Native Americans and Gambling

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When considering the United States and Americans in general, there are a number of catch phrases which seem to fly around: melting pot, salad bowl, hyphen-Americans, non hyphen Americans, etc. The American ethnic identity is ambiguous as it is fixed to a solid belief in the United States. Nowhere can this be more seen as in the national census, which is carried out every few years. The form essentially is a product of American ethnic history.

Yet recent years witnessed a striking development in ethnical identification. People are searching their ancestral trees to find the slightest clue that they might have Native American blood in them. Many are hoping to link themselves to a tribe. Some are going so far as search for people who’s ancestors might have belonged to the same tribe. This is by no means a nostalgic search to part of American indigenous roots, rather the fact that Indians or Native American’s have the right to host and operators gambling or gaming resorts on their reservations.

This development is one of the greatest ironies in American legislative and constitutional history. Article I of the Constitution states that “Congress has the power to regulate commerce of Foreign Nations and with Indian Tribes.” Obviously, Native Americans still fall under federal government jurisdiction when commerce is considered, despite their sovereign entity status. Native Americans found a gold-mine loophole in gambling which effectively utilizes the limitations and possibilities of the reservation. The reservation does not fall under the jurisdiction of the local or state authorities, which also means they are exempt from all local, state, and federal taxes. As a result, gambling is one of the first real tools that Native Americans have discovered to gain back their economic self-sufficiency and self-respect without the aid of the federal government.

This has, however, also caused much controversy. In 1983 the Cabazon tribe, on its Southern California reservation, opened the first high stakes Bingo. Other tribes followed suit, creating much controversy between the tribes and the federal government for somewhat obvious reasons. Gaming is a proven way to generate substantial tax-free income, and because this is carried out on a reservation Native Americans do not have to report comprehensive income. The figures of gaming income in public literature are only estimates that range from $10 million in profits to billions in profits. The Native American casino is a thriving industry. Native American reservations offer casinos, bingo, gaming, and resorts, as well as other businesses related to the gaming industry such as hotels and restaurants.

Gambling is big business for Native Americans; some of the Casinos on the reservations are the most profitable in the world. Of course Native American’s see the economic possibilities in the Casinos despite attempts to root gambling into their cultural roots. Indeed many argue that gaming has long been a part of the Native American culture and remains so. Native Americans regard gaming as part of their culture and part of the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. They also regard gaming as important to the health of their tribal culture overall. Further to this, they counter stereotypes by insisting that although substance and alcohol abuse do exist within Indian gaming communities, however many of the proceeds received through gaming is donated to the Indian community and charitable programs including substance abuse treatment programs. In all earnest, this is a convenient truth and is a feeble argument to find a cultural legitimacy and social awareness for a booming business.

The Fascination with Gambling

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Despite numerous pieces of legislation, hundreds of social movements, and religious, social and moral condemnation, gambling has kept growing and growing.

There is a certain fascination to the art of gambling and the countless failed attempts to curb mans willingness to try and beat the odds shows that that there seems to be something innate about gambling, rooted in the very being of mankind. It is tempting to view prehistoric man’s day-to-day existence as a continual series of gambles against nature with the ultimate stake, survival, as the nonnegotiable wager. Whether this is true or not may be speculated; however, the fact remains that gambling arose at a very early time and continued to survive and flourish despite legal and religious restrictions, social condemnation, and even very unfavourably house odds.

Dice were tossed long before they were thrown to gamble, and thousands of years later, many still cannot mentally separate fate from games of chance. Just as the ancients believed that success or failure in life depended on the whims of the deities, the typical gambler today believes that his wins or losses are determined to a large extent by some supernatural force. This is probably was also the motivation behind Ashley Revel when in 2004 he decided to sell all of his possessions, clothing included, and brought US$135,300 to the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas and put it all on “Red” at the roulette table in a double-or-nothing bet. The ball landed on “Red 7” and Revell walked away with his net-worth doubled to $270,600.

Gambling has evolved from the early Assyrian and Sumerian dice, which were made of the heel bone of sheep, deer or any other animals of comparable size to Babylonians and Egyptians polished and marked coloured pebbles, to accurate randomizing devices and sophisticated theories of probabilities to analyze them in the seventeenth. Indeed many of the finest scientific and philosophical minds of the times were excitedly engaged in discussing practical and theoretical problems posed by gaming situations. Gambling has increased in sophistication and complexity, new games, modern machines and grand gaming halls shows that gambling a evolved from a crude past-time to mass phenomon. However elaborate the games may have become, it still addresses a primordial human instinct. The Ashley Revel story serves as a prime example of the fascination of gambling and the spectacular popularity it acquires.

Gambling seems to be a universal phenomenon; it is trans-cultural. In Japan for example many people are addicted to pachinko, a pinball-like game, and spend billions a year betting on the game. Brazilian spend $4 billion year on gambling, much of it on lottery tickets. According to a recent study, during a one-year period, more than 80 percent of Australia’s population gambled at least once, and 40 percent gambled each week. Adults in that country, on average, spend more than $400 (U.S.) annually on gambling, about twice the amount spent by Europeans or Americans, making Australians among the most avid gamblers in the world. In the United States from 1964 to 1999, lottery proceeds accounted for about $125 billion of state budget dollars. The gambling industry has witness unbelievable growth as is one of the largest employers and in Australia alone, it employs about 100,000 people in over 7,000 businesses.

Gambling is big business, and not matter what the future might bring in terms of legislation and social movements, it will remain a popular past-time. At the end of the day, who hasn’t dreamt of that one big win?

Gambling Jokes for Fun

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Joke 1

A regular Friday night poker game is still going strong well after midnight when one of the players returns from the bathroom with an urgent report.

“Roger, listen,” the man says. “Walter’s in the kitchen making love to your wife.”

“OK, that’s it,” Roger says. “This is positively the last deal.”

Joke 2

Two men are at the casino and are just leaving to go home at 3 in the morning.

The first man says, “You know what I hate about this? When I go home, I turn off my headlights, turn off the engine, and coast into the driveway. Then I go to the front door, take off my shoes and sneak in as quietly as I can. But my wife always wakes up and we end up having a fight.”

The second man says, “What I do instead is drive into the driveway, honk the horn a few times, get out of the car, slam the door, go in the house and slam the front door. Then I yell ‘Honey, I’m home,’ run upstairs, slap her on the ass and say, ‘How about a little love, woman?’ She never even moves.”

Joke 3

TEN SIGNS YOU ARE OBSESSED WITH ONLINE GAMBLING:

1. You go to a hockey game and wonder what happened to the dealers and boxman.

2. When an ambulance passes with flashing lights, you assume someone hit a “hand pay.”

3. When your kid says math “came easy” today, you ask if it was a 4, 6, 8 or 10.

4. You go into a shoe store and ask if they have a 4, 6, or 8 deck.

5. When your English professor says the author made his point, you ask if he pressed or not.

6. You hear the bible story where Lazarus is told to “Come out,” and you ask for a 2-way C and E.

7. You show up early at the bakery to take advantage of the hot rolls.

8. You wonder if a salad shooter is really a gambling device.

9. When the bartender asks if you want a “double,” you say not against an ace.

10. You go into a 7-11 and ask to play the “don’t.”

Joke 4

One day a guy dies and finds himself in hell. As he is wallowing in despair, he has his first meeting with the devil.

Satan: “Why so glum?”

Guy: “Why do you think? I’m in hell!”

Satan: “Hell’s not so bad. We actually have a lot of fun down here. You a drinking man?” Guy: “Sure, I love to drink.”

Satan: “Well you’re going to love Mondays then. On Mondays all we do is drink. Whiskey, tequila, Guinness, wine coolers, diet tab and fresca. And we don’t worry about getting a hangover, because you’re dead anyway.”

Guy: “Gee, that sounds great!”

Satan: “You a smoker?”

Guy: “You better believe it!”

Satan: “All right! You’re going to love Tuesdays. We get the finest cigars from all over the world and smoke our lungs out. If you get cancer – no biggie, you’re already dead, remember?”

Guy: “Wow, that’s awesome!”

Satan: “I bet you like to gamble.”

Guy: “Why yes, as a matter of fact I do.”

Satan: “Cause Wednesdays you can gamble all you want. Craps, blackjack, roulette, poker, slots, whatever. If you go bankrupt… you’re dead anyhow.”

Guy: “WOW! I never realized hell was such a cool place!”

Satan: “You gay?”

Guy: “Hell, no!”

Satan: “Hmmm, you’re gonna hate Fridays then.”