Cover image for Jokers wild : legalized gambling in the twenty-first century
Jokers wild : legalized gambling in the twenty-first century
Barker, Thomas.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, [2000]

Physical Description:
vii, 224 pages ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
1330 Lexile.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6715 .B37 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



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.

Providing the latest information on the nature and extent of legalized gambling in the United States, this study examines why we gamble and how the relative impact of the activity differs in certain segments of the population. Legalized gambling is, at best, problematic behavior with both good and bad consequences. State-sponsored gambling, both in the form of monopolistic lotteries and in tribal casinos, does to some extent call into question the proper role of the state or tribal nation in promoting a potentially harmful activity among its citizens. States that have looked to legalized gambling as a source of economic salvation may soon experience difficulties as gambling venues multiply and unregulated Internet gambling becomes more widespread.

Author Notes

Thomas Barker is Professor of Criminal Justice and Police Studies at Eastern Kentucky University
Marjie Britz is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the Citadel

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Legalized forms of gambling have experienced recent explosive growth in the US. Barker and Britz, criminal justice professors and seasoned students of the phenomenon of gambling, offer a well-written, thorough, and highly informative survey of key dimensions of legalized gambling. Following a chapter on the current status of legal gambling, the authors provide historical background on gambling in America, with some special attention to the role of organized crime. They then examine gambling's emergence as a legitimate enterprise, especially in Las Vegas and subsequently in Atlantic City. More recently, American Indians and "riverboats"--or gambling vessels-- have played a conspicuous role in legalized gambling. The authors also examine state lotteries and the growing (and troublesome) phenomenon of Internet gambling. They review different explanations for gambling, its impact on special populations (e.g., college students and senior citizens), and the role of pro- and antigambling interest groups. The concluding chapters discuss the role of a Federal Commission and the consequences of market saturation. Appendixes address the nature of the gambling industry and Commission recommendations. Altogether, this fine study makes an exceptionally useful contribution to the understanding of an important contemporary phenomenon. All collections. D. O. Friedrichs University of Scranton

Table of Contents

1. Introductionp. 1
2. Where Are We Now? Gambling Todayp. 5
Extent and Nature of Legal Gamblingp. 5
Conclusionp. 16
3. New Wine in Old Bottlesp. 19
The Colonistsp. 19
Nineteenth-Century Gamblingp. 21
Conclusionp. 26
4. Sin, Vice, and Gangstersp. 29
New York Casinosp. 29
Gambling as a Business: Organized Crimep. 30
Conclusionp. 39
5. Gambling as a Legitimate Industryp. 41
The Phantom Arrivesp. 41
William F. Harrah of Renop. 44
Las Vegas: Adult Disney Worldp. 45
Atlantic City: Gambling on the Boardwalkp. 47
Conclusionp. 52
6. The Dam Bursts: Indian Gambling and Gambling Vesselsp. 57
The Red Man Entersp. 58
Roll 'Em on the River: Return of the Riverboats?p. 68
Conclusionp. 73
7. Gambling-Lotteries: State-Run Games of Chancep. 75
Nature and Extentp. 76
Permission: You Mayp. 78
The Games People Play: The Modern Lotteryp. 83
Please Do: Advertisingp. 91
Conclusionp. 93
8. The Web of Gamblingp. 97
What Is the Internet?p. 98
Regulating the Webp. 101
Action by the Statesp. 105
Action by the Federal Governmentp. 106
The Business of Online Wageringp. 107
Conclusionp. 108
9. Intellectualizing the Action: Why People Gamblep. 113
Compulsive Gamblingp. 113
Pathological Gamblingp. 116
Emerging Definitionsp. 118
Square Pegs in Round Holes: Gambling Theoriesp. 118
Treatment Modelsp. 127
Benefiting from People's Addictionsp. 128
Conclusionp. 130
10. Effects on Special Populationsp. 135
Youth Gamblingp. 135
College Gamblingp. 138
Senior Citizens Gamblingp. 142
Womenp. 144
11. Effects on Communitiesp. 149
He Says: The American Gaming Associationp. 151
She Says: Anti-Gambling Activistsp. 153
Conclusionp. 163
12. Enter the Federal Commissionp. 173
Introductionp. 173
1996 National Gambling Impact Study Commissionp. 174
Commission Recommendationsp. 181
Conclusionp. 182
13. Enough Is Enoughp. 185
Introductionp. 185
Market Saturationp. 185
Competitionp. 186
Gambling-Lotteriesp. 190
Convenience/Neighborhood Gamblingp. 190
Further Signs of Troublep. 191
Conclusionp. 192
Appendix A Nature of the Industryp. 195
Appendix B Recommendations of the National Gambling Impact Study Commissionp. 201
Indexp. 217