Random Riches : Gambling Past & Present book cover
1st Edition

Random Riches
Gambling Past & Present

Edited By

Manfred Zollinger

ISBN 9781472470041
Published April 8, 2016 by Routledge
240 Pages

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Book Description

Gambling is a fascinating subject which for many centuries has attracted public interest. Yet, despite its ubiquity, gambling (or gaming) leads a marginal existence within the boundaries of scholarly research. Providing a longue duree survey, this volume promotes a historical understanding of the subject enriched with a diverse academic approach that draws upon sociology, economics and psychology.

Each chapter in the collection is the work of a renowned scholar with a long standing interest in gambling research. The contributions offer historical analyses of the medieval origins of the 'Gambler State' and of mathematical risk calculation. They cast light on the roles of different stakeholders in gambling including the playing public, business, and the state. They provide a controversial discussion of the alleged 'pathological' nature of chance games and the reasons for either regulating or freeing them from state control. Last but not least, two authors deal with country-by-country specifics in gaming cultures and gambling markets.

Taken as a whole, the chapters in this volume chart the development of European gambling culture from the medieval to modern times. In so doing it provides essential context for both historical and current debates about the nature of gambling and lotteries, addiction to gambling, poverty and social degradation on the fringes of the welfare state.

Table of Contents


List of Figures and Tables

Notes on Contributors


Dealing in Chances—An Introduction

Manfred Zollinger

PART 1: Paths Toward Modern Gambling

1 The Ancient Roots of Modern Gambling

Gherado Ortalli

2 Bingo! A Material History of Modern Gaming

Thierry Depaulis

3 The Lure of Lady Luck: Lotteries and Economic Culture in the Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Low Countries

Jeroen Puttevils

4 Taking Chances: Girolamo Cardano on Gambling, and the Art of Memory, and Magic

Sergius Kodera

5 Debating the Lottery in Britain c. 1750–1830

James Raven

6 Heterotopias of Chance: Gambling and Subjectivity around 1800

Peter Schnyder

PART 2: Gambling in Contemporary Consumer Societies

7 Cultural and Social Meanings of Gambling in Finland and Sweden: A Historical Perspective

Riitta Matilainen

8 The Economic and Fiscal Impact of Syndicate Play

Roberto Garvía

9 All You Need is a Dollar and a Dream: Explaining the Inverse Relationship between Socio-economic Position and Lottery Play

Jens Beckert and Mark Lutter

10 A Brief Survey of German Casinos before and after World War II

Manfred Zollinger

11 Casino Gambling as Part of the German Gambling Market

Lothar Hübl

PART 3 Perceptions and Realities of Gambling, Chance, and Risk

12 Games and Passions: Huizinga’s Homo ludens as Spieltrieb

Willem Otterspeer

13 "Pathological" Gambling in an Age of Chance

Gerda Reith

14 Gambling and Speculation: Perceptions and Reality

Reuven Brenner



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Dr Manfred Zollinger is lecturer in Economic and Social History at Vienna University of Economics and Business and of Art and Cultural Studies at the New Design University of St. Pölten (2014-15). Between 1992 and 2002 he was research assistant at the Institute for the Research of Games and Play at Mozarteum University Salzburg. His publications include: Bibliographie der Spielbücher des 15.-18. Jahrhunderts. Erster Band: 1473-1700; Geschichte des Glücksspiels vom 17. Jahrhundert bis zum Zweiten Weltkrieg; and (co-edited with Ernst Strouhal and Brigitte Felderer) Spiele der Stadt. Glück, Gewinn und Zeitvertreib.