An A–Z look at the history and impacts of gambling, including related legal, legislative, economic, and social issues.
Is gambling good for the economy—or does it take from those who can least afford it? Are games of chance just harmless fun—or a slippery slope to obsession, vice, and poverty? This up to date volume examines the colorful and clouded history of one of the country's fastest growing and most controversial industries.
Whether they're called "gaming" by the industry's supporters or "gambling" by its opponents, games of chance have always exerted a powerful pull. Every human society has indulged in some form of gambling and, ironically, has also tried to prohibit or limit it. In this comprehensive, objective look at gambling—its people, places, and events; its laws and policies; its games and equipment—scholar William N. Thompson traces the roots of gambling from ancient history.
The lottery games played in ancient Rome eventually traveled with settlers to the New World, where the Jamestown colonists enjoyed them. Casinos, too, existed during the Roman Empire, were reestablished during the Renaissance, and centuries later, flourished aboard Mississippi riverboats. The pervasiveness of gambling suggests that it serves some basic function for human societies, Thompson argues. Yet it can become a pathology for certain individuals and attract loan sharks, prostitutes, drug dealers, and organized crime.
• More than 250 entries on every aspect of gambling in the United States
• A chronology of significant events in the history of gambling from prehistory to the present day
• The full text of 11 of the author's published articles on gambling
• Reviews of more than 60 books in an extensive and thoroughly annotated bibliography
• Hundreds of informative entries, covering such topics as the development of the Las Vegas Strip and the international scope of gambling
• Includes biographies of Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, Jimmy Hoffa, Arnold Rothstein, Stephen Wynn, and Donald Trump