It’s not surprising that prisoners turn to various diversionary tactics, including gambling, given how difficult prison can be even when things are going well.
Although it is technically against the law, inmates manage to gamble in prisons all over the world, whether it be by playing traditional card games like poker or placing bets at the prison “bookie.”
Let’s investigate how and why prisoners enjoy gambling.
Why Prisoners Gamble
The primary and most obvious reason that prisoners engage in gaming, betting, and gambling is to pass the time. Frank casino is full of people who want to relax.
After all, a lot of prisoners will do anything to pass the time because prison is a very dull place.
Inmates gamble for a variety of reasons, though passing the time is one of them.
Inmates who work in American prisons frequently receive pitiful pay for their work.
For instance, The Marshall Project revealed that while incarcerated, one inmate worked as a data entry clerk for the Department of Transportation, earning 20 cents per hour.
For this work, he received only about $24 per month.
Additionally, the majority of prisoners in seven states—Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas—do not receive any compensation for their labor.
This is a major issue because many essentials, like toothpaste, are not provided to inmates and must be purchased. Accordingly, many prisoners experience financial hardship.
It’s simple to understand why prisoners would be eager to try their luck at making a quick buck when you look at it this way.
Organizing the wagers can be a reliable source of income in addition to giving prisoners the chance to win money when they gamble.
According to The Marshall Project, the same prisoner who earned $24 per month working for the Department of Transportation also earned $173.25 per month (in commissary items) from his unauthorized work as a sports bookie.
His quality of life inside was significantly improved by this income.
While some prisoners gamble for financial gain, others do so to meet new people.
Playing and betting on games like spades and even sports like basketball are ways to make friends and join a social group, as an ex-offender told VICE.
Having friends who will take care of you is undoubtedly a vital aspect of inner life.
Most Common Methods Of Gambling While Imprisoned
Even though prisoners will gamble on many different things to kill time, win money, and make friends, there are a few games that are very well-liked in jails and prisons all over the world.
The Chinese gambling game is well-liked in casinos all over the world, and prisons have followed the trend by having inmates adopt their own rules to allow playing.
This is basically glorified dominoes inside the walls of the prison. The only people who can make the table markings are the prisoners, though occasionally they omit all markings to keep their game secret.
Poker is a fiercely competitive game that frequently leads to arguments, accusations of cheating, and ultimately fights.
Inmates will continue to play this game, though, both to win bets and to try to establish their dominance as the prison’s top poker player.
Poker is still played quite frequently in prisons, despite the fact that it is strictly prohibited in many of them.
This is due to the ease with which it can be hidden and kept a secret due to the straightforward arrangement of the cards, bets, and players.
The game Kaluki or Kalooki, more commonly known as rummy, is especially well-liked in the Caribbean and has more recently been referred to as Jamaican Rummy. Many prisons have found it to be a very well-liked card game.
Practically identical to rummy in terms of rules is this game. The object of the game is to be the first player to discard all of your cards, and jokers are used as wild cards.
It’s a very straightforward game that can be played without anyone noticing once more.
This list had to include one of the most well-known vintage casino card games.
Inmates find blackjack to be very appealing because it is simple to understand and can be played without drawing the attention of the guards.
Additionally, the fact that it is a quick and efficient way to settle scores and exchange bets is advantageous.
Checkers, chess, and scrabble are all common games to bet on in prison despite not being conventional gambling games.
A former prisoner claims that scrabble matches can turn violent and frequently result in fights.
It’s interesting that the same person claimed they had never witnessed a fight break out over a chess game, even when bets were being made.
Particularly now that sports betting is big business in the US, gambling on sports is quickly growing in popularity inside prisons.
As we already mentioned, the popularity of sports betting presents opportunities for game organizers to generate a sizable profit.
Usually, they have an outside connection who can give them the odds for the week. Following that, other prisoners receive these. Following the placing of bets, payouts are made in accordance with the results.
Given the volume of outside information that must be transferred, it can be challenging for these pools to take off in prisons. Because it is difficult to conceal this type of betting system, the guards will also have to turn a blind eye.
Sports betting can, however, be a well-organized hobby that many prisoners take part in under the right circumstances.
Gambling Issues in Prison
While it is true that gambling can be a way to pass the time while incarcerated, it is also the root of many problems.
Prison gambling involves high stakes and intense emotions, just like it does in any casino. Unfortunately, this occasionally leads to accusations of cheating and, ultimately, physical altercations.
In addition, there will be a number of prisoners in every prison who were sentenced for crimes related to gambling, such as robbery to settle debts or theft, for example.
Most likely gambling addicts, these individuals can indulge in their addiction by betting while incarcerated.
The right conditions, however, can allow for a much-needed diversion from the monotony of daily prison life through gambling.
Prison guards will never be able to eradicate gambling entirely, no matter how hard they try.