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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

From our archives, 75 years ago

Spokane’s police and prosecutors were facing a dangerous new threat: dart games.

Dart games?

Yes, a dart-game fad was sweeping the region in 1935. But this was not the classic English pub dart game. According to prosecutor Ralph E. Foley, it was an illegal gambling game in disguise.

“The throwing of a dart is but a subterfuge to give the game an appearance of a game of skill,” said Foley, the father of Tom Foley, a future speaker of the House.

Ralph Foley filed an affidavit saying that these particular dart games, set up by “amusement companies” from outside the area, were not sporting games in any way.

The contestants won or lost prizes based “upon pure chance.” In fact, most contestants won or lost money without throwing a dart at all.

Apparently, it was more like a numbers game. Players were given a list of numbers and if whoever was throwing the darts happened to hit their numbers, they would win.

Foley told the operators of these dart-lotto operations that they must close the games at once, or face arrest.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1941: Germany and Italy declared war on the United States; the U.S. responded in kind.

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