Sports Betting and Bookmaking

Arne K. Lang. Rowman & Littlefield, $38 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4422-6553-0
Sportswriter Lang’s new book is a fascinating look at the history of legal and illegal horse-race and sports betting in the U.S. It combines his previously demonstrated strengths as a gambling expert (Sports Betting 101: Making Sense of the Bookie Business and the Business of Beating the Bookie) and a cultural historian (Prizefighting: An American History). The strength of Lang’s work comes from his deciding not to focus on the “rogues and scandals” that have been common elements of early writings about horse racing; instead he looks at the history of playing the ponies as a “robust industry” well fitted to sociology and entrepreneurial studies. His book is an unusual view of the history of America, and includes the racetrack-building boom in the years following the Civil War “accompanied by a parallel boom in off-track betting”; the 1905 opening of Belmont Park in New York, “one of the last great spectacles of the Gilded Age”; the surge in racing papers published during the expansion of horse racing in the Great Depression; and the technological advance of simulcasting satellite video feeds of races to nonracetrack locations, which revolutionized off-track betting. This excellent look at “America’s love/hate affair with sports gambling” delivers fascinating insights. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/09/2016
Release date: 07/01/2016
Open Ebook - 306 pages - 978-1-4422-6554-7
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