Virtually all forms of gambling have been banned for centuries, but almost always tolerated. Throughout the gambling history we see periods that it is allowed. And just as many times when governments take action against gambling. In this wave movement, creative entrepreneurs naturally play an important role. They renew and adapt, to which a government has to come up with a response.

Since their arrival in the late 19th century, governments have always had the most problems with slot machines. Unlike card games and roulette, these slot machines are constantly changing due to technological developments. Each time, there are small and large innovations that cause governments to lag behind. And then with them there is always the conflict between prohibition and income.

Slot machines permit

In an 1899 newspaper article from a town in the state of Iowa of the United States, we read an illustrative report. It reports that in October of that year the municipality issued forty ‘permits’ for slot machines. This yields the municipality $ 800 (converted with inflation, this is now $ 24,000). The amount is half of that city’s police budget.

The journalist says that in the state of Iowa, like many other states, the law forbids slot machines. But they are tolerated. In every café and cigar shop there are one or more of those fruity slot machines . The shopkeepers and the owner of the slots make a lot of money. And that is a thorn in the side of the municipality and the police.

Legal problem

The town’s police conclude that if they tolerate it, they should be able to take advantage of it just as well. Because the law prohibits gambling คาสิโนออนไลน์, this is not possible with a license ; after all, you cannot give a permit for something that is prohibited. They therefore oblige retailers to pay a monthly fine of $ 20 per slot machine. If they fail to pay, the cabinet will be confiscated and destroyed.

The government goes into it with a straight leg. Retailers grumble, but they pay the ‘fines’. The ease with which they end up paying confirms to town officials that much is being made with the devices. Earnings that come from a game where the player’s chances of winning are nil, the journalist reports. For the time being, the officials do not care, they can use the extra income well.


The report shows the duality in which governments around the world act around gambling and many other things. They forbid something, or would like to, but preferably not at the expense of their own advantages. The past hundred years has shown that slot machines in particular cause a dilemma.

Sometimes they are local measures, other times nationwide. For example, in 1959, Italy takes action against slot machines. Most are destroyed. Around 1965, Fidel Castro even has everything to do with gambling destroyed in Cuba. Even furniture from the casino goes there in the wood chipper. But nowhere are actions against slots more fickle than in the United States, and often locally 

New York in crisis

For example in New York. In 1934 Fiorello LaGuardia becomes mayor there. One of the first things he does is a crusade against slot machines. America is in the midst of an economic depression. LaGuardia finds it inadmissible for citizens to throw their last dollar cents into pinball machines and slots. Hundreds of slot machines are collected, destroyed and thrown into New York Harbor.

Slots machine owners then simply move their business to another city. They just continue to distribute the slots and the following year already made more than 1 million dollars (approximately 18 million converted).