The Online Casinos Industry and Foreign Nations

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The Commerical Orientation of Gambling

The urge to gamble was heightened by the speculation of westering people who hoped to turn migration into quick profit.

Sudden vicissitudes and perpetual excitement, Michael Chevalier surmised in 1835, characterized business and society among American pioneers.

Unsettled territory seemed to intensify the traits of individualism and chance taking that encouraged gambling throughout the nation, while at the same time the West lacked the inhibitions that had limited Northerners' and Southerners' participation in betting.

So along the lower Mississippi river frontier, games of chance not only constituted one of the 'prevailing vices' but also took their place alongside real-estate schemes, commodities markets, and currency manipulation as accepted forms of frontier enterprise.

Those who settled in towns along the rivers often devoted their lives to the risks and rewards of inland commerce and land development, and the entire valley seemed alive with travelers who had a great deal of currency at their disposal.

Boats plying the waterways carried plenty of cash-laden businessmen, preoccupied with money, who also proved a strong temptation to sharpers.

Many of these passengers were southern planters taking a vacation as they escorted their crops to market. With profits either in hand or on near horizon, these men relished the trip to and from New Orleans.

Like other river travelers, they made ideal marks for the confidence men who infested waterfront towns.

Although the traveler's money made him ripe to be picked by gamblers, he was generally done in as well as by his own willingness to wager, a trait that likened him to residents of the western region.

Seduced by the bright prospects for their business deals as well as by the transience of the river frontier, these excursionists including many 'eastern and northern men of good character at home', seemed to leave behind all restraint when journeying down the Mississippi.

Although river travelers often lost hundreds of dollars to sharpers in these sprees, the Englishman preferred to sympathize with the gambler, who had all too often been misrepresented.

The unrestrained behavior of river travelers typified the restlessness and riskiness of the lower Mississippi Valley during the first third of the nineteenth century.

To the essential gamble of migration westward were added the fluidity of life along the river, and the hazards and excitements of a commercial frontier.

Consequently, settlement in the old Southwest remained a chancy proposition. Moreover, it came to be focused not in rural districts but in waterfront communities where western ways of living resisted the penetration of conventional southern culture.

These towns, often little more than real estate ventures themselves, presented gambling as a natural ingredient of life and permitted the constant operation and refinement of public games of chance.

They fostered the growth of betting in the region and served as a springboard for the distribution of new kinds of American gambling to the rest of the country.

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