Gambling: the Problems and History of Addiction, Helpfulness, and Tragedy

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Recently there have been a lot of studies on the subject of gambling and games play. The average uninformed individual might wonder "Why, it really is not that big of a deal?" and think that it is just a small poker game or a little bet over a sporting event. There are so many more aspects to gambling than just the little games and bets. That is just a fraction of all of the problems and crime it can be connected to. Now there are also great perks to having some forms of gambling, such as lotteries. The lotteries help out by contributing to government programs such as education, military, etc. To help people understand gambling and games play it is necessary that they learn about the history, the viewpoints, and the cold hard facts. The controversies of gambling have not just come up recently. There have been unofficial records of gambling occurring back in the Ancient Greek times. There is a great history of gambling and games play that tells a tale of its own. Gambling has been around for ages and is rumored to have been used in ancient Greek times. The biggest and first crap game says that Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades rolled dice for shares of the Universe (Puzo 76). Some say the first form of gambling was found in biblical times. They portray Adam and Eve's choice to eat the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden as humankind's first real gamble (Thompson 5). This was their gamble to see what would happen when they ate the fruit. There is a lot of controversy when it comes to gambling in the United States. In some states it's legal and in others it is not. There were four key time periods in the history of gambling and games play known as waves: State-Sanctioned Lotteries, National Lotteries, State-Operated Lotteries, and The Triumph of Casino gaming.

The first wave of gambling and games play started in 1607 and lasted until the 1840's. The early colonies had very different attitudes towards gambling and were not as open about it as in recent times (Dunstan). In the first wave of gambling there were state-sanctioned lotteries. They were slightly popular with the first settlers in America, but became more widespread when the Revolutionary War started. Lotteries were started by the some of the states to help pay for their armies and contribute to the war. But for the most part, they were started and run by nonprofit organizations such as colleges, local school systems, and hospitals, to help them with all the necessary expenditures. Interestingly, Yale and Harvard's rivalries were not even ignited through football but actually having lotteries. They held lotteries to help build dormitories on campus. In 1747 Yale received a license from the Connecticut legislature, which allowed them to raise 7,500 pounds, a considerable amount of money in these days. Harvard, on the other hand, had to wait until 1765 to get the approval from the Massachusetts state legislature to be able to conduct a lottery worth 3,200 pounds. Although this was not as much as Yale was able to raise, it was certainly a significant amount. Another reason why Yale's success was so much greater than Harvard's was because Harvard had to compete with the other lotteries in the state that were raising money for the troops fighting in the French and Indian war (McGowan). They contributed in funding all through out the war, which lasted from 1754 – 1763. During all of this lottery activity, no state ever operated its own lottery. Most lotteries were run by private organization that had received permission from the state legislatures to do so. The reason most states didn't want to get involved was because of a famous scandal that happened in 1823, in Washington D.C. Congress authorized a Grand National lottery in order to help pay for the city of Washington D.C. There were a lot of tickets sold and the drawing was held, but when the winners went to collect, the private agent had absconded with the money. Most of the winners just...
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