19th Century Gambling

America’s booming industrialism – associated with the flow of immigrants during the second half of the nineteenth century – reinvented America into a greatly urban society.

At the turn of the century, gambling reformers were accountable for closing down gaming establishments, bookmaking operations, numbers, and race tracks. However, only seven states allowed horse racing in 1915. The people’s craving to gamble prevailed.

Gambling syndicates advanced in the city’s slum areas, and when the Prohibition started, gambling turned into a coordinated, national system.

The pioneer of this countrywide business was Arnold Rothstein. He ran his businesses in Chicago, and devised the method of assisting syndicated located in neighboring cities to cover dangerous bets; the system expanded to circumscribe a rather loose aggregation of organized crime.

Rothstein was also the mastermind of the 1919 World Series Scandal in which, the Chicago White Sox circumspectly lost, to the Cincinnati Reds. Rothstein’s successors were the infamous Frank Costello, Frank Nitti, Bugsy Siegel, Al Capone, Meyer Lansky, and others like them.

These people were rather ‘distinguished’ mobsters who engaged in violence, and misery. Organized crime leaders became more calculating as time passed; they no longer wanted to be in the limelight. Even though they now run their businesses mostly behind the scenes – they are still very much around.

On the other hand, Colonel Edward R. Bradley is widely acclaimed with being the first person to permit respectable women to participate in gambling, in his gambling club.

This situation came about through the aid of Henry Flagler, who constructed a railroad that goes from the North to South.

He also built, churches, gambling houses, and quite a few hotels along the way. In 1894, his railroad extended in Florida – in Palm Beach; he also erected the Royal Poinciana Chapel and Beach Club and the Royal Poinciana Hotel.

Flagler employed Colonel Bradley to operate his gambling club. The latter had been very much moved by the exquisite gambling clubs operated by Morrissey and Richard Canfield. To get admitted to the Beach Club, gentlemen were required to wear evening suits.

No person under twenty-five was permitted to come in, and no free food was given. Local residents and women were not permitted to enter as well. As a result, the Club did not accumulate profits as expected, in its first year of operation.

Bradley have decided then to allow socialite women, both young and old, to visit the club, and was well pleased with the outcome. However, the lady patrons were irresponsible and indulgent gamblers.