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Gambling and Bookmaking After World War II

After World War II, the public's image of gambling improved gradually.

Some of the reasons for this improvement can be traced to gambling's continual contribution to charitable pursuits.

The lessening of bookmaker's dependence on criminal syndicates, the incorporation of gaming corporations, and the growing realization that gaming operators don't have to cheat their customers to realize substantial profits.

Bingo and church raffles, once thought to be minor diversions, became important sources of revenue for church groups in postwar America.

Most states legalized church-related bingo--- in 1987, forty-three states had approved such games--- reflecting the view that gambling for charity is permissible.

Several racetracks capitalized on this notion by requesting and receiving more racing dates after promising to give a share of the proceeds from the added races to designated charities.

Church groups had been in the forefront of anti-gambling movements found it hard to accept revenues from bingo while continuing to condemn other forms of gambling.

As bingo games proliferated, charities turned to other games, such as punchboards, pulltabs, bazaars, and Las Vegas Nights as well.

In 1981, North Dakota legalized two-dollar black-jack games, with revenues going to charity. Indian reservations throughout the United States have sanctioned non-profit bingo and blackjack, with the gambling take going to tribal welfare funds.

By the 1960s, the race wire that had tied bookies to criminal syndicates , was no longer a significant factor in bookmaking. Timely racing and sports information was available from a variety of sources, and the race wire became superfluous.

Broadcast media were under minimal restrictions concerning the results of sports events. Horse race results were broadcast on the radio with only a thirty-minute delay (fifteen minutes in some areas), while baseball, basketball, and football scores were available immediately.

The UPI and AP wire services also carried up-to-date sports results. The growing popularity of National Football League games, prominently displayed on television, caused a shift in bookmaking away from horse betting sports betting (wagering on football, basketball, and baseball).

With information on sporting events readily available in the media and the development of a uniform point spread for football games, bookies felt more comfortable taking betting positions and therefore were much less likely to use layoff services.

Bettors grew accustomed to placing their bets by phone, and large betting parlors where gamblers came together to hear sports results were no longer necessary.

This considerably lessened the need for police protection to 'overlook' the presence of a betting establishment and effectively reduced a major source of local police corruption.

All of these developments enabled individual bookies to break free of centralized control.



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