Sports betting and booze: A tale of two prohibitions

Sports betting and booze: A tale of two prohibitions

May 22, 2018 11:01 AM


The Conditions for Prohibition

The 18th Amendment was ratified a little over a year after the end of the Great War. The Amendment was approved by the states a little more than a year becoming effective one year from the ratification date, January 16, 1919.

The so-called “Noble Experiment” of alcohol prohibition was precipitated by a blend of necessity and moral outrage. The War effort necessitated the need to preserve grains, and also gave momentum to the Anti-Saloon League and religious organizations who decried the consumption of intoxicating elixirs as going against “God’s will.” Shortly after the prohibition on alcohol came into effect in 1920, the country would see the acquittal of eight members of the Chicago White Sox, accused of throwing the 1919 World Series at the behest of organized crime figure Arnold Rothstein. A jury in Cook County, Illinois made their determination in under three hours of deliberation.

The principles of justice and due process, however, were no match for the dictatorial powers of Major League Baseball commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, whose role was created in 1920 in response to the scandal. In spite of their acquittal, Landis banned the eight players for life. The Black Sox scandal, forever enshrined in the national consciousness as the reason that sports and gambling do not mix served as Exhibit A for America’s other great prohibition, which came to an end on May 14, 2018.

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Brett Smiley’s opinions are his own and may not reflect those of GamingToday.