HOUSE OF CARDS: Legalization and Control of Casino Gambling by Jerome H. Skolnick

HOUSE OF CARDS: Legalization and Control of Casino Gambling

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A professorial inquiry based on three years' research, this will not attract either the Puzo gamblers or those hoping to learn new schemes for beating the house. Aside from a glance at England, Skolnick keeps strictly to the Las Vegas scene and shows why control of legal casino gambling ""is an uncertain, even precarious enterprise."" First he discusses the ""pathology"" of gambling and rather poohpoohs the zealous warnings of Gamblers Anonymous; he believes with Freud that gambling is largely a form of masturbation and anal eroticism. It is, he concedes, a ""vice""--if only because so many people think so, and because controlling it so much resembles the fruitless effort to prohibit alcohol earlier in the century. Legalization of casino gambling, nonetheless, is a ""house of cards,"" and the spread of legalization only a larger, more dangerous structure inviting more broadly-based criminal activity. In the Sixties, the casinos found they had to expand into huge full-service complexes and began taking loans from the Teamsters Union fund to survive. Skolnick suggests economic and legal models for the social control of vice and contrasts these with the reality of what is happening today, meanwhile folding in a history of ""this pariah industry,"" gambling. He shows how the casinos control themselves, how the state carries out its regulations and goes about auditing and taxing; the limits and the challenges to the laws; varieties of embezzlement and skimming; and the difficulties of finding legal capital for the outcast industry. More for readers of Business Week or Fortune--or interested legislators--than for the gambling fraternity.

Pub Date: Nov. 16th, 1978
Publisher: Little, Brown