Gambling in Saratoga...A Profitable Pastime
Some people have made a lot of money from gaming in Saratoga...not always the ones who placed the bets.
The credit for bringing gambling to town belongs to John H. Morrisey - prize fighter, hustler, and gentleman who established his first gaming room in Saratoga in 1861.
Six years later, Morrisey built the Club House Casino, a classy venue for gamblers and card players, which he operated until his death in 1878.
Another Saratoga operator, Richard Canfield, took over operation of the Casino in 1893, transforming it into a luxurious and highly profitable destination for the sporting crowd. Canfield’s run lasted until 1908, when agitation from reform politicians and strife with business competitors led him to shut the Casino down.
Gambling came back to Saratoga Springs soon enough, in the form of bookmaking operations that flourished during the next four decades under Meyer Lansky and other prominent mob figures.
New enforcement actions resulting from U.S. Senator Estes Kefauver’s 1950 investigation into Saratoga’s “wide-open gambling and racketeering” brought another temporary halt to illegal betting on the local horses.