The Consumer Age Turned Americans Into Gamblers

When the Economy Shifted From Production to Consumption, How You Spent Money Mattered More Than How You Earned It

Today legal gambling in the United States is widely accepted and more prevalent than ever. But as recently as the 1950s, gambling was seen as a fundamentally un-American way to make a living. This shift in attitudes towards gambling—which took about a half-century to achieve—spoke to generational shifts in American beliefs about morality and capitalism.

While Americans have always loved to gamble, the 19th century saw a strong pushback against the lottery promoters and bookmakers who had made gambling possible. The public turn against these gambling professionals was not without reason—the …

Risk-Taking Is Profitable—but Perilous in Our Interdependent World

From Freeway Speeding to Financial Instruments, Big Gambles Can Spin into Disaster

Risks are inherent in life and so, over the centuries, people have devised many mechanisms to pool and reduce risks.

These institutions range from families to religious tithing to formal …

The Mob, the Mayor, and Pinball

Why 20th-Century Law Enforcement Wielded a “Sledgehammer of Decency” on the Game Machines

Soon after I founded the Pacific Pinball Museum, an ex-police officer contacted me, offering to sell a rare artifact that was once confiscated by the Oakland Police force.  …

Fielding a Daily Fantasy Sports Team Is No Different Than Playing Online Poker

Websites Like DraftKings and FanDuel Bear All the Hallmarks of Gambling—Including Addiction

Tonight’s NCAA men’s basketball championship will also crown the champion in millions of fantasy pools. As the nation gets ready for the excitement or frustration that this game will bring, …

Your March Madness Office Pools Should All Be Legal

The U.S. Government Doesn’t See It That Way, But Everyone Could Benefit from the $9 Billion Dollars Americans Wager on College Hoops

Roughly 40 million Americans are expected to fill out a total of 70 million brackets and bet $9 billion on March Madness this month, according to data from the American …

Los Alamitos Race Course In All Its Decaying Glory

Kentucky Derby Winner California Chrome’s Home Track Is Where a Suburban Kid Fell for a Rough-and-Tumble Pastime

Sometimes a thing so special needs to be approached slowly, in small steps that get closer over time.

I grew up a few short miles from Los Alamitos Race Course in …