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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Gaming Law Cases and Materials Great Source For Lawyers, Players

29 December 2004

What's legal and what's not legal when it comes to all forms of gambling? Who's likely to be accused, charged, convicted and sentenced when it comes to betting, making illegal wagers and cheating? What laws govern compacts, maritime law, Indian gaming, lottery controversies, constitutional barriers, debt collection, sports gambling and charitable gambling?

It's a complicated world out there especially in relation to states right vs. federal law, and a vital resource titled Gaming Law Cases and Material by Robert Jarvis, the late Shannon Bybee Jr., J. Wesley Cochran, I. Nelson Rose and Ronald Rychlak (614 pages, hardbound, $85) is now available to answer these thorny questions.
This unique book combines history, legal precedents, facts, dates, names and places, and should be in the hands of every casino's legal department, every state regulatory agency and each reference library of every major city where legal gambling exists.

Some additional samples of the subjects covered in this book include: What constitutes social gambling? What about those football "pool grids" (100 squares for the Super Bowl for example)? Can a casino be forced to pay an underage gambler a slot jackpot? How did the "computer gang" operate in the 1980s in regard to sports betting? What's the history of sports wagering in Delaware? How controversial can bingo be in regard to one state's ruling over another?

Granted, it would help to have a legal background to be able to interpret the court's decision, but it's fascinating reading in that it underscores concerns by various states and appeals courts. The situations (cases) are well-detailed (who was doing what or accused or doing what) and how this case impacted or conflicted with another. Along the way, there are explanations of terms like "beard" or "vig" or "passed off," when referring to sports wagers and the book is a fine reference for understanding how casinos attempt to collect debts or how they have problems dealing with compulsive players. One might wonder how things can go wrong at a racetrack for example. You walk up to a betting window, place your bet--the race is over and then what? The book describes actual scenarios which ended up with a court case and eventually produced a ruling.

Then there are the private squabbles regarding lottery tickets. Who has possession? Who actually bought or owns the ticket?

The book has some potential in other areas--beyond what the authors may have seen. Myself, I'd use it as a source of material for a gambling-related movie or documentary. Some of the situations are so oddball, unusual, funny, sometimes sad, you wonder how people could work themselves into a courtroom situation--but they happened, and the system--lawyers, researchers, the courts all sprang into action.

Overall, this well-researched, well-organized reference is a welcome addition to any serious gambling library, for lawyers, those new to the gaming industry and to members of the legal profession who may one day have a client with a problem.
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com