Scarne's New Complete Guide to Gambling

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9780671630638: Scarne's New Complete Guide to Gambling
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The world still recognizes the legendary John Scarne as the most authoritative expert on gambling who ever lived. Author of dozens of books On the subject Scarne Collected and distilled everything he knew in this, the most comprehensive book on gambling ever written. Since its publication in 1961 and subsequent new editions, Scarne's New Complete Guide to Gambling has been far and away the best-selling book of its kind. As gambling consultant to several governments and many of the world's top casinos, Scarne knew the world of gambling from the inside out, with access to many of the most powerful figures and innermost secrets of gambling's fascinating and complicated world. He spices the volumes of gambling advice and inside tips contained here with many of the stories and personalities he knew in his fabulously successful life as a gambling expert, advocate and writer. Every aspect of gambling at games of chance and skill is covered here: official rules; correct adds and house percentages; advice and instruction on playing strategy; explanations of swindling methods and how to detect them. And every game and sporting event involving betting of any kind is reviewed, explained, analyzed. More than 100 million Americans gamble at one time or another during any given year. Now, more than ever, this is the one book they'll need to become consistent winners in their chosen game.

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About the Author:

John Scarne, now deceased, was recognized during his lifetime as the world's foremost expert on gambling. His knowledge and spirit live on in the many books he wrote, including Scarne's Guide to Casino Gambling, Scarne's Modern Poker, The Odds Against Me, Scarne on Cards, Scarne on Dice, and many, many others.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1

Gambling: America's Biggest Industry

AMERICA'S $500 BILLION GAMBLING HANDLE

Gambling in the United States, despite all the Federal and state restrictions against it, is the leading industry in the country, both in the number of participants and the amount of money involved. Its handle surpasses the combined total money volume of the 100 largest industrial organizations in the country, including such giant corporations as U.S. Steel, General Motors, General Electric, Metropolitan Life, Ford Motor Company and any others you care to name. Today about 90 million adult Americans -- of whom 43 million are men and 47 million are women -- are gambling the astronomical sum of $500 billion annually.

Almost 90% or $450 billion of this huge amount is wagered illegally; only $50 billion legally.

The number of illegal gambling operators in America, race bookies, operators of Poker and dice games, etc., has been reduced with the enactment and enforcement of additional Federal interstate antigambling laws. This loss of gambling revenue has been more than made up by gigantic increases in other forms of gambling: (1) The Numbers game, despite Federal and state police harassment, has increased considerably in participants and money wagered. (2) The huge national interest in sports generated by television (football, basketball, hockey, etc.) has resulted in billions of fresh dollars being bet among gamblers and with illegal sports bookies. (3) The legalization of many state race and dog tracks, lotteries, raffles, Bingo games and off-track betting has contributed hundreds of millions more to the national betting handle.

Gambling, in general, is a constant growing industry, increasing the number of participants and gambling handle, except for some occasional economically "bad" years. There is no doubt in anyone's mind, that is, if he gets around at all, that gambling is big business. How big? Nobody knows exactly. As for me, I'll stick with my nationwide gambling survey of a few years ago, which revealed a yearly gambling handle of over $500 billion, a figure which has since been accepted by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Gambling Investigations, the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service.

Note that this $500 billion handle does not represent gambling industry income or profits; it is the annual gambling exchange. It is all the money handled; it is the total amount wagered. Many of the dollars in the $500 billion are duplications because they are bet and rebet back and forth many times between players, and between players and gambling operators, before they are finally won or lost.

Of the $500 billion handle, the actual cost to the betting public for their yearly gambling pleasure -- the annual gambling revenue from all forms of gambling -- amounts to about 10% of the $500 billion, for a gross revenue of $50 billion. Of this, an average of 60% or $30 billion goes for building and maintenance of gambling establishments. Examples: upkeep of racetracks, Las Vegas hotel casinos, Poker rooms and Bingo parlors. This leaves $20 billion as the nation's net gambling revenue. The $20 billion is divided almost equally between (1) professional or organized gambling and (2) private gambling. The $10 billion yearly net revenue from all forms of organized gambling includes betting, both legal and illegal, at the various types of banking games such as Craps, Black Jack, slot machines, Roulette, casino side games, carnival games, and punchboards; with race and sports bookies; in lotteries, Bingo, baseball and football pools, Keno, raffles, Numbers and all other forms of gambling in which a professional operator or banker is involved. The $10 billion yearly net revenue of private gambling entails illegal betting among friends, acquaintances and strangers at all kinds of card games (Poker, Gin Rummy, Black Jack, Skarney, Pinochle, Bridge, Canasta, etc.), at Craps, Scarney Dice and other dice games, at guessing games and sports and at any other form of illegal gambling in which a professional operator or banker is not involved.

The recipients of this $20 billion annual net gambling income include the millions of male and female gamblers who possess some sort of edge over the others. They are the operators of gambling schemes, the experienced or skilled gamblers, gambling hustlers and cheats and racketeers and their henchmen who are the behind-the-scenes bosses of most of file illegal and some of the legal gambling activities in this country. Also included among this group, since they derive income from gambling, are the unscrupulous law-enforcement agents and politicians who accept graft to permit illegal gambling to operate free of police interference.

Strange but true, most of the above group including the so-called "smart gamblers" have one thing in common with the average gambling chump. They can't resist gambling at someone else's game, or even their own, and in turn they recontribute several billions of their annual new gambling profit to the $20 billion annual take.

DOES THE MAFIA CONTROL GAMBLING IN AMERICA?

My lifetime of study of all forms of bigtime illegal gambling operations reveals that it is not controlled by the mythical Mafia or by any single mob or syndicate. This is, of course, contrary to what many racketeers, Federal and state law-enforcement agencies, Federal and state district attorneys, judges, legislators, politicians, television programs, books, magazines and newspapers keep saying. What rubbish! First, there is no such an animal as the Mafia. Secondly, such statements by these sources -- some of which are ill advised, others for ethnic reasons and some for personal gain -- are welcomed by the real mobster bosses, especially when their names appear in print as Mafia figures. It's good for their business. It puts fear in the hearts of people they deal with and makes their money deals and collections much easier to achieve.

Most major news sources and many book authors in this country seem to have a policy of labeling every arrested gambler big or small who has an Italian name as a member of the Mafia, and those gamblers who do not possess Italian names as non-voting Mafia members. But the truth of the matter is that most towns and hamlets have their own racket bosses who control the local gambling and seldom team up with any outside operators. Occasionally a few racket bosses using fronts may become partners in purchasing a casino in Europe, the Caribbean or elsewhere, but there is no single mob or syndicate that controls gambling throughout the United States. Las Vegas, Nevada, the biggest gambling bonanza in history, is the best example of the non-existence of the Mafia. Check the names of the old and the present-day operators and you find very few so-called "Mafia names." The same holds true for the casino managers, shift bosses and other major casino employees.

Professional gamblers and race and sports bookies should not be confused with mobsters or racket guys. Generally speaking, race and sports bookies or operators of Poker rooms are local sportsmen who break the law by giving the local populace a place or chance to gamble. Many of the new breed of bookmakers are college graduates. In fact, mobsters or racketeers are as different from the bookies or Poker room operators as night from day. These "animals," as they are commonly called by bookies and gamblers, think nothing of torturing a victim by breaking his legs, head, and even killing him when it serves their purpose.

Today illegal race and sports bookies are constantly being arrested by the FBI and other state law-enforcement agents. But as soon as one bookie is jailed, another takes his place. It's an endless chain that never seems to stop. As to the employment of FBI agents in tracking down bookies all over the country, I agree with my friend, the late J. Edgar Hoover, former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who said, "The FBI has much more important functions to accomplish than arresting gamblers all over the country." In spite of Mr. Hoover's opinion, today FBI agents are constantly playing the cat and mouse game with bookies all over America.

THE LAW VS. GAMBLING

From early 1950 to May 1951, the U.S. Senate Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce, headed by Senator Estes Kefauver, conducted the greatest anti-gambling crusade in this country's history, with the end result that Congress enacted several Federal anti-gambling laws, including the one that requires the operator of a race or sports book, lottery, policy or Numbers game, baseball or football pool, etc., to purchase a $50 Federal occupational stamp and pay a 10% Federal excise tax on the operation's gross betting handle. Failure to buy the stamp is a misdemeanor punishable by a term of imprisonment for one year or less and a minimum mandatory fine of $1,000. Failure to pay the 10% excise tax is a felony punishable by imprisonment for five years or less and fine of not more than $10,000.

The immediate result was for the next two or three years illegal organized gambling almost came to a standstill. Most of the nation's bigtime gambling operators and race bookies closed shop and were either in hiding, jailed or being investigated by Federal or state authorities. Those who continued to operate retained only a small percentage of their former business.

This situation didn't last long. In 1954, a bolder and much less law-abiding generation of gambling operators made their appearance. Most of them were former employees of the retired operators. They picked up where their predecessors left off, and one of the greatest gambling binges in American history took place.

Then came 1961 and another U.S. Senate Subcommittee Investigation of Organized Gambling, headed this time by Senator John McClellan. This probe resulted in Federal enactment of the most severe anti-gambling statutes in our history. Under the new law it became a Federal crime to travel interstate to promote or participate in illegal gambling (this, for example, handicapped agents or "collectors" in carrying money for gamblers from one state to another).

Another portion of the Federal law prohibits the interstate transportation in whole or in part of slot machines, Roulette wheels, wheels of fortune and various other kinds of gambling equipment. Still another Federal interstate law prohibits transmitting bets by wire or telephone, or transporting betting paraphernalia (policy slips, sports parlay cards, etc.). But a great increase in gambling occurred in spite of the Federal anti-gambling laws and the thousands of local and state gambling probes throughout the country. The result of the Senate Committee's exposures and its various other "witch hunts" was the enactment by state legislatures of many stiff anti-gambling laws.

While anti-gambling campaigns, which usually take place for obvious reasons just before national or state elections, may result in additional anti-gambling legislation, the publicity that accompanies these crusades also focuses the attention of the average citizen on gambling activities. The net effect often is that he begins to gamble more frequently and in greater numbers than before. Today, in spite of all the additional anti-gambling laws, the United States is the largest gambling nation -- both legal and illegal -- in the world.

It's a curious situation when the greatest part of a country's biggest business is conducted outside the law. Only one state, Nevada, legally permits casinos (as does Puerto Rico). However, debate on casino gambling is attracting considerable interest in several eastern states. Two states, New York and Nevada, and Puerto Rico, permit off-track betting. There are 30 states in which pari-mutuel betting at racetracks is legal; 9 permit betting at dog tracks, 25 or more have legalized Bingo or raffles or both; 5 states allow slot machine operations in varying degrees of activity, and I permits the operation of carnival games. The fastest-growing form of legalization is, of course, the state lottery. More than a dozen states operate or are in the process of legalizing their own lotteries. Puerto Rico, which bars slot machines in its casinos, has the oldest legal operating lottery on American soil. Incidentally, New Jersey's successful state lottery, upon which most other state lotteries are patterned, was developed from the Treasury Ticket information in this book with additional information by your author.

ANOTHER SCARNE GAMBLING SURVEY

My work as a gambling authority takes me into every type of place where Americans gamble: the plush legal gambling casinos of Las Vegas, Reno, Puerto Rico, Curaçao, the Bahamas, Latin America, Europe and North Africa, also the plush and dingy illegal gambling dives that are spread all over this country. Recently on one of my periodical visits to Las Vegas, I was impressed by the crowded casinos. A closer look, however, revealed that most players were so-called "average Americans." Generally speaking, they placed minimum limit bets and their play appeared amateurish. Gone were most of the "high rollers" (big-money gamblers) of yesteryear who lined the dice and Black Jack tables placing maximum limit bets of $500, $1,000 or more on each decision. Even the Baccarat-Chemin de Fer tables had reduced their $20 minimum limit bet to $5. It became obvious to me that with the recent acquisition of most of the big casinos by giant corporations and syndicates a new breed of small gamblers had taken over the Strip casinos. The high roller, if not dead, was fast on his way to extinction.

This drastic change in Las Vegas casino gambling habits led me to the decision to undertake another gambling survey -- to determine lust what was what in the gambling world. I wanted, among other things, facts and figures about the new breed of players. I wished to know why they gambled and what kind of gambling they preferred. To avoid any bias in these results I carefully avoided questioning anyone I saw gambling and did not include in my survey count anyone ! knew in advance to be a gambler. This survey was made from a random sampling of our populace.

My questionnaire included, among many others, such questions as: "Do you gamble?" "What is your favorite gambling activity?" "Why do you gamble?" "If you do not gamble, why not?" "Are you in favor of legalized casinos?" Answers were obtained from people in all walks of life and in varied urban and rural areas throughout the United States.

I found as in earlier surveys that most people were interested in the subject and the questions and eager to supply answers. Aided by several assistants, I obtained replies from 10,000 women, 10,000 men and 5,000 professional gamblers, a total of 25,000 adults. Here were my findings from the answers to the questions above:

1. Do you gamble? "Yes" was the answer given by 80% of the women and 76% of the men.

2. What is your favorite gambling activity? The replies show that the various types of gambling rank in order of number of participants as follows: (1) card playing; (2) lotteries, raffles, Numbers and Bingo; (3) horse racing; (4) betting ...

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9780743281898: Scarne's New Complete Guide To Gambling

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9780671217341: Scarne's New Complete Guide to Gambling

Simon ..., 1974
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