeply in debt and without a job. For months he searched in vain for work while the thought of his unpaid debts plagued him, with the result that he began slowly to lose his reason. Finally he was committed to a mental hospital, where up to the time of writing he has remained.

The cases of Messrs. X and Y on the one hand, and those of Messrs. Proudfoot and Perks on the other, represent the two extremes. For the vast majority of sweepstake winners, the outcome is somewhere between the two.

Take the case of Joe Lewis. Joe is an immigrant from Austria and was working as a dishwasher in a Toronto hotel, when he drew Statesman in the Irish sweep on the 1932 Derby. Visions of forsaking for ever his dishes and collecting $150,000 if Statesman won, $90,000 if he was

second, $45,000 if he was third, or a mere $7,000 if he also ran, floated before Joe. Offers came in to buy his ticket, or a share in it, for a tidy sum, but he turned a deaf ear to them, trusting that his luck, which had been so good to date, would continue as good. He was right, for Statesman romped home third, landing a cool $45,000 in his lap.

He stayed at his dishwashing job—just as long as it took for the money to come from Ireland to Canada. Then he went on a mild spree, took a trip to Hamilton, bought himself a few clothes and things—not one-tenth of what a mob of salesmen tried to sell him— and sank the balance in Government bonds and an insurance annuity. Joe is now living on a nice income, only vaguely recalling that there are such things as sinks and dishcloths.

Few men have profited better by their winnings than has J. P. Ambrose, burly claims agent for one of the railways in Montreal. He won $75,621 from the Irish sweep when Denbigh ran second in the 1933 Cambridgeshire. He still has it. Each year it brings him $3,500, which he shares with his sister. Just after he won the money he had dozens of offers of marriage in the mail, besides having to stave off cranks and cadgers by the score. This proved so hectic that he received three weeks leave of absence, locked his apartment, told the post-office to forward no mail, and slipped away to parts unknown. After the three weeks he returned to his desk and has been there ever since, with the exception of his usual summer holidays.

A more comfortable apartment for his sister and himself, a few new clothes, new furniture and an up-to-date light car —these are the only outward signs that Mr. Ambrose was so fortunate. Otherwise he goes about his work, which brings him $160 to $180 monthly. He is about forty years of age.

He had repeatedly bought tickets on sweepstakes, and when luck finally struck him it did so in an odd way. A syndicate of employees was formed to buy a took of tickets, winnings if any to be shared equally. Enough money was raised for nine tickets—but there are ten in a book. So Mr. Ambrose bought the odd one. It was the winning one.

E. Barnes, Toronto, wras equally wise in disposing of his winnings. He collected $35,000 as a “residual prize” on the 1932 Cesarewich, and went straight to a bond house where he invested it all in gilt-edged securities. Mr. Barnes has passed away since then, but his widow now has a comfortable income, thanks to his foresight.

Shared Prize With Pals

THOMAS BAILEY, Toronto, won $3,600 two years ago when he drew Inverse, a starter in the Grand National; but not a penny of it is left, though he has been continuously in employment ever since. After he had bought the ticket he made a jocular remark to the six men who worked at the same bench with him that he was going to win a lot of money and would share it with them. When, to his great surprise, his prediction came true, he stuck to his word. The $3,400 was split seven ways. Mr. Bailey’s share didn’t go very far, as he has a family of five. “It’s gone,” he said the other day, “but we had our money’s worth out of it.”

Gone, too, is the $5,800 which.was showered into the lap of James Dunlop, Toronto, when he drew Son of Mint in the 1932 Cesarewich. Mr. Dunlop paid some debts, took a trip to England and lived on the balance during a period of unemployment. “The money’s all gone. We’re no better off now,” he says.

Going abroad, either to live permanently or just for a holiday, seems to be the most popular thing with sweepstake winners. George Forrest, Toronto, took his family back to his native Scottish heath when he won $2,802 in the 1933 Cambridgeshire. John McDermott, formerly of Toronto, having collected $3,650 after last year’s Grand National, gave up his job with the Hydro Commission and returned to the Emerald Isle, where he was born. There he set himself up in the grocery business and is prospering, according to latest accounts.

Their Polish homeland beckoned strongly to Mr. and Mrs. John Wisebrod when they were enriched by a tidy $30,000 through Windsor Lad winning the St. Leger in 1934. Eight years earlier they had come from Poland, with $12 between them, and settled at Orangeville, Ont., where they kept a dry goods store. They were the first people to win a substantial sum after the “informer” clause had been repealed from the Criminal Code and provision made for the Crown confiscating sweepstake winnings. Before that, one could always get a friend or relative to act as informer ahead of anyone else, and be assured of getting the cash. But now only the Crown can do this, so it was with great relief that Mr. and Mrs. Wisebrod read the announcement byAttorneyGeneral A. W. Roebuck that he did not intend to take any action. Off they went to Poland with a $30,000 draft tucked safely away.

To Jacob Hudacsko, Hungarian laborer at Montreal, the winning of $1,401 as a consolation prize in the 1933 Cambridgeshire meant a trip home, doctors’ bills for a new infant, and a little nest egg against a rainy day.

J. D. Butler dashed back to England with his wife as soon as he got his hands on the $72,412 that Blue Prince brought him by coming second in the Grand National this year. He was a $17-a-week employee of a Toronto tailoring firm

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when he spent $2.50, which he admitted he could ill afford, in buying his first sweepstake ticket. As soon as it became known that he had drawn a horse, a New York syndicate offered him $5,000 for a half share in it, but he refused it although he would only get $3,600 if his horse wasn’t among the first three. Blue Prince ran second. Then it was reported that Alan Miller, of Kitchener, Ont., had obtained an injunction in the Irish courts to stop the payment of the money, claiming that he owned a half share in it. However, it appears that nothing came of this, for Mr. Butler eventually got his winnings. He is now looking after his parents, who are not too well fixed, in England.

A. J. Coulter, who in 1933 was night watchman in a bank and lived in Toronto, received $2.800 for his ticket in the Cambridgeshire of that year and hied himself and family back to his native Ireland. Mr. Coulter bought his ticket, forgot about it, and then moved to another address, so that I when a cablegram was sent to inform him that he had drawn a horse it was undelivered. Then he chanced upon his name in the list of lucky ones in the daily paper and was so excited, he explained, that he couldn’t read it. His wife was in the same state, so they had to call in a neighbor to give them the details of their unexpected fortune. Mr. Coulter had been buying sweep tickets for years, but this was the first time that luck favored him.

When the Berengaña docked at New York

recently two passengers on board were Mr. and Mrs. Frank Cunningham, Toronto, returning from a month’s jaunt through Europe, after getting $144,000 because they drew Reynoldstown in the Irish sweep on this year’s Grand National and because Reynoldstown led the field home. It is rumored that Mr. Cunningham sold a half share in his ticket for $5,200 before the race and is therefore winner of a mere $77,200, but he refuses to confirm or deny these reports. He is equally reticent about what he intends to do with the money, but those who know him are convinced that it will be wisely invested. He works for an x-ray company and has given no indication that he intends to throw up his job.

Another sweepstake winner attracted by Europe is Mrs. Maurice E. Young, wife of a Toronto broker. She drew Orpen in the 1931 Derby, winning $72,750, and has been travelling in Europe ever since, coming home only at long intervals. She is said to have the money wisely invested and to be living on the interest.

Mrs. James B. Reid, Toronto, received $3,000 for drawing Ace Second in the 1933 Grand National, and left for a three and a half months visit to her sister in Ireland.

Stanley Clarke, a conductor of tours for a travel agency, won a like amount by holding Crackle in the same race, and has left for England where he has a new position. He concludes the list of those who crossed the ocean as a result of winning sweeps.

TN THE little village of Orland, not far

from Cobourg, Ont., Hugh Latimer, age twenty-four, is running his general store just as if nothing had happened. But something has happened, and Hugh is just $10,000 richer as a result.

It all started last January when a friend dropped into the store and showed Hugh a ticket he had bought in the Irish sweep on the Grand National. Hugh took a notion he’d like one, too. So he bought one. put it away and forgot about it. Then one day the phone rang. With pencil poised on pad, Hugh prepared to take the expected order. But it was the station agent, calling to say he had a cablegram from Dublin for him to the effect that he had drawn a starter, Royal Ransom. Hugh Latimer replied with the time-worn “Oh yeah?” But the agent talked so earnestly that it dawned on him that he was serious.

Hugh did a lot of hard thinking. Even if Royal Ransom ran like a snail he would get about $3,500, and if Royal Ransom won— perhaps fifty times that. Eventually he decided to take $10,000 for the full rights to his ticket. The horse was an also ran, so Hugh patted himself on the back as he thought of his $10,000 safely invested. Meanwhile, he is working in his store as usual. To scores of high-pressure salesmen he has turned a deaf ear, and even marriage hasn’t entered into his scheme of things.

But marriage was what followed when E. H. Dunning, clerk in the Toronto city treasurer’s department, won $3,000 for drawing Golden Miller in the Grand National of 1933. Golden Miller was the favorite, so Mr. Dunning turned down an offer of $6,000 for a half share in his ticket. He thought he stood too good a chance of winning something like $140,000. When the race was being run he stood beside the teletype machine in a newspaper office, watching eagerly as it spelled out a detailed account. “Golden Miller leading by three lengths every chance to win . . . Golden Miller falls . . . out of race.” With it fell Mr. Dunning’s hopes.

In subsequent races that season Golden Miller outran the horses that had beaten him in the Grand National. And he won that race the following year in record time.

However, Mr. Dunning collected his $3,000, left the Y.M.C.A. where he had been living, got married, and moved into a pretty suburban home, which his winnings almost paid for.

Somewhat similar is the experience of Frederic Stanger, Toronto, credit manager for a coal company and well-known vocalist. He held a ticket on Chatelaine, second favorite in the Cambridgeshire, and though

he heard that a half share in it could be sold

for $14,000. he kept it for himself, hoping to get the grand prize. But Chatelaine was scratched; Mr. Dunning ’s winnings amounted to $2,802. He increased this to $3.033 by selling futures in pounds sterling a month ahead—the period he had to wait before the money reached Canada. He used it to pay off the mortgage on his home. He still buys tickets on every major race—and still hopes.

Other winners of recent years are:

J. Hirsch, Toronto, who won $3,400 for holding Libourg in the 1934 Grand National. He has the money safely salted away.

Joseph Napoleon Tetrault, Montreal tavern waiter, won $34,572 in the 1932 Cesarewich. At the time he said it was his intention to invest the money in a tavern, but he cannot be located in Montreal today.

J. Mitchell, Toronto, who got $3,400 for holding x-Society in the 1934 Grand National, has spent most of it but still has a little of it left in the bank, he says.

A family by the name of Dowd, in Welland. Ont., won $2,000 a few years ago, bought a car, lived a high life for a while : and haven’t a cent of their prize today.

Mrs. F. R. Kimpton, Toronto, won $3,000 two years ago and “didn’t spend it on anything special.” she says.

C. Wesley Webb, Toronto, collected $3,650 for holding Vinocole in the Grand National of 1932. It was spent in renovating his house and for current expenses.

Alex. Scott, Toronto, held a lucky ticket in 1933 that brought him $5,000. Since then, Mr. Scott has been unemployed for a time and found his winnings “very useful.”

W. A. Tuck, Brantford, Ont., got $2,070 for holding Maréchal in last year’s Derby. He put the money in the bank.

Thomas Speight, Welland, Ont., got $3,000 for selling the winning ticket to Andrew Proudfoot in the 1933 Derby, and used the money to pay off the mortgage on his home.

Frank Welsh, Toronto, won $2,000 three years ago, dashed off to London and spent it all in two months. Five hundred dollars of it was invested in more sweep tickets, but not one of them proved lucky.

Mrs. John Austin, Windsor, Ont., held a ticket on Badrunnin in last year’s Derby. After selling a half share in it she found herself $4,500 to the good. The money was invested.

Misfortune has been the only lot of Harry Breakell, Oshawa, since he won $21.000 in the Cambridgeshire sweep three years ago. Mr. Breakell adamantly declines to state how and why this misfortune came to him, but he is emphatic in stating that it did come.