by Rit Nosotro
(A Brief History of Gambling in the USA)
Change Over Time essay
How have gambling games such as poker and roulette become such an enormous industry?
Wager addictions are old. Casting lots and playing bone games have moved to online gambling. What does an online casino, an off shore casino, party poker, video poker, vegas slot machines and roulette wheels all have in common? They appeal to those who fantasize that a wager or bet will finally pay out loads of money. Betting tournaments are big business because they are based on the base nature of greed and sloth. While today's gambling casinos are new in history, the desire that keeps customers returning has been going on since Adam fell. Can the eye is be satisfied with seeing, the ear satisfied with hearing, and the belly satisfied with food?
Gambling began in the United States in the 1600’s. The puritans who came to the United States during this time outlawed gambling completely in their colonies. They even outlawed cards, dice, and tables used for gambling purposes. Supposedly as time went on the Puritans became less strict and allowed gambling for recreational purposes only. The colonies that the English occupied did not see a problem with gambling. They looked at gambling as a proper gentleman’s activity. Many people though, began to blame the colonies economic problems on gambling. The English in England thought that the colonies could not support themselves because of gambling and its effects of the colonists.
Some of the early colonies held lotteries in order to raise their colony out of poverty. The Virginia Company of London, broker for the Jamestown colony in Virginia was permitted by the royal crown of England to have lotteries to raise money for their colonies ventures. These lotteries were rather sophisticated for the times, often involving an instant lottery system. These lotteries were shortly stopped because, again, many thought that they were robbing England of money. Soon after, the company that was so reliant on the gambling misfortunes of others, was nonexistent.
As the country continued to grow and expand so did gambling. As more and more people were settling the Wild West, gambling was following them as well. There was very much gambling on the Mississippi River. When farmers came to sell their goods and animals at markets near the Mississippi River, they often carried rather large sums of money and were the perfect target for the gambling industry. Also, many people often facilitated the riverboat system, which was somewhat newly emerging. Like the farmers, riverboat travelers often carried large sums of money on them and were good targets for the gaming industry. Many conclude that the people running these gambling ventures often cheated in order to make more larger sums of money.
Around 1830 or so, many southern people realized what the professional gamblers were all about, and the people had had enough. They blamed gambling for many of their economic problems and were trying to push the gambling industry out of the south. In 1835, the people of the south took action; five expert card cheaters were lynched. The people realized that this was an effective method of stopping gambling in the south. Rather soon after these lynchings began, the “professional gamblers” began taking their ventures onto riverboats, where they were safe from southern lynchings.
Another upsurge in the gambling industry was during the Gold Rush in California. The peak of the gambling in California was between 1849 and 1855, and during this time, San Francisco became the biggest gambling city in the United Sates, replacing Los Angeles. Between 1849 and 1855 the cost to set up a gambling business was extremely inflated. The cost to have a 15 ft by 25 ft gambling tent was $40,000 each year. In the western states, gambling was not only present in California. As people expanded so did the gambling, before long many western states were allowing and promoting gambling.
Soon laws were made to prohibit gambling in California. People saw the downsides of gambling and what it was doing to the economy, and they did not think gambling was the answer to their economic problems. Today gambling is legalized in about 80% of states in the United States. Some states don’t allow regular citizens to open a gambling facility, but they will allow a Native American. Other states allow a lottery system and bingo halls but not a casino.
Gambling provides evidence that greed and sloth rule human nature. Despite the odds, customers line up like sheep ready to be fleeced. Giving in to temptation only feeds the desire for more. Flashy advertising and words appeal to the lusts of the flesh and millions rush to financial ruin. Particularly when the path to gambling on line is as easy as clicking an advertisement.
1. In the 1600’s the puritans outlawed tables for gaming purposes, dice
A. Poker chips
B. Slot machines
D. Poker outfit
2. In order to recover from economic depression some of the colonies did what
according to this paper?
A. Sold slaves
B. Held lotteries
C. Robbed the Indians
3. Around 1830 or so, the southern people did what in order to get gamblers
out of the south?
A. Shot them
B. Asked them nicely to leave
C. They didn’t attempt to drive gamblers out of the south
D. Lynched them
4. Between 1849 and 1855 the cost of a gambling tent 15ft by 25 ft was:
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