Bloodletters and Bad Actors
Mefi's Own Max Sparber looks at the early days of Omaha theater, back when it was a frontier town, its amusements were questionable, and vice was rampant, with occasional forays into more recent performing arts misbehavior. [via mefi projects
posted by The Whelk
on Jun 11, 2014 -
The hottest poker room in the US is at Maryland Live, a casino just Southwest of Baltimore. The reason is that the poker rooms are well stocked with fish, amateurs that regularly lose large sums at poker, but keep coming back to lose again. The sharks are enjoying the feast.
posted by COD
on Apr 20, 2014 -
This is what a dying sport looks like. For decades, the Miami fronton was known as the “Yankee Stadium of jai alai,” a temple to the game, the site of the largest jai alai crowds in American history. Since the 1920s, the best players in the world have gathered here every winter. Jai alai used to be a very popular spectator sport in this country, with frontons up and down the Eastern seaboard. Presidents watched jai alai with their wives. Ernest Hemingway bragged about getting to hang out with jai alai players. In fact, during World War II he concocted a scheme in which jai alai players would somehow lob grenades down the open hatches of unsuspecting German U-boats. Now, the sport seems like a relic, a vision into the past. It’s vestigial, like an appendix.
posted by jason's_planet
on Apr 11, 2014 -
"There are six bookmakers, one more is on its way, and five loan shops. Even if you are on JSA you can borrow money from Speedy Cash. It's the main business around here.Take dole, turn it into weed, sell them, take your profits and put them into the machines. If you win, you are quids in. If you lose, you get cash from the money shops to cover your losses. Back to dole and buying drugs. There's nothing else around here to do."
-- How betting machines help small time drug dealers launder their profits
and how this is about the only economic activity keeping the poorest local economies in Britain going. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse
on Nov 12, 2013 -
is a ridiculous unending tournament of pirate Mugen (previously
) characters from across a wide spectrum of games (and fan-made creations as well) duking it out while thousands of onlookers bet fake money. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla
on Aug 6, 2013 -
“What would happen if some of those ‘priests’ in white robes started chasing you at 60 miles an hour?” Frank asked. “What would you do?” And Sammy answered, “Seventy.” The Moulin Rouge: The Vegas Hotspot That Broke All The Rules
. Smithsonian Magazine on the brief life but long-lasting legacy of Las Vegas' first racially integrated casino.
posted by goo
on Jul 20, 2013 -
The thrill and rush of possibly winning started to wear off after about the twentieth losing ticket. Each card had a couple of “Life” symbols on them, and every time you got a second you just dreamed of seeing the third one under the remaining graphite. However it never appeared and never will and it just kind of turned depressing. How could people put themselves through this humiliation and teasing every day of their lives?
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear
on May 18, 2013 -
The classic criticism of the lottery is that the people who play are the ones who can least afford to lose; that the lottery is a sink of money, draining wealth from those who most need it. Some lottery advocates . . . have tried to defend lottery-ticket buying as a rational purchase of fantasy—paying a dollar for a day's worth of pleasant anticipation, imagining yourself as a millionaire. But consider exactly what this implies. It would mean that you're occupying your valuable brain with a fantasy whose real probability is nearly zero—a tiny line of likelihood which you, yourself, can do nothing to realize. . . . Which makes the lottery another kind of sink: a sink of emotional energy. [via]
"Las Vegas bookmakers make their money by balancing their risk, but sometimes they simply come out on the wrong side of too many bets." With the regular 2012 NFL season now over and the playoffs about to begin, please take a moment and shed a tear -- or more likely, raise your beer -- as you consider the terrible beating Las Vegas sports books absorbed in 2012.
(LAT link, so potentially behind a paywall depending on your number of previous visits in last 30 days.) [more inside]
posted by mosk
on Jan 2, 2013 -
Beating the system:
The Boston Globe reports how a group of MIT students beat the Massachusetts state lottery by working out that you were almost guaranteed to get a return on the game Cash Win Fall at certain times, and only buying tickets at that point. It's reckoned that they made $48m on a $40m stake over several years, that other syndicates were also involved, and the state 'bent and broke' the rules by allowing them to buy tickets in bulk. The game was closed down after the Globe started to investigate. [more inside]
posted by DanCall
on Aug 8, 2012 -
The files of the God of Gamblers case can be read as a string of accidents, good and bad: Siu’s run at the baccarat table; Wong’s luck to be assigned an assassin with a conscience; Adelson’s misfortune that reporters noticed an obscure murder plot involving his casino. But the tale, viewed another way, depends as little on luck as a casino does. It is, rather, about the fierce collision of self-interests. If Las Vegas is a burlesque of America—the “ethos of our time run amok,” as Hal Rothman, the historian, put it—then Macau is a caricature of China’s boom, its opportunities and rackets, its erratic sorting of winners and losers.
Evan Osnos on a real-life "God of Gamblers" and the rise of Macau
, The New Yorker
posted by jng
on Apr 6, 2012 -
The Man Who Broke Atlantic City
Don Johnson (no, not that one) won nearly $6 million playing blackjack in one night, single-handedly decimating the monthly revenue of Atlantic City’s Tropicana casino. Not long before that, he’d taken the Borgata for $5 million and Caesars for $4 million. Here’s how he did it.
posted by modernnomad
on Mar 14, 2012 -
The Last Act of the Notorious Howie Spira. The conventional shorthand for what George Steinbrenner did wrong, in press accounts of the mudslinging-and-extortion scandal, is this: The Yankees owner had an "association with Howard Spira." It made Spira sound menacing—this known gambler, this criminal element. He was the embodiment of the Yankees owner's dark side: Steinbrenner the Nixon bagman, the convicted-and-pardoned felon. Under questioning in court, Steinbrenner described their relationship in ominous terms. Did Spira "destroy" him? "As far as baseball is concerned, yes," Steinbrenner said. "He did a very good job."
posted by auto-correct
on Oct 29, 2011 -
In March of 2009, the Japan Sumo Association won a lawsuit
against Kodansha, a large Japanese publishing house. Kodansha had alleged that match fixing was rampant in Sumo, even at the highest levels. However, in the last week, police have discovered text messages
between wrestlers showing proof of fixing, including negotiation over compensation. [more inside]
posted by Ghidorah
on Feb 5, 2011 -
After more threats of extinction than anyone could remember, the New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation unexpectedly made good on a threat of its own and closed the doors to its parlors on Tuesday night. ... About 50 parlors around the city were shuttered. Some 1,000 employees lost their jobs. And a revenue stream that had funneled tens of millions of dollars a year to breeders, track owners and related businesses dried up. Another piece of gritty old New York had gone the way of the Automat and the Times Square peep show.
posted by Joe Beese
on Dec 9, 2010 -
A simple idea: take an ordinary savings account, but instead of paying interest to account holders, hold a lottery to see who gets the lump sum. Freakonomics Radio investigates Prize-linked savings (PLS) accounts (Part 1
, Part 2
), which combine two things that seem completely at odds with each other: saving money and gambling. In Highland Park, MI, PLS accounts have been very successful
at converting "non-savers" into "savers". Why hasn't it caught on in the US? It's illegal in most states, of course.
posted by Jonathan Harford
on Dec 2, 2010 -