With the expansion of legal gambling throughout the United States, the game of Blackjack has never been so widespread, and its legal status has never been so difficult to understand. In the old days of Las Vegas, an undesirable patron would typically be unceremoniously thrown out at the whim of a casino’s management with no recourse. These days, with lawsuits over a casino’s right to bar players, court cases testing device and cheating statutes, and gaming commissions who have their own ideas on how to regulate games operating independently in over a dozen states, one needs a road map to navigate through the state of the industry. Blackjack and the Law attempts to provide such a road map.
The book is based on a series of articles written by the person most experts consider to be the foremost authority on the legal aspects of gambling in the United States, I. Nelson Rose. These articles have appeared in various publications, such as Card Player and Blackjack Forum since 1985, and update the high quality, but long out of date and out of print, material that appeared in Rose’s previous book, Gambling and the Law. Each article is then edited and amended by the book’s second author, Robert Loeb, considered by most to probably be the second authority on the legal aspects of gambling in the United States. Loeb also adds commentary after each article, providing his viewpoint and addenda since the essay was originally written. This is a powerful one, two combination that leads to some truly thought provoking investigations into the legal situation surrounding the game of Blackjack.
Many topics are covered in various chapters which include the legal status of card counting and barring, casino countermeasures, back rooming, device laws, taxes, Internet gambling, gambling on Indian reservations, and many other issues. Especially interesting to me are the essays by Rose on the boom and bust cycles of legal Slot Gacor gaming in the history of the US, criticisms of most states’ lottery systems, and his daring projections on the future of gambling in this country. These are not conventional projections at all, but the arguments for why the country may head in the direction he predicts are quite visionary and extremely compelling.
The book is not focused entirely on Blackjack, but most of it is. Even for the prospective reader who has been tracking Rose’s articles religiously, Loeb’s commentary and addenda appear here for the first time. As the legal sands shift, it is important for those who need to keep track of the law’s status to be able to have a snapshot available of its current incarnation now and again to help reestablish their bearings and clear up the rumors and innuendo that are circulated by armchair lawyers trying to trudge their way through a legal minefield. This book succeeds amply in accomplishing this goal.
Of course, this book isn’t for everyone. The casual gambler or low stakes card counter probably won’t find a lot here that changes how or where they play. Even the high stakes players may not make a lot of changes, but will likely sleep better if they know what they might be up against. The book will also likely become quite obsolete due to changing regulations over the next five years, but today it is a godsend to those who need to know the state of Blackjack law and of interest to those who enjoy tracking the history and state of the game. I recommend it for those who might have interest, but those who don’t play on the edge or don’t have an interest can skip it if they want.
A very good book, Rose and Loeb define the state of the law surrounding the game of Blackjack in the United States. Not everyone needs to read this book, of course, and so those who do not find the topic fascinating, or who don’t play Blackjack, can probably safely pass on reading it. However, it is very well written, and for those for whom the topic is of interest, reading Blackjack and the Law will prove to be quite informative and rewarding.