This morning thoughts focused on gambling in America. This may have been stimulated by a recent trip to the casino or perhaps going to the club last night to participate in the drawing which is nearing $20,000, as the pot goes up each week. No winner last night means next week’s prize will most likely be $21,000 or more.
Thinking back, I recall as a child I was under the impression that gambling was, if not evil, at least stupid. Evil was perhaps a bit much given the weekly (illegal) bingos put on by the Catholic churches. You see, when I was a child the only legal gambling available was betting on the horses or going to Vegas.
This of course excludes the gambling in the stock market. An activity pursued by those with ample assets since about 1792 when the New York stock exchange was created, but that is another story.
For the “common” folk there was the numbers racket where one could bet small amounts (a dime) in hopes that their number would come up for the big payoff or maybe they would buy a ticket in the Irish Sweepstakes. And I believe one could buy tickets to wager on weekly football games both college and professional. It is my understanding that the number was the last three digits of the Dow Jones Industrial average each day and the Irish Sweepstakes had something to do with a horse race. All of these forms of gambling were illegal and prosecution of them was more likely than prosecution of the Catholic bingos.
It is my understanding that gambling has been around since Adam and Eve when Eve purportedly said to Adam, “Bet you can’t eat that apple.”
In 1972 the good people of Michigan decided rather than let the Mafia and like-minded thugs get all the money from the suckers that bet daily on numbers, they would legalize it and reap some of that easy money. This money would be used to help support our schools thereby decreasing the tax burden on the citizens. This action opened the doors and removed the stigma of gambling, the Catholic churches would no longer have to close their eyes to their illegal activities, they just had to get a license and carry on. They did have to give a portion of their profits to the state but it was a relief to not have the darkness of sinful living on their souls.
Most recent count shows 26 casinos in Michigan, each sharing their profits with the state and local governments.
Gambling on lotteries has become a nationwide event with Megaball and Superball games crossing state lines. Casinos can be found in almost every state in the union.
Of interest to me is the coincidence of the surge in legal gambling in this country began about the same time as our national government went to the trickle down economic philosophies of Ronald Reagan.
Could it be, this has become the only hope for the mathematically challenged to legally rise up from the poverty they were born into?
Could this be the one percenters “let them eat cake” statement?
Think about it!
And after thinking about it consider this… I kinda like Detroit Lions laying 3 today to Chicago Bears. 😉