State by state

Created on 10-20-2010 – Last updated 06-23-2020


_ Indiana _


Illinois and Indiana are immediate neighbors and border on one of the Great Lakes, so I have always wondered

what kind of history we would find here …this State almost had to be a key gateway to New York and New England`


So let’s start researching and find out`


I found this photo in 2010 while searching for things on Fort Wayne, Indiana. It was on a website was packed

with black’n’white photos from the 1950s and earlier. Here in 2020, I searched again for the court records, but

didn’t get lucky. I am still hoping we see them one day, so we can know which tavern was involved here.


“A pinball machine appears in Allen Circuit Court for the first time in the history of the Courthouse on Sept. 24, 1956. Deputy

Prosecuting Attorney Michael Kast, right, explains the operation of the machine to Judge Pro Tem Robert A. Buhler, and the judge

then rules that Amon E. Brooks, operator of a tavern in which the machine was located, is not guilty of keeping a gaming device.”


Now that is a very crisp photo showing that, that Bingo Pinball was in still great shape. Timing really must have stung a bit for

that Owner/Operator, this is a basically a new Bingo we are seeing here. Key West is a 1956 machine, so this Bingo was just put

on Route with little or no time to have paid for its self or earned any money`




Today, January 2020, I found this picture in my files, which I assume is the source of the detail above`


front wayne ind - miamai beach.png





In 1956’ and 1957’ Billboard was flooded with articles related to Indiana pinballs and gambling. Most all of them were centered out of

Indianapolis, but Fort Wayne found its name in the press more than once. Here in 2020 with copies of so many old newspaper now on-line,

I bet a person could also find quite a few articles on the courts cracking down on pinballs as illegal gambling machines.


2012’ was my previous update for this page, when I added in all of these Billboard headlines`


Billboard _ Apr 27th, 1957



Billboard _ Oct 14th, 1957



Billboard _ Jun 28th, 1962




…at some point between 2010-2012 I added this text from a source I never identified, the last two paragraphs highlight Indiana`


Various Forms of Gambling in the U.S.


In the past 40 years or so, Italian dominance of organized crime has declined. As Italians enter legitimate businesses and professions and become assimilated into the mainstream of American culture, Blacks, and in some cases Puerto Ricans, are assuming control of the nation's gambling, prostitution, and narcotics.


Although Black participation in the entire spectrum of organized crime is a recent phenomenon, Black control of policy is not. Originating in Black neighborhoods in the nineteenth century, Policy was contemptuously labeled by White racketeers as the 'nickels and dimes game of the poor'.


A twentieth-century gambling phenomenon was the movie house 'bank night'. Motion pictures became commercially significant around the turn of the century, but the Depression was hard on the movie industry. Along with other struggling businesses, it was forced to create a new marketing devices to survive, and one of these was bank night, where a ticket bought admission and a chance to win a prize. Clearly, the bank night looked like a lottery, and most Midwestern states had constitutional prohibitions against lotteries. Even so, the legal status of bank nights was not always clear.


Prizes might include cars, refrigerators, stoves, and other items of varying values. Clever promoters found ways to get around the fact that bank nights were defines as lotteries, however, and 33 years later the court found ways to get around this definition. A theater gave a cash prize to a person whose name was drawn from a list of everyone who had previously registered. Thus, to win a person did not have to pay admission to the theater on the night of the drawing.


Nevertheless, the court held that the scheme was a lottery, saying that to abide by previous decisions to the contrary would be to join hands with those who would attempt to defeat the lottery laws and evade the state constitutions. As a result, such pronouncements stunted further growth of bank nights. Since the 1930s, lotteries such as this have been all but eliminated.


The status of pinball machines that offered free replays, however, was more problematic. Courts had noted that gambling had three necessary elements: consideration of risk; chance; and reward of prize. However, in conservative Indiana, the law took a different course. In 1955, the legislature excluded pinball machines that gave only the right to an immediate replay from the list of prohibited gambling devices. Two years later, the Indiana court held that this distinction between free-replay machines and other types of machines had a rational basis.


While some machines provided unearned monetary gain, free-replay pinball machines provided only free entertainment, so the distinction was not unconstitutional. By 1960, however, the Indiana court held that pinball machines that recorded the numbers of replays won were gambling devices. The court even went further to say that pinball machines were gambling devices because free replays were a thing of value.







Oct 5th, 1959 _ Indiana