Archive for the “D” Category

Encyclopedia: Gambling in America – Letter D

Dominican Republic - Gambling in AmericaThe Dominican Republic shares the Greater Antilles island of Hispaniola with Haiti, with which it has shared many attributes, especially an impoverished condition. In the early 1800s, the country was ruled in succession by French, Spanish, and Haitian military forces. When not ruled by foreign forces, the Dominican Republic has suffered at the hands of indigenous dictatorial rule as well as having been dominated by commercial interests of the United States, aided by the U.S. military. During the rule of strongman Raphael Trujillo (1930–1961), foreign casino interests established properties that were essentially governed by the dictator, largely for his benefit as well as that of the owners. The years from 1961 to 1966 were turbulent and unstable. In 1965 U.S. troops invaded as a measure to preserve order and preclude intervention by Cuba. The troops left in 1966, and the stage was set for the installation of a democratic government. Democracy has survived over the remaining years of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century.
The legislature of the Dominican Republic formalized a set of rules for casino operations in a law that was passed in 1968. Under the 1968 law, the casinos must be in top-rated tourist hotels that have 200 rooms. Exceptions were made for two casinos in smaller hotels that had been operating before 1968. All licensed hotels since the law was passed are in larger hotels that market their rooms to foreign tourists.

The Jaragua Casino of Santo Domingo

The Jaragua Casino of Santo Domingo features major Las Vegas style shows.

The 1968 act outlawed slot machines. Slot machines had operated in casinos before that time; however, the government felt that the machines appealed too much to poorer local residents, who did not have the resources to meet minimum play requirements of the table games. The machines were permitted to come into the casinos with a new law passed in 1988; however, the government imposed a higher tax on machine wins than on other wins. The government wished to encourage the casinos to have only higher-denomination machines (one dollar per play or more) rather than nickel and dime machines that would appeal to the poorer people. In contrast, poorer people can purchase passive lottery tickets each week in order to satisfy their gaming urges. Besides that, the lottery directs its profits to programs for the poor and also employs many poor people to sell the tickets.
The casinos have two sets of books, one for play in U.S. currency and the other for play in Dominican currency. There is no currency exchange. There are two sets of chips – U.S. and Dominican. There are also specifically designated chips for credit play. This provision for special chips enables the casino to ensure that loans are repaid at the time a winning player would be “cashing-in”. The casinos follow two methods of taxation. For casino wins in Dominican currency, the casinos pay a tax of 20 percent on the gross win. For players using chips valued in U.S. dollars, the tax is paid when the chips are purchased. It is a 2 percent drop tax; that is, for each $100 of chips purchased, the casino pays $2 in tax. There is no win tax. The casinos are reluctant to offer credit to players, especially local players. They had a history of players refusing to pay back the casino owners who, for the most part, are foreigners – usually Americans (see Honduras for a discussion of the same problem). Locals have considered it an affront to be challenged in court by “rich foreigners” for repayment of money they have “already returned” to the casinos via their losing play. Therefore, the casinos contract with local residents who will “guarantee” repayment of the loans. If the player loses and does not repay the loan in a rapid fashion, the casino asks the guarantor to collect the loan. The guarantor then pays 70 percent of the loan and is given the right to collect the entire loan and to keep the 30 percent differential as a commission. The guarantor is also empowered to take the loan obligation to court, where he is well acquainted with the judicial personnel and is not subject to antiforeign accusations.
There are several premium casinos in Santo Domingo, the capital city – a city that was settled by Bartholemew Columbus, the brother of the explorer. The leading casino is the Jaragua, which is owned by Americans. It features a Las Vegas–style floorshow and a set of fountains that was designed by the architect who designed the fountains at Caesars Palace. Koreans own the next leading property, which is located at the Embajador Hotel. Most of the dealers in these facilities are citizens of the United States, and many have had experience in Las Vegas casinos. There is no restriction on such foreign labor. Other major casinos are in the Sheraton, Concorde, Lina, and Centanario hotels.  Altogether, there are a dozen hotels in the Santo Domingo area.
Santo Domingo is a historical city that should appeal to a tourist with a craving for evidence of the founding of the oldest European-settled city in the hemisphere (1496) and a desire to see buildings still standing at the oldest university in the hemisphere (founded in 1538). Most casino-oriented tourists, however, like things such as beaches and room amenities. Santo Domingo falls short. It has no sandy beaches, and its electrical supply is challenged. Every day the power in the hotel—casino and rooms—goes out for some time. The casino keeps essential functions going with backup facilities; however, tourist facilities such as Jacuzzis, television, restaurant areas, and telephones temporarily go down. For tourism, however, the Dominican Republic is fortunate to have another location with ample power and with top-class natural beaches – the north island shore called Puerto Plata. Its golden beach extends for nearly sixty miles. Several new casino hotels have been constructed in Puerto Plata within the last decade, the leading one being a Jack Tar facility with 300 rooms and a 40,000-square-foot casino area.
The Dominican Republic competes with Puerto Rico for casino players – each has its advantages and disadvantages. In Puerto Rico, English must be spoken at the casinos, whereas it is not mandated in the Dominican Republic. Puerto Rico has superior airline service, whereas the Dominican Republic has limited direct flights to the United States. On the other hand, labor costs are much lower in the Dominican Republic, which translates into lower hotel costs for tourists—and lower costs for casinos that are offering free rooms to players. The other advantage of gaming in the Dominican Republic is shared with other Caribbean venues: No reports are given to the Internal Revenue Service of the United States regarding players activities – how much they wager and how much they win.
The Dominican Republic was one of the first offshore jurisdictions to enter the market for sports bettors.  They now offer bets through telephone service as well as over the Internet.

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Dog Racing - Gambling in AmericaDog racing began in the United States in 1919 with the opening of a greyhound track in Emeryville, California. Although gambling on dog races is permissible under the law in eighteen states, today there are tracks in only fifteen states. Since 1919, there have been tracks in over forty states at one time or another, although in most cases betting on races was not formally sanctioned by the law. Currently in the Western Hemisphere there are also tracks in the U.S. dependency of Guam, in Mexico (two states), and in Panama. Previously there were tracks in Puerto Rico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Barbados, and Montreal, Canada. The forty-nine operating tracks in the United States employ 30,000 people and generate approximately 13 percent of the pari-mutuel betting in the United States. In 1998, the tracks won $494 million (including offtrack and intertrack wagering, and after prizes given to players). Wagering totals have remained stable, increasing an average of 1 percent a year since 1982. All legal wagering at dog tracks today is through pari-mutuel betting systems. Systems operate both on track and through offtrack or intertrack parlors.
Today racing is confined essentially to one breed of dog, the greyhound. Evidence of the domesticated greyhound is found in Egyptian carvings that have been dated back to 2800 b.c. Early Greek civilizations probably named the dog Greekhound, and a corruption of that word yielded its present name. Others suggest that the dog has a grey tone in its face and on its head as it ages—almost a human-like quality. The Egyptians may have used the greyhound for hunting hares and gazelles, but the first recorded evidence of this activity came from the Roman era. The Romans also began the sport of “coursing.” Hares would be placed in a large field, and the dogs would be in contests to see which one could run the poor animal down the fastest. In England, coursing events were formalized. As early as 1576, meetings were held in which two greyhounds would race across a field to reach a trapped animal in a fixed spot. Dogs were bred for the events. A certain breed of greyhound resulted from a cross and recross with English bulldogs. A resulting dog named King Cob excelled, and today all the racing greyhounds worldwide can show lineage back to this one dog. In 1836, the Waterloo Cup competition began, and by 1858, a National Coursing Association was established in England to govern the events.
Coursing began in the United States with an event in Kansas in 1886. Animal rights activists stifled growth in the competition, however, as they protested the killing of jackrabbits that were used in the events. Their protests led dog enthusiasts to seek out alternative, nonanimal lures or bait. Owen Patrick Smith answered their call. He experimented with stuffed jackrabbits that he mounted on motorcycles. By 1920, he had received a patent for an artificial mechanical lure that he used in Salt Lake City. Finally he contrived a mechanical rabbit that could be run around a track in front of a pack of greyhounds. He put his device into use at the country’s first dog track, which he called the Blue Star Amusement in Emeryville, California, near the present-day Oakland Bay Bridge. Smith’s first venture was not successful, but he did better as he took the idea of greyhound track racing to other locations. In 1921, tracks opened in Tulsa, Oklahoma; East St. Louis, Illinois; and Hialeah, Florida. A track that opened in Chicago in 1922 proved to be successful. In 1925, there were seven tracks; by 1930, there were over sixty tracks in the United States. In 1926, Smith founded the International Greyhound Racing Association, which works with the American Kennel Club to register dogs and regulate racing. Owen Smith lived long enough to see his sport flourishing, but he died in 1927, before he could reap major profits from its success.
Coursing activity waned with the introduction of dog track racing; however, coursing is still found in the United States and elsewhere, but no live lures are used. Events are governed by the American Sighthound Field Association and the American Kennel Club.
Although dog racing was here to stay after the 1920s, in many places it did not stay long.  Of the tracks that opened before 1930, only four can be counted among the active tracks today. To be profitable, the tracks allowed bookies to come in and set up shop next to the racing areas. They gave a healthy fee to the track for the right to do business, but they also had to bribe the local sheriff in many places, as the betting was not legal. As political tides would turn, the sheriff would be persuaded to ban events. Opponents also seized upon opportunities to discredit the sport with revelations that mobsters, such as Al Capone, were involved in track operations. He reportedly owned an interest in the Hawthorne (dog) Race Track in Chicago. The political forces of opposition would sometimes be directed by horse track interests who did not enjoy the competition. A Miami track initiated the innovative use of night racing in order to placate the horsemen, and other dog tracks imitated the practice. Pari-mutuel racing was initiated with greyhound events in Montreal in 1928, and when Florida legalized the betting system for its horse tracks, the dog track owners sought and won legislative approval for pari-mutuel betting as well.
Dog tracks struggled through the Depression years and the early 1940s as the nation’s attention was consumed by economic and war matters. But racing survived. According to Thomas Walsh (1991, 8–9), in the early 1940s, a Massachusetts operator actually used monkeys as jockeys, mounting them on the greyhounds’ backs. He had his monkeys tour throughout the East as a serious effort to make the races more interesting. The experiment was novel and drew some spectator interest, but it proved not to be at all functional. Racing was closed down in the later war years but was revived after peace resumed, and in 1946, an American Greyhound Track Owners Association started operations. Today this organization joins with the National Greyhound Association in setting forth the rules for all races. The latter organization registers all dogs and maintains records. Dogs must be tattooed (on their ears), and breeding is regulated. Artificial insemination is permissible, whereas it is banned for horse breeding. A National Greyhound Hall of Fame opened in 1973 in Abilene, Kansas.
Dog races have the same kind of officials—secretaries, paddock judges, patrol judges, and so on – that are found at horse tracks. Ownership and training functions are also similar.  Of course there is no jockey, and exercise workers are not significant at the kennels. The structure of betting is very similar to that on horse racetracks. Newborn greyhounds are given about sixty days of general freedom before their training begins. Then they are tattooed, registered, and started in walking and running exercises. When the greyhound is fourteen months old, it is either sold to a racing kennel or placed there by the owner. Dogs start racing several months after training begins. Both male and female greyhounds run, but the males tend to have longer careers – up to five years. The dogs race from 5/16th mile to 7/16th mile. The dogs have a grading system that is used by racing secretaries to create well-matched races. Dogs will race every two to three days during the peak of their careers. Some stakes races have prizes running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars; however, as with horse racing, dog ownership is not a good business venture. It is an activity tied to excitement, and many owners are in the game to be in the game, not to reap financial rewards.
A severe problem facing the dog racing industry has been the discarding of dogs that do not win. They are generally not put to pasture, sold as pets, or put to stud; they are killed. Over 8,000 dogs were killed during one five-year period in the 1970s. In response to the issue, an organization called Retired Greyhounds as Pets (REGAP) was formed in 1982 by Ron Walsek, an employee at a racetrack, to facilitate the adoption of the animals. Today there are 100 groups associated with REGAP. They have brought about over 15,000 adoptions. The adoption costs are very low—less than fifty dollars. The animals are extremely gentle, well mannered, intelligent, and affectionate. Thousands of people are finding that they are wonderful pets around children and in the home.

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See Craps and Other Dice Games

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Gambling and Ethnicity

Players in the African American Community

African American players are not distinguishable by quality of play from most other players; however, particular cultural, historical, and situational factors may be related to certain gambling behavior in some circumstances. Minority people and persons of lower income who live together in poorer communities have often been targeted by gambling entrepreneurs as being good potential players. Government lotteries have been faulted for directing marketing campaigns at minority communities with advertisements suggesting that gambling is “the way out” of the ghetto. Also, as states such as Illinois purposely located casino facilities in communities needing economic development, they caused casinos to be very near minority people. Such being the case, African Americans and others living close to the casinos had a much higher level of participation in gambling than did other people.
Historically, the African American community, especially in urban settings, has embraced the numbers game. The games, which were first operated by members of the community (and later taken over by white organized crime groups), served many functions for the community. First, the numbers game provided employment for residents. Local people were given jobs as salespersons and numbers runners. They managed groups of runners, and they were also the entrepreneurs, or owners, of the games.
Second, the numbers game was functional in that it provided a mechanism for capital accumulation in the community. Historically (and even today), financial institutions such as banks redlined urban minority communities and refused to make loans to residents or businesses in the designated districts. In turn, the members of the minority community would not patronize the banks – to do so would involve the inconvenience of traveling some distance and meeting with persons who discriminated against them. The numbers entrepreneurs took moneys from their profits and made investments in the local area and also made loans to local businesspeople, a practice that stimulated business activity. They were absentee owners who extracted money from the poor communities—as the later Mafioso game owners did. The entrepreneurs also provided many charity gifts at a time before there was a well-developed welfare system in place.
Third, the numbers game provided a savings function for persons who did not have bank accounts. Each week—or day—they would “invest” a small amount, maybe just a dime or a dollar, on a number. They acted much like a person in the suburbs putting a few dollars away in a Christmas Club account at a branch bank. By playing a number over and over, the resident, or at least many of the residents, could be assured of having an occasional win. That win could represent a time for a major purchase and a celebration. The numbers game also contributed to community solidarity, as residents would share dreams with each other.
General Colin Powell wrote about these functional values of the numbers game in a New York City community. “The secret dream of these tenement dwellers had always been to own their own homes. My father also dreamed about numbers. He bought numbers books at the newsstands to work out winning combinations” (Powell 1995, 301). Every day his father would combine thoughts with Aunt Beryl, and they would buy a number together. One Saturday night, Aunt Beryl dreamed of a number. The next day in church the first hymn had that number in it. “This, surely, was God taking Luther Powell by the hand and leading him to the Promised Land. Pop and Aunt Beryl managed to scrape up $25 to put on the number” (303). They hit the three-digit number. It was worth a payout equaling three-years’ pay. “And that’s how the Powells managed to buy 183–68 Elmira Avenue in the… boroughs of Queens” (303). The numbers represented the Powells’ “way out”. Colin Powell was just entering college, and perhaps a pressure of having to help his family out an extra bit was lifted from his shoulders, enabling him to pursue his education and career goals in a more focused way.
The gambling establishment knows the value of games to poor people and to persons such as General Powell’s father and aunt. Very few African Americans have become leading entrepreneurs on the legitimate side of commercial gambling, however. No casinos in Las Vegas are predominantly owned or controlled by African Americans, and few of the casino executives are minorities. Prior to the 1960s, most of the major casinos on the Strip would not let African Americans play at their tables or stay in their hotel rooms. For a short time, a casino called the Moulin Rouge in the northern part of Las Vegas became the venue for African American players from low rollers to high rollers. It was also the place where leading black entertainers would stay, even though they were performing on the Strip. The barriers of discrimination were broken down in the early 1960s when James Macmillan, a local young dentist from the minority community, became head of the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He refused to acquiesce to the policies of “going along to get along”. He threatened a major protest parade that seemed to have all the news elements in it that would make it a national story in a media looking for civil rights protest stories. The casinos agreed to integrate almost overnight. By the time federal legislation on public accommodations was passed in 1964, Las Vegas was fully integrated in that sense.
Employment was something else, and still is. Prior to the 1970s, there was overt employment discrimination in Las Vegas, but a court decree accepted by the industry opened doors for general employment. Nonetheless, much of the employment is still secured through a process called “juice”, or “who you know”. The bulk of entry-level jobs in hotels are now held by Hispanic Americans, who are very adept at using family connections to make sure their friends know about job openings and have the right introductions to those making hiring decisions. African Americans are still not represented in the industry to the extent that their numbers would suggest they should be, given that they make up approximately 10 percent of the population of Las Vegas.
New casino projects in other urban centers such as Detroit and New Orleans carry very specific obligations for hiring target percentages of minorities and women. Groups applying for licenses also are encouraged to enlist local minority members among their ownership ranks. The extent to which the local policies for minority participation are successful remains to be assessed after the casinos enjoy their first years of operation.

Asian Players

Asians and Asian Americans have a reputation of being very active gamblers. They enjoy playing in groups and sharing the excitement of winning or even coming close to having a win. In my travels to Great Britain, I was informed that play from the Asian sector of the population essentially kept the casinos in business. Although this is not the case in most U.S. jurisdictions, the play of the Asian high roller is critical for the profits of many of the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. Moreover, in urban communities on the West Coast of the United States and Canada, the Asian play is often a majority of the play. People who have studied gambling sense that there are cultural values that make gambling a part of Asian community life. Numerology and a mystique about fate and luck propel people into gaming. There is also a great desire to participate in games of all sorts, so the drift to gambling games is not unusual.
Asians may be susceptible to developing gambling problems.  Their subcommunities may encourage some play that might be considered reckless and harmful. One facet of this is that most of the Asian players have strong families, and they are also tied to family businesses, which have cash flows that can be utilized for daily gambling. When the play begins, the player may feel that he or she can risk everything on the game because of having a safety net that other Americans may not have. No matter whether the player loses all or wins, a member of the extended family will always have a place for him or her to stay. Thus homelessness is not the problem that it is for some other compulsive gamblers. Moreover, someone in the family structure will have a job for a player who is broke. Such a tight family structure, which is a positive force in other situations, tends to present barriers for programs of recovery, as there is a notion of “shame” attached to any social problems. To go outside the family for help, especially to persons outside of the ethnic nationality group, may be considered an embarrassment to the entire group.
Asian gamblers are discussed further in “The ‘Best’ Gamblers in the World” in Appendix A.
Latino and Hispanic American Players
There are many separate Latino and Latin American communities throughout the Western Hemisphere. Generalizations can never be totally accurate. Nonetheless, at the risk of making ethnic behavioral associations that certainly will not apply to all peoples, I authored an essay on gambling in Latin America (see “Machismo and the Latin American Casino” in Appendix A). My study was the result of personal visits to casinos in fourteen Caribbean and Latin American jurisdictions. During the visits, I found a casino that held cockfights, another that banned women players unless they had written permission from their husbands (or former husbands), and another that used local loan agents (perhaps “sharks”) because local players would not pay back debts to “foreign” owners. Many of these situations seemed to be a manifestation of the cultural value of machismo in many aspects of the daily life and certainly in the daily life of the gambling operations.

Gambling and Age

There appear to be age correlations with gambling behavior. Gambling activity occurs among all age groups, but it seems to increase with age through the adult years until the sixties, when a decline starts. Nonetheless, at both ends of the age spectrums there are conditions that suggest that excessive gambling may be a major concern for society. We will look in turn at youth gambling and then gambling during the golden years.

Youth Gambling

Demographic Categories of Players - Gambling and Ethnicity - Gambling in AmericaThe childhood years are devoted to much play activity, as it is through such play that basic social values can be learned: competitiveness and striving for goals, camaraderie and team involvement, adherence to rules and notions of fair play, acceptance of defeats and a sense of renewed efforts, gracefulness in enjoying victory. Certainly an emphasis on playing games, an encouragement for playing one or another kind of game can cause children to desire participation in games and contests where the reward – the goal – is money.  Gambling has to have a natural draw for persons who are compelled to engage in fantasy play as part of their socialization. And indeed, where children are given the opportunity to gamble, they do so.
A wide range of studies indicates that young people may be very involved in gambling. For instance, one study found that 90 percent of young people in the United States had purchased lottery tickets by the time they were seniors in high school. Another found that 77 percent of high school students had gambled sometime. A survey in Atlantic City found that over 60 percent of high school students had played slot machines in casinos. In most cases, parents were aware of this activity.
The surveys suggested that youthful gambling and gambling problems occurred at times before young people turned to alcohol or drug use. Early gambling was associated with parental gambling and parental problem gambling. In later adolescence, gambling was associated with peer group acceptance. The studies suggested that young people craved acceptance and saw gambling as a means toward that goal. Those who persisted at gaming tended to do it alone, however, in order to escape either a bad home environment or their failure to participate in social activities with their peers. The availability of gambling in the community was related to youth participation, even though in most of the surveys the young people were gambling illegally.
The youthful gamblers will play whatever game is available, but because they must be wary of being excluded from a facility because of age, they gravitate toward hidden-away slot machine areas of casinos. They also participate in sports betting, usually making their wagers with a bookie or with an intermediary who is not concerned with the fact that they are young – only that the costs of the gambling will be paid.
Youthful gamblers exhibited the same rates of pathological gambling as, or even higher rates than, the adults who were surveyed. The survey for the recent National Gambling Impact Study Commission suggested that as many as 6 percent of teenagers had characteristics of pathological gamblers, a percentage several times higher than that for adults. The issue of youth gambling is important because many surveys of pathological gamblers find that they started their gambling activity while they were teenagers, due to an exposure to the activity and in part to parental support of their participation. Henry Lesieur’s book The Chase portrays a critical time in the development of a compulsive gambling career as an early “big win” (Lesieur 1984). Psychologically, young people are less able to handle the emotional rush coming with that “early win” than are adults seasoned in life’s many ups and downs. As a result of the research information gathered, the National Gambling Impact Study Commission urged that youth not be exposed to gambling opportunities.

Senior Gambling

The great expansion of gambling opportunities has also attracted many senior citizens to situations that may not be socially beneficial. Senior gambling has not been extensively studied, but there is an indication that where casinos are available, seniors do play in large numbers. Overall their gambling participation rates are not as high as those of other adults but are growing. A 1975 survey found that 38 percent of the elderly (over sixty-five) had gambled during the previous twelve months (Commission on the Review of the National Policy toward Gambling 1976, 59); a 1998 survey found that more than 60 percent had done so. Gambling is a growing recreation among the elderly, as in contrast with the past they now collectively have better health and more resources. Of course they also have more time available for gambling than do other adults. In Las Vegas, the locals-oriented casinos target seniors as players to fill the casinos’ daytime hours and their soft weeknights as well as their down-seasons when tourists are not as plentiful. The casinos feature special buffet meals at low costs, they offer their regular players bargains through “slot clubs”, and they even offer a regular bus service into senior neighborhoods (Sun City–type communities) and senior housing developments.Slot machines senior people
One study from Las Vegas found that elderly men gambled less than younger men did, but the opposite was the case for elderly women. For the latter, the gambling opportunity was seen mostly as a social event and a chance to escape the boredom of daily life, often in an apartment-type setting. Among men, those who rented apartments gambled much more than did homeowners.
As with youth, the seniors have their games of choice. In the casino, they are ardent video-poker machine players as well as bingo players.

Gambling and Gender

Traditionally, gambling has been a male-dominated activity. The same can be said of sports and other competitive games that even reach into the business world. But gradually, women are participating in gambling activities at higher and higher levels.  This reflects the growing importance of women in the workforce and also the fact that more and more women are financially independent. On the downside of the equation is the fact that many women find themselves in abusive situations, and they turn to gambling as an escape mechanism, much as they have also turned to alcohol and drugs. As gambling is more available in communities across the country, it is becoming an addiction of choice for many escape-prone women.
In the recent past women played bingo more than men did, as it was a social event and a very acceptable activity. Most players were excitement oriented rather than escape prone. The casinos that first welcomed women found that they preferred machine play to table play. This is still the case, as the bravado of the tables fits male traits more closely. Women may sense that the action at the tables is too fast or too competitive and that players are too serious about the competitive nature of the games. These psychological barriers persist, but they are falling to a large extent. Nonetheless, today the favorite game for the woman player in the Las Vegas casino is the slot machine, especially the video-poker machine. And of course, as is discussed in the entry on slot machines, this is a device that can get gamblers into trouble rather quickly. Indeed, one person who counsels problem women gamblers in Las Vegas told me that 95 percent of his clients were playing the video poker machines. Nonetheless, problem gambling is still a greater problem among the male gender. The national survey for the National Gambling Impact Study Commission found that the rate of problem and pathological gamblers among men was double that of women.

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Delaware instituted its lottery in 1975. Because the state was very small and also surrounded by other jurisdictions with very active lotteries — Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland – state leaders sought a mechanism to win play from neighboring states. They decided to let players try to pick the winners of professional football games. Rather than incur the expense of professional consultants to advise them on appropriate point spreads for the games, they tried to develop that expertise in-house. It was the bureaucrats against the wise guys for Philadelphia and “Jersey”. The “big guys” (professional gamblers) also bet actively with the illegal bookies who used the “Las Vegas” line, that is, the line set by Las Vegas casinos (see Glossary). With a few quick phone calls, the true experts could discover which Delaware lines were faulty. The players continuously beat the game, and the state abandoned it before it could put the entire state budget into a deficit. Nonetheless, in 1992, when Congress passed the bill banning sports betting across the United States, Delaware was one of the four states that was given an exemption. There has been no cry from the Blue Hen State to give it another go.  The state continues to operate other lottery games, including instant tickets, numbers, and Powerball lotto games.
Delaware has one thoroughbred racetrack and two harness tracks. The state authorized all types of slot machines and other gaming machines for its racetracks in 1995. Delaware Park offered the machines first, but Harrington Raceway and Midway soon followed them, and GTech won a contract to furnish the machines. Delaware Park pursued a strategy somewhat different from that of other states, as it sought to make a strong separation between the machine gaming and the track wagering. Track efforts to bring slot players to the track windows were simply unsuccessful. A track manager commented that people got too confused and that clearly Delaware had a dedicated group of slot players who had no interest in racing. An unused 60,000-square-foot section of the grandstand was converted to slots. No racing monitors were placed in the room, and players had to go to another room to make racing wagers.

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John Davis is considered to be the first casino entrepreneur in the United States. But gambling was not the essential part of his life, as he was a patron of the arts. He was born in Santo Domingo (his date of birth is not known) and educated in French colleges, studying music and art. When he came to New Orleans his attention was on the arts. He gained much social prestige as he built the Theatre d’ Orleans where operatic performances were given. He also opened an exclusive ballroom. John Davis gave the raucous frontier community its culture.
John Davis associated with the “best” people of New Orleans, and when the opportunity to have a gambling hall arose, he sensed that his group of friends would not want to be playing games among the street hoi polloi in saloons and brothels. Therefore in 1827 he applied for a license for a different style of gambling hall, one that was not just an annex to a saloon. His emporium of games was located beside his ballroom on Orleans near Bourbon Street. Perhaps he anticipated the style of Steve Wynn’s Bellagio in Las Vegas, as the casino was carpeted; featured fine furniture, fine food, and the best of liquid refreshments; and was adorned with fine music and its walls lined with art works. The amenities—all the food, drink, and entertainment—were free to his valued customers. Perhaps he can be credited with inventing the “comp” (complimentary), at least in the United States. In a sense his casino was comparable to the best in Las Vegas, without the slot machines and without the masses of people wandering in and out. When he was given his license, his was the only exclusive hall for games. He only had to compete with the dives of New Orleans, that seem even today not to have gone away. As his upmarket clientele kept growing, he branched out and started a second casino in suburban Bayou St. John.
During the early 1830s, others attempted to imitate his establishments, but they fell short of his standards. His offerings were the most elegant of any gambling facility for decades to come. His “run”, however, was not a long one. In 1835, a reform movement—perhaps taking its cues from the antigambling mobs upriver in Vicksburg—pressured the city government to rescind all of the gambling licenses. Davis’s reaction was not to try to operate underground, nor was it to run off to another jurisdiction where he could seek accommodations with legal authorities. He was a social leader in New Orleans, and he was an operator of integrity. The classy John Davis was also a man of wealth. He merely closed the doors to his gambling operations, and he returned to a full-time pursuit as the city’s primary patron of the opera and the arts. For Davis gambling had always been the amenity.

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Nick “the Greek” Dandolos was born in Crete in 1893. Over a career of great renown, he secured the reputation as the last of the gentlemen gamblers and a man of great personal integrity, although some suggest the latter honor was not entirely deserved. Nick was the son of a rug merchant and the grandson of a shipowner. His grandfather sponsored Nick’s coming to the United States, and he became a citizen in 1902, when he was eighteen. His grandfather also gave Nick an allowance of $150 a week. Although he also gained a job selling figs, with his guaranteed stake he quickly moved to gambling action wherever he could find it. First he followed the horses and then turned to cards and dice.
During a career that made him one of the major celebrities of Las Vegas, Dandolos often gave his assessment of the gambling life: “The greatest pleasure in my life is gambling and winning. The next greatest pleasure is gambling and losing” (Alvarez 1983, 115) He might have added the rest of the compulsive gambler’s mantra: “Whatever is in third place ain’t even close”. Over his career he won and lost over $50 million – actually he lost quite a bit more than he won.
Nick the Greek won his reputation as the greatest player of his day and a gentleman from the fact that he would play for the highest stakes available anywhere. When he came to Las Vegas, he gained a cult following among Greek Americans with his big bets. He was a gentleman because he always showed grace when he lost, whether it was a few hundred dollars or several hundreds of thousands of dollars. He could afford to be graceful, because for most games he was staked—he was playing with other people’s money. Many times it was money given to him by compatriots of Greek heritage. Some writers have suggested that his frequent losses, for which his Greek sponsors would forgive him because he was one of them, were caused because he made arrangements with his adversaries across the tables. It has been alleged that he would lose on purpose and receive a kickback after play was over.
Dandolos came to Las Vegas before the Mob had taken over the Strip. He played at the Flamingo when Bugsy Siegel was still alive. A few years later he became a national figure when Benny Binion of the Horseshoe invited Dandolos to play in a poker game against Johnny Moss. Moss and Dandolos went at it one-on-one in the front window of the Horseshoe. The game, or series of games, lasted five months and was a precursor to the establishment of the later World Championship of Poker. The lead went back and forth, but in the end Moss, fourteen years the Greek’s junior, “outlasted” Dandolos.
Although his reputation remained for another decade, Nick the Greek began slipping in the 1950s. He started borrowing heavily, and his losing continued. A collection had to be taken to pay his funeral costs after he died on Christmas Day in 1966. To the end he was a gambler in his heart. When he was asked why people gambled, he responded, “Why? Because they find ordinary life a swindle, a sellout, a ripoff. It’s just eating, working, dying. The nose to the ground and the boss chewing out your ass. Attached to one woman, she growing wrinkled and mean before your eyes. Okay, okay; most people accept it. Most people accept anything and do not balk. But the few who don’t accept, that’s your lifelong gambler”.

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Dalitz Morris - Gambling in AmericaMorris Dalitz started his career in the shadows of the law, but as that career unraveled in Las Vegas, his life became one of community development and philanthropy. More than any other of the “founding fathers” of Las Vegas, Moe Dalitz converted a questionable past into an honored status as a community icon.
Morris “Moe” Barney Dalitz was born on 24 December 1899 in Boston, Massachusetts. When Moe was very young, his family moved to Michigan. There his father started Varsity Laundry near the University of Michigan campus. The laundry business expanded, and soon the Michigan Industrial Laundry in Detroit was in son Moe Dalitz’s control. The laundry had certain symbiotic relationships that opened doors for Dalitz’s new business interests.  When Prohibition descended upon the nation, bootleggers needed delivery mechanisms. Dalitz had trucks. The laundry trucks served customers at hotels and could also be put onto barges that could be transported across the waters of the Detroit River, Lake St. Clair, Lake Huron, and Lake Erie from Canada. One of the favorite places of entry for liquor as it came from Canada to the bootleggers in the United States was the point where Mayfield Road near Cleveland ended at the shores of Lake Erie. Dalitz became the leader of a group called the Mayfield Road Gang operating in Cleveland, Detroit, and Ann Arbor.
Moe Dalitz continued from the earliest days of his bootlegging activities to take the profits and convert them into legitimate businesses: more laundry businesses, the Detroit Steel Company, and even a railroad. He also had his eye out for what his liquor customers wanted, especially when Prohibition ended. He concluded that gambling was a natural business for a follow-up. Dalitz became a principal owner for several illegal casinos throughout the Midwest, including several in Cleveland and northern Kentucky.
Moe Dalitz was too old to be drafted when the United States entered World War II. He had a strong sense of obligation, however, and he enlisted as a private. His business acumen landed him in the quartermaster corps, when he received a commission. He served stateside running army laundry services. His assignment allowed him to keep in touch with his private investments.
Moe Dalitz remained active in the Detroit laundry business into the 1950s. Inevitably, he came face-to-face with Jimmy Hoffa in negotiations with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (the Teamsters’ union). At first it appeared that there would be a monumental confrontation, with both sides calling out their “muscle” to make their position stronger. But their cooler heads prevailed as they found that mutual benefits could flow from friendly relationships. Later, Hoffa negotiated major loans for several Dalitz gambling projects and for other things as well. The first Teamsters’ loan to Las Vegas went to Dalitz so that he could finance Sunrise Hospital. Later loans also financed the Winterwood Golf Course, the Las Vegas Country Club, and Boulevard Mall – the largest shopping center in Nevada, even today.
Dalitz had come to Las Vegas in the aftermath of the crackdowns on illegal gambling that had been prompted by the Kefauver investigations. Dalitz himself was a witness in front of the Kefauver Committee. When asked if he had made money bootlegging, he told Senator Kefauver that he had not inherited his money, and “if you people wouldn’t have drunk it, I wouldn’t have bootlegged it”.
In the 1950s, Dalitz had had to choose between Las Vegas and Havana, and after trying Cuba, he decided to leave that territory to his friend Meyer Lansky. In actuality, Fidel Castro’s takeover of the island ended Dalitz’s thoughts about Havana casinos. If he had pursued the Havana idea, the Nevada gambling regulators would have informed him that no Nevada casino license holder could have a casino interest elsewhere.
The leaders of organized crime families in the United States had declared Las Vegas an “open city” after Benjamin Siegel finished his Flamingo in 1946. This meant that groups of entrepreneurs, such as those with whom Dalitz was associated, were welcome to come into Las Vegas and compete alongside Meyer Lansky, Lucky Luciano, Frank Costello, and other eastern Mob leaders. The Dalitz group found its opportunity on the Strip with Wilbur Clark’s Desert Inn Resort. Clark had gathered resources for his “dream” in 1947, but he was way short of what he needed. Dalitz and his Cleveland group made Clark an offer he “couldn’t refuse”. Clark gave up 74 percent of the ownership (that is, majority control) in return for seeing the project with his name still on it. Later the name was dropped.  Dalitz added a special touch that changed marketing approaches for casinos in the future. He added a championship golf course next to the Desert Inn. Then he created a major tournament on the Professional Golf Association’s tour: the Tournament of Champions in which only winners of other tour events could compete.
In 1955 Tony Cornero died. This West Coast crime figure had made his name running casino ships off the coast of California until authorities such as Gov. Earl Warren closed down the gambling. Cornero moved to Las Vegas and started the Stardust. When he died, the remaining ownership group was very scattered and lacked the funds to complete the project. Dalitz moved in and secured a loan from Jimmy Hoffa’s Teamsters union and finished the job. He took control of management when the property opened in 1958. The Stardust added a golf course with another Champions Tournament. The casinos increased the glitz level of the Las Vegas Strip by having the largest and most noticeable sign. The Stardust also brought in the Lido Show from Paris, which featured a chorus line of fifty well-costumed but still topless showgirls.
Moe Dalitz’s interests also went to downtown Las Vegas, where he bought and sold the Fremont and also constructed the Sundance (now the Fitzgerald), which was the tallest building in the state for many years. His investment in a California resort called Rancho La Costa brought a lot of attention, as he again used Teamsters’ loans and his partners were people with questionable backgrounds. Dalitz sued Penthouse magazine for writing a very critical article about his participation with mobsters. He lost the suit, but the Nevada Gaming Commission began to examine the question of whether or not he should hold casino licenses. He had by this time already sold the Desert Inn, and he sold other casino interests as well, keeping the properties and leasing them to the holders of the gambling licenses. He became content to be an elder statesman for Las Vegas. Other business interests satisfied all his financial needs, and his many charities made him a leading citizen.
Moe Dalitz had organized a group of casino owners in the mid-1960s to develop a strategy to make casinos more legitimate in the eyes of the power holders in the state. The Nevada Resorts Association was established as a lobbying arm of the casinos. One of their first projects was to support the creation of a hotel school at the new University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In personal actions Dalitz gave additional contributions to the new university to furnish its first building—Maude Frazier Hall. He was also a major contributor to many charities. His money was instrumental in starting a major temple for his faith. He was named Humanitarian of the Year by the American Cancer Society and in 1982 received an award from the Anti Defamation League of B’nai B’rith. When he died on 31 August 1989, he had completed the transition from being an outlaw businessman to being the most respected citizen of his city.
Dalitz’s career had a very personal impact on my life. I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where my family patronized the Varsity Laundry started by Moe Dalitz’s father. Neighbors’ houses were sold by Dalitz Realty. I never heard that name again until I moved to Las Vegas in 1980. When my father visited me, he asked if there was a Moe Dalitz in Las Vegas, and I replied that yes, he was one of the founders of the Las Vegas Strip. My father then related that he had played cards with Moe’s father, Barney, in the 1920s and that they had lived just two blocks away from us on Granger Street. In the late 1980s I went to Ohio to study a campaign for casinos in Lorain, near Cleveland. As I drove off the interstate highway into town, I noticed the name of the road was Mayfield Road, famous from Prohibition days. I had come to another spot in Moe Dalitz’s career. Now in Las Vegas I shop at the Boulevard Mall; one year my boys went to the school at Temple Beth Shalom; I visited the emergency room at Sunrise Hospital when the kids needed a stitch or two; I walk by Frazier Hall on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, campus five days a week – all places associated with Dalitz. My office is in the building that houses the Hotel College. On occasion I have had the pleasure of dining at the Las Vegas Country Club as a guest of one “important” person or another. I feel that the shadow of Moe Dalitz has covered many of my footsteps.

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