Jokers Wild: Legalized Gambling in the Twenty-First Century

Jokers Wild: Legalized Gambling in the Twenty-First Century

Jokers Wild: Legalized Gambling in the Twenty-First Century

Jokers Wild: Legalized Gambling in the Twenty-First Century

Synopsis

A history and analysis of gambling in the United States from bingo to state lotteries to Indian gaming and the rise of Las Vegas, this book reveals how we have become a nation of gamblers and what the future holds for the gambling industry. From the colonial era to the present, Americans have enjoyed a love-hate relationship with gambling. It is a pastime that has gone from sin to recreational activity, and an industry that has moved from control by organized crime to management by executives with MBAs. While gaming is one of the nation's fastest-growing industries, Barker and Britz predict that this process will slow or stop in the next century as the result of market saturation and unknown social and economic effects which loom over the glitz, glamour, and action.

Excerpt

In recent years the studies of gambling and tobacco use have become social experiments in the process of how laws are made and changed in defining deviant behavior. Deviant behavior “is behavior subject to legal procedures aimed at curtailing the behavior” (McCaghy, Capron, and Jamieson, 2000, 106). The behaviors for legal purposes can be divided into Mala in se and Mala Prohibita acts. According to Black’s Law Dictionary, Mala in se acts are those which are wrong in themselves, inherently evil acts such as murder, stealing, rape, perjury, and robbery (Black’s, 1991, 659). There is little, if any, debate that these behaviors should be crimes. Mala Prohibita behaviors, on the other hand, are those “Acts or omissions which are made criminal by statute but which, of themselves, are not criminal” (Black’s, 1991, 659). Mala Prohibita crimes transgress the accepted moral code and include abortion, homosexuality, pornography, drug offenses, gambling, and tobacco use. Whether or not Mala Prohibita behaviors such as gambling and tobacco use become labeled legal or illegal behaviors depends on who wins the conflict that takes place between competing interest groups.

Mala Prohibita laws tend to become interest group specific because moral standards are not homogeneous across social classes, ethnic groups, the sexes, or generations. However, the process of legislation allows interest groups to impose their moral standards, or publicly stated moral standards, on other less powerful, less vocal, or less united groups. American society is, and always has been, characterized by conflicts of interests. This conflict between interest groups is, and always has been, at the center of the debate over gambling. The ebb and flow of legalized

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