Roll the Bones tells the story of gambling: where it came from, how it has changed, and where it is now.
This is the new Casino Edition. which updates and expands the global history of gambling to include a greater focus on casinos, from their development in European spas to their growth in Reno and Las Vegas. New material chronicles in greater depth the development of casino resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and their spread throughout the United States. A new chapter better places Atlantic City's casinos into their correct context, and new material accounts for the rise of casinos in Asia and online gaming.
From the first modern casino in Venice (1638), casinos have grown incredibly. During the 18th and 19th century, a series of European spa towns, culminating in Monte Carlo, hosted casinos. In the United States, during those same years, gambling developed both in illegal urban gambling halls and in the wide-open saloons of the western frontier.
Those two strands of American gambling came together in Nevada's legal casinos, whose current regime dates from 1931. Developing with a healthy assist from elements affiliated with organized crime, these casinos eventually outgrew their rough-hewn routes, becoming sun-drenched pleasure palaces along the Las Vegas Strip.
With Nevada casinos proving successful, other states, beginning with New Jersey in 1976, rolled the dice. From there, casinos have come to America's tribal lands, rivers, and urban centers.
In the last decade, gambling has moved online, while Asia--with multi-billion dollar projects in Macau and Singapore--has become a new casino frontier.
Reading Roll the Bones, you'll get a better appreciation for how long casinos and gambling have been with us--and what they mean to us today.
This comprehensive and often entertaining history of gambling begins with the origins of odds and evens as an ancient divination "game" and ends with the 21st-century Internet gambling phenomenon. Schwartz, a historian at the University of Nevada's Center for Gaming Research, gets credit not only for his thoroughness in describing the development of gambling in Western Europe and the U.S., but also for including gambling in Native American, Chinese and other non-Western cultures. Similarly inclusive is his examination of the doctrinal attitudes of each of the world's major religions toward the human penchant for gambling. Schwartz adds interesting anecdotes, even if likely apocryphal: aces, for instance, supposedly became superior to kings as a result of 18th-century French revolutionary fervor. But this thoroughness leads Schwartz to devote too much space to the rules of archaic games of chance and to the exploits of famous and not- so-famous gamblers. Although he doesn't ignore the underside such as compulsive gambling and cheating this aspect is underdeveloped. Also, a more in-depth inquiry into why people gamble and the societal impact of government-sponsored gambling, such as lotteries, would have made this encyclopedic effort even more complete.