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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Judge sides with city in fair gambling flap

A Spokane judge refused to issue an injunction against the city after they’d arrested several Interstate Fair concessionaires, charging them with crimes related to gambling.  (S-R archives)
A Spokane judge refused to issue an injunction against the city after they’d arrested several Interstate Fair concessionaires, charging them with crimes related to gambling. (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Interstate Fair concessionaires took the city to court in an attempt to block the city from shutting down all games of chance on the midway.

The concessionaires lost, however, when a judge refused to issue an injunction against the city.

This was all part of an anti-gambling drive at the fair, but it was stretching the definition of gambling. Many of the concessions were the usual midway booths that offered merchandise or prizes to winners. Most of the concessionaires maintained they were operating games of skill, not chance, but the city did not see it that way.

The city’s commissioner of public safety sounded a belligerent note, saying, “We will arrest the operators of the games as fast as they are found doing business.”

Yet the fair’s president said the court’s ruling was a “terrible blow to the fair,” and that most of the concessionaires had simply left.

Rumors were circulating that angry concessionaires would take steps to shut down horse-race betting, which had always been one of the fair’s biggest attractions. If that wasn’t gambling, what was?

From the dope beat: Police raided a Trent Alley opium den and arrested seven people alleged to be addicted to the drug. They were all fined for violations of the federal narcotics act.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1996: Rapper Tupac Shakur was shot and mortally wounded on the Las Vegas Strip; he died six days later.

2008: Troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed in government conservatorship.

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