The historical connection of gambling crime and organized
After the war, Chicago’s sports circle was dominated by Mike McDonald, the so-called creator of the phrase “there is a sucker born every minute”.
As a young man in New Orleans in the 1850s, McDonald’s had become enamored with the charm of the game and resolved to participate.
By the 1880s, McDonald had also realized considerable political influence. He engineered the Mayor Carter Harrison campaign and became the head of the Democratic County Cook Machine.
Despite his involvement in grafting contracts and city building scandals involving his two wives, McDonald successfully combined the two roles of gambling Tsar and political sponsor until his death in 1907.
Organized crime did not start with illegally producing during prohibition. Rather, it began with gaming unions in American cities after the Civil War.
As illustrated by Mike McDonald’s career, the game has had close links to urban politics.
One reason for this connection was the common Irish background of players, police, and politicians of the late nineteenth century.
A more important reason, however, was that the gambling union and the political machine were often part of the same neighborhood organizations.
Gambling operations such as numbers, depended on a large number of runners who have cultivated more or less the same way of making friends with local citizens as an enclosing captain.
Thus, organized crime was entrenched in Chicago and other American cities long before the passage of the Volstead Act in 1920.
The Irish, for example, game and racket dominated, and blacks commanded politics.
Producing illegally gave Italians their opportunity, but not all traffickers were Italian. In fact, there were twice as many Jews as Italians involved in the distribution of illegal spirits.
The one that their ethnic background, however, traffickers were almost all came to hell — young men in their twenties who had grown up in urban slums.
Once the Italians and other traffickers turned their entry into organized crime, they branched out into their sectors, playing in particular. Almost from the beginning, traffickers invested in gambling operations and continued to grow long after repeal.
Since the prohibition lasted only 13 years, most traffickers were still only in their thirties and raised the extended capital when the liquor became legal again.
In most cases, entrepreneurs producing illegally invested in the existing game structure, but rarely replaced the players already there.
The system could absorb these comers, though not always without muscle and violence, because playing increased opportunities during the 1920s and 1930s.
The greater use of the phone has changed the way bookmakers operate, and the legalization of the racing pari-mutuel horse has gradually eliminated the role of the bookmaker at the track.
Many traffickers have also found it convenient to enter soot machines as a sideline.
Since the machines were often placed in illegal bars, it was easy to maintain them because the trucks went from one place to another to deliver the alcoholic beverage.
In years after the repeal of the prohibition, ex-traffickers also played a significant role in creating regional gambling centers: Miami, Florida; Hot Springs, Arkansas; and most notably, Las Vegas, Nevada.