U.S. Senator from Tennessee
No. Our crime committee report was unanimous in condemning all kinds of gambling as harmful. Bookmaking is associated with pool parlors and other unsavory places. It fosters crime. Restricting gambling, over the long run, is better for the economy of any community.
Former mayor of New York City
Yes. We permit bookmaking at race tracks. Why be pompous and talk of morals when even our hospitals are inadequate? To get quick money I put a 5% tax on track mutuels. On my grave there could be the epitaph, "Here lies O'Dwyer, the father of the 5% bite."
Former Postmaster General of the U.S.
Although many prominent and sincere citizens favor legalized off-track betting, I, personally, think it is a mistake. Off-track betting encourages people to bet who now can't afford to go to the race tracks. They are the ones who are hurt most. They can least afford to gamble.
President and general manager, Sands Hotel
Las Vegas, Nev.
Yes. People do a lot of off-track betting anyway, and the states get nothing except a lot of headaches trying to suppress it. Many people say off-track betting tempts the poor man to bet his rent money. The Prohibitionists said the same thing about liquor.
March 16, 1959
Former governor of New York
No. I have always held that legalizing off-track betting would open the gates to racketeering. In spite of the tempting revenue for the state, off-track betting tends to weaken the moral fiber of a community. It also means that even children will suffer for necessities.
JACOB M. ARVEY
Former chairman, Cook County Democratic Committee
I've been in favor of legalized off-track betting for 30 years. It gives the little fellow a chance to bet without being crooked or being obliged to pay his way to and into a race track. No matter how rigid state controls may be, it is better than the under-the-table setup.
HUBERT H. HUMPHREY
U.S. Senator from Minnesota
We don't have that problem in Minnesota, because there are no race tracks and no betting in our state. However, I have always felt that in areas where it is well nigh impossible to stop betting, the betting should be legalized and the revenue realized from the tax on it should be used for humanitarian purposes.
No. Legalized off-track betting is harmful to any community, and it is particularly bad for poorer people who can't afford to bet. Eventually groups of citizens might ask for laws to close all parks and it would end all racing. Racing is a good sport. I wouldn't want to see it destroyed because of a law.
ROBERT F. WAGNER
Mayor of New York City
I'm in favor of legalized off-track betting provided a foolproof system is established that will keep out any undesirable elements. Our New York plan does. Legalizing off-track betting will provide the City of New York with additional revenue urgently needed without further burdening the taxpayer.
EDWARD G. BURKE
Horseman and oil producer
No. Legalizing off-track betting will ultimately destroy racing. There was a time when betting even at race tracks was stopped by legislation. Fortunately it is legal to bet at most tracks now. It is a great sport, and I would like to see it remain as it is. Legalizing off-track betting is bound to antagonize a lot of people.