Some historians have recently asked if the excesses of gambling really raised a serious threat to authorize a combined ban.
One writer claims that only 15 homicides occurred in the notorious city of Dodge between 1870 and 1885, and few of these were related to gambling. Hit Masterson, the representative of the redoubtable law employed to tame the ungovernable in Dodge City, in fact killed no one in his several years as a sheriff.
Although the game was city-centered almost exclusively, contemporary newspaper reports indicate that violent crimes in western cities such as Dodge City were relatively uncommon.
Thus, while the myth implies that the border townsfolk were besieged by the armed desperadoes who gathered at casinos , brothels, salons, the record suggests that this was not the case.
Even the owners of gambling establishments — often the most legitimate business owners too — were in favor of containing gambling abuses, although they clearly did not wish to prohibit gambling altogether.
When the city became ungovernable from time to time, it was still easier to control crime and violence there than out in the open plains.
However, many Western states and territories passed severe measures against the game. It is difficult to explain why Nebraska, which had a fairly insignificant problem with abuses of gambling, would adopt such radical prohibitions.
It would seem that the state never considered a more discriminatory approach, such as a system that regularly licenses and restrains the game.
Rather, it was a demonstration of political anger — the game was a speculative enterprise designed to take advantage of the hard-working but unwary farmer. Once again, Jacksonian influence was in working order.
Farmers never came to these states in great numbers, so there was never a great opposition to gambling settlement.
Unlike the farm states, the Far West allowed playing altogether, but many legislatures passed licensing and rule measures.
The licensing scheme passed through the territorial legislature of Montana, for example, was typical of those decreed by most of the far western states. The owner of each house where playing the tables were kept or the games of the occasion was to pay a fee of $ 50 per month was played.
The schedule of the fee was adjusted in 1873 and 1877, and from its increase size one can deduce that the benefits to the gambling operators of the house were substantial.
The 1887 law required each operator to pay a fee of $ 100 general every three months plus $ 40 for the month each poker or roulette table.
In fact, the border cities, even with their game, were comparatively safe. The entrepreneurs of the city, interested in the constant growth of these communities, had to be assured of an orderly, stable place to conduct business.