Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Boardwalk Monopoly

The upcoming debate on The Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection and Enforcement Act (H.R. 2267) is the latest step toward a more gradual acceptance of gambling in the United States. While it is hard to imagine that every town there will one day have a High Street betting shop, it does appear that consumers will soon be able to more easily bet on sports from their homes, and not have to take trips to Las Vegas or Atlantic City or jump through hoops to fund their accounts.

Las Vegas, Nevada, "The Entertainment Capital of the World" legalised gambling in 1931 and is the established number one gambling mecca in the US followed by Atlantic City, New Jersey "Gambling Capital of the East Coast" which legalised gambling in 1976.

New Jersey is famous for not very much really, but Atlantic City and Bruce Springsteen would probably be high on any list, and one of Bruce Springsteen's most memorable songs is in fact called "Atlantic City".

The opening lines are a reference to Mafia violence in nearby Philadelphia - "Well they blew up the chicken man [Mafia boss Philip Testa] in Philly last night, now they blew up his house too - and portray the uncertainty felt in Atlantic City at the time about the impact of the legalisation of gambling there - Gonna be a rumble out on the promenade and the gamblin' commission's hangin' on by the skin of its teeth

A young couple run away to Atlantic City, and the man takes a job in organised crime. Down here it's just winners and losers and don't get caught on the wrong side of that line Well I'm tired of comin' out on the losin' end So honey last night I met this guy and I'm gonna do a little favor for him.

The uncertainty over Atlantic City's future and the man's uncertainty about taking the "less-than-savoury" job are clear in the lyrics "Everything dies, baby, that's a fact, but maybe everything that dies, someday comes back."

"Atlantic City" was released in the UK as a single, but not in the US, and is the second track on Springsteen's sixth studio album, the rather dark "Nebraska".

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