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The Los Angeles city jail was likely the only legalized casino in California, with gambling taking place daily to a shocking extent, declared Faith Chevaillier, a woman whom President Chester Arthur appointed to evaluate U.S. institutions.
“There is often as much as $100 [$2,200 today] on the gambling table, and much money is lost to poker sharps. It is said that one man awaiting appeal has made $1,000 [$22,000 today] from the inmates in his two years in jail,” she said (Los Angeles Times, Nov. 28, 1916).
Gambling in the joint should be prohibited, she added, but only after some moral activities are instituted to occupy the convicts’ time; many inmates had told her that gambling had kept them sane.
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