Legislative Messages of Hon. James V. Allred, Governor of Texas 1935-1939 Page: 28 of 263
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and the cause of suicide. To all those who enter the lists, it is
equally fascinating. The successful gamester pushes his good fortune,
till it is overtaken by a reverse. The losing gamester, in hopes of retrieving
past misfortunes, goes on from bad to worse, till, grown desperate,
he pushes at everything and loses his all. In a word, few gain by
this abominable practice, while thousands are injured."
And Shakespeare said:
"It is lost at dice, what ancient honor won."
And Franklin said:
"Keep flax from fire, youth from gaming."
The wisdom of our lawmaking fathers who outlawed this evil in the
life of Texas was not without foundation in legal principle.
"Gambling is a kind of tacit confession that the company engaged
therein do in general exceed the bounds of their respective fortunes, and
therefore they cast lots to determine upon whom the ruin shall at
present fall, that the rest may be saved a little longer."
Countless authorities might be cited supporting these profound truths.
After all, as has been said before, "all gaming, since it implies a desire
to profit at the expense of another, involves a breach of the Tenth
To this good hour, Washington, Shakespeare, Franklin, Blackstone
and the Bible are cited as authorities for the guidance of all of us.
They are surely better counselors than paid advocates of the kind of
gambling interests that have "gone to seed" under the provisions of
the race track gambling law of Texas.
During the seventeen months since this law was enacted Texas has
witnessed and suffered every evil pointed out by Washington as attendant
upon gambling. The very foundation of morality and character of
our people is being undermined by legalized, commercialized and advertised
gambling. Within its shadow stalks every kind of racketeering.
The tout, the thug, have been brought within the law and invade the
realm of decency. Embezzlement, suicides, swindlings and social disasters
have followed in a dire chain of events.
The consequences are uniformly destructive. Public officials have been
indicted for embezzlement, traceable, I understand, to losses at the race
track. Trusted employees in private business institutions have checked
up short. Merchants and business men find it more difficult to collect
their accounts than before the passage of this act. Uniformly, they
report that employees and customers alike pour not only their savings
but their current e.arnings into legalized gambling institutions.
Leaving out names, may I quote from a news item recently appearing
in the press: " ," of a given address, "died at 1:50 p. m. Tuesday
at Saint Joseph's Infirmary. A poison bottle half empty was
found in his hotel room. A note in his pocket read, "The race horses
caused this. The wages of sin are death. The greatest thing the Legislature
can do is to repeal the gambling laws. May God have mercy
on my soul, and watch over and protect my family."
An isolated instance, some may say, but this we know: this suicide
left a record as to the cause of his ruin. There may have been others.
It would have been far better not only for this unfortunate man but
for Texas had the race track gambling law not been passed.
Here’s what’s next.
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Allred, James V. Legislative Messages of Hon. James V. Allred, Governor of Texas 1935-1939, book, 1939; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth3899/m1/28/: accessed March 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .