The Gamble Rogers Festival

For those of you who are planning on attending the 12th Annual Gamble Rogers Folk Festival in St. Augustine, Florida on May 4, 5, and 6 of this year, you may know that this festival showcases a variety of musical talent, ranging from Michael Smith, to The Burns Sisters Band, from Amy Carol Webb, to The Cook Trio. You may also know that this festival offers performances by local musicians, contests, arts and crafts, and discounted local accommodations. What you might not know, however, is the story behind Gamble Rogers. It’s not only a tale of talent and tragedy, but also of uncompromised heroism.

James Gamble Rogers IV was born on the last day of January 1937 in Winter Park, Florida. While his father and grandfather were architectural geniuses, Rogers took a path that led him away from architecture and into the open arms of music. He became a folk singing legend – influencing Jimmy Buffet along the way and leading him to dedicate his album, Fruitcakes, to Rogers.

Called a “national treasure” by journalists, Rogers was well known for his songs about Oklawaha, Florida, a fictional town full of colorful characters and stories. He was also known for his guitar playing and uncanny ability to captivate any audience for which he performed. He reintroduced the art of story telling and served as the proverbial father of Florida Folk Music. He also released several albums, some posthumously. His albums included The Lord Gives Me Grace And The Devil Gives Me Style, Sorry is As Sorry Does, Signs of a Misspent Youth, and Good Causes.

Rogers became most revered not for his musical acts but for his act of bravery, an act that ultimately led to his death. In October of 1991, while camping in Flagler Beach, Florida, Rogers heard someone who needed help. He followed the voice to find a man named Raymond Tracey stuck in rough water. Rogers jumped in and made the ultimate sacrifice: he saved the life of Tracey and lost his own life in the process.

Folk singing, unlike other genres of music, does not belong to the young: many folk singers get better with age. Because of this, Rogers, at the time of his death, seemed to be just getting started, leaving the world of folk music to shake its head and wonder what might have been.

For his musical talent, he was inducted to the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 1987 and posthumously given a Folk Heritage Award in 1993. For his sacrificing act, Rogers was awarded the Kiwanis Award for bravery and the Carnegie Award for heroism. The area of the beach where Rogers met his death was renamed The Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area at Flagler, Beach and a school in St. Augustine was renamed The Gamble Rogers Middle School in St. Augustine. Rogers memory, his songs, and tributes to him also live on at the Gamble Rogers Memorial Foundation, a foundation set up with the purpose of never forgetting a legend.

Gambling Addiction and Its Behavioral Effects

Gambling addiction is a serious mental health disorder, which can be identified in two ways: a person either a) continuously bet on things using money or objects that hold value even though negative consequences arise as a result, or, b) they cannot stop gambling even if they desired to. People suffering from gambling addiction often display a strong urge to bet on a wide-range of gambling mediums-from sports games to poker, to choosing lottery numbers and throwing dice. And although friends and family members of compulsive gamblers don’t see the symptoms physically, like they often do with alcoholics or drug abusers, the consequences gambling addiction has serious implications on their lives as well as the lives of their friends and families. Not realizing its severity or taking it too lightly can be devastating for the addicted gambler in the long run. Gamblers can reach a point of literally losing everything, from cars, to homes, to businesses, and even respect from those they care about.

It’s well-known that Florida is notorious for providing “the hotspot” for gamblers all over the world, as well as its residents. But how many gamblers actually endure financial problems? A recent survey by the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling shed light on card playing, reporting that 70% of these people had trouble paying their bills. But here’s the worst part, which is known to be a side-effect of excessive gambling–1 in 3 of these card players admitted to having participated in illicit activities in order to finance their gambling. Playing cards isn’t as harmless as we thought; criminal activity is still a cause for concern.

Gambling addicts are not always obvious about their situation; sometimes they don’t even realize it themselves. They don’t dwell on what has been lost as a result of their destructive activities and behaviors. Instead, compulsive gamblers only focus on the gains, or the supposed investment aspect of the games they play. And unlike drug or alcohol addiction, a person addicted to gambling will not display symptoms such as heavy fatigue, sickness, loss of energy or dizziness; instead, other factors are apparent, such as falling into deep financial trouble, losing quality time with the ones they love, and heightening the chances of entering into drug or alcohol addiction.

It’s difficult to establish who has a gambling problem and who doesn’t. Where is the threshold between social gamblers, and abusive gamblers? Are there any red flags? The answer is yes. Pathological gamblers often display one or more of the following signs: negligent of family get-togethers, acts on criminal behavior in order to acquire more stuff to bet on, would rather gamble then hang out with friends, talk excessively about gambling and winning money, use drugs or alcohol to distract them from wanting to gamble more, become irritated when not gambling, neglect vital responsibilities for gambling time, and lying to family and friends about going out gambling. A combination of these signs should be a red flag when identifying a compulsive gambler. But remember, none of these signs mention the amount of times a person gambles in a period of time. It’s not about “quantity.” A person can gamble every day and it may not affect his life. Also, gambling addiction isn’t OK if you’re wealthy; rich gamblers can still have issues like neglecting their loved ones and other vital responsibilities.

Florida is well-known for its casinos, entertainment arenas and cruise ship gambling. But environmental factors such as these may cause people to be more susceptible to the development of gambling addiction. Gambling addiction isn’t a problem that stands alone-it may lead to criminal behavior, psychological distress and depression, and fuel other more dangerous addictions. As stated earlier, a person may fall into drug or alcohol addiction in order to supplement or replace their gambling behavior. The combination of multiple addictions can be devastating and more difficult to treat; it would be like tangling a web of loose strings and trying to unravel them all at once.

Addiction specialists and counselors use a variety of methods in treating gambling addiction effectively, including: helping the addict understand what drives him or her to gamble, replacing their betting habits with more productive activities, understanding how it affects the people they care about, and finally, strengthening one’s will to live a more productive lifestyle. If you notice warning signs that you or your loved one is suffering from gambling addiction, it is crucial to intervene and find treatment before it is too late. Doctors treat gambling addiction as a serious brain disease, and people suffering from it are also prone to drug addiction. The importance of acquiring immediate treatment can be the difference between losing everything, and saving someone’s life.

State Campgrounds on Florida’s East Coast

With all the attractions Florida has to offer, it becomes hard at times to decide which one you may want to do. If the beach is what you are looking for, I recommend camping at one of the State Campgrounds listed below.

Gamble Rodgers Campground at Flagler Beach on A1A is a campground with only thirty four lots. Twenty four of these lots will accommodate any size camper while the rest is best suited for tents, popups, and small campers. Half the lots back up to the Atlantic ocean with most of these having a wonderful view of the ocean. On the North side of the campground is a park with a public beach and picnic area. The ranger station is located on the west side of A1A where there is a picnic area, nature trails, and a boat ramp with access to the Intracoastal Waterway. There is nowhere to ride a bike except on the highway. However, it is only three miles into Flagler Beach which is a good but short bike ride. Gamble Rodgers is an excellent place for the beach lover; however, getting a reservation during beach weather can be hard to do.

Sebastian Inlet State Park located in Melbourne on A1A is divided into two separate parts. South of the inlet is the campground which has over fifty lots that will accommodate most any size camper. Fourteen of these sites have an excellent view of the Sebastian Inlet. This campground is excellent for the fisherman as well as the beach lover. The boat ramp allows for easy access to the Indian River as well as the Atlantic Ocean. Fishing is allowed along the shores of the Inlet as well as the small docks located along the inlet. A short walk east of the campground is the Atlantic Ocean with beautiful beaches for swimming, surfing, and fishing. On the north side of the inlet there is a great place for the younger children to swim in the inlet where there are no currents or surf and the water is shallow. On the ocean side one will find bait and tackle shop, concession stand, bathhouse, and a jetty for fishing.

Little Talbot Island State Park just north of Jacksonville has one of the prettiest beaches along the East coast of Florida. The campground is located on the west side of Heckscher Drive with thirty six sites that are well shaded. Due to the large oak trees this campground has a thirty foot maximum for RV length. Across the road from the campground is five miles of undeveloped beaches, at low tide the sand is packed well enough for bicycle rides along the shore line. In addition, there is a paved road along the island that is great for bicycle riding as well as rollerblading. The nature trail winds through the woods and ends with a spectacular view of the ocean.

Fort Clinch State Park also located just north of Jacksonville at Fernandina Beach has two campgrounds. The circle on the Atlantic Ocean has twenty sites and has no shade, yet they are within easy walking distance to the beaches. The River circle has over thirty lots all under a canopy of oak trees. The campground circles are a little more than three miles apart and have a paved road connecting the two which is great for bike riding or jogging. Also there are several miles of beach that is great for bike riding at low tides.

We spend a week at Gamble Rodgers every year with our site overlooking the ocean. We enjoy walking on the beach as the sun rises over the ocean, what a spectacular view. In the evening with the sun sitting behind the trees, we enjoy getting out our camping grill to cook on and watch the evening sun rays flicker over the calm ocean waves.

Gambling History of United States

Against the popular belief, gambling did not originate in the US. Most of the popular gambling games played in the American casinos have their origin in various foreign locales.

Heritage of gambling is somehow related to the Chinese culture. Chinese culture has been the home of numerous gambling games. Keno, a popular Chinese game is one of the original forms of the lottery games. Keno has evolved over thousands of years and is now played in played in various diluted versions in hundreds of casinos around the globe.

Another ancient Chinese game to have attained popularity has been Pai Gow. Pai Gow Pokr is the Americanized and hybridized version of the original game, it blends in the game of Pai Gow with certain elements of poker, to produce an interesting and simple game, loved by people around the globe and played in numerous casinos. However many critics, quite do not like the new version and banish it for being a too simplistic take on the otherwise “beautiful and complex” game from ancient Chinese culture.

China is not the only country to have contributed to the world of gambling, a number of European games have also made it to the league of popular games in the world of casinos. Games like Craps, Baccarat, Roulette and Black jack, all have roots in parts of Europe. Craps has its roots in the rich heritage of dice throwing games that have been around for a long time.

The game of blackjack also originated in the lap of Europe in Italy and France. While Baccarat catered mainly to the rich, Blackjack was popular amongst the masses. Till date Baccarat tables are reserved in the high roller areas of casinos, while the common people may get a taste of it at smaller tables called the Mini Baccarat tables.

Besides these games other popular betting sports include the spectator sports like thorough bred horse racing. It was developed into the modern sport in England during the 17oo’s. Later the game traveled to the US, with the early british settlers, however the traditions of the game remained relatively unchanged.

Another, relatively uncommon spectator sport is the game of Jai Alai The game because of its speed and relative brevity has become a unique gambling sport. Florida remains the center of the game.

Amongst the latest addition to the list of gambling concepts is internet gambling. Although the history of internet is not really long but even in the short period the relatively novel concept of online gambling market has served up a challenge to the traditional laws of communication in still unexplored ways.

Offshore online gaming casinos have mushroomed in recent years. Not only can the players play poker, blackjack online but also the game of slots can now be played online, in the line of video arcading.

Unhurried and uninterrupted betting is what gets the gamblers looking for a non threatening and private gaming experience to these sites.

Florida Casinos

Florida is well known for Disney, sunshine, amazing beaches and fresh citrus. Every year hundreds of thousands of people make their way to visit Tampa and other places to soak up the sunshine, do some swimming in the ocean at the coastal areas, and to check out Disney, Universal Studios, and other theme parks.

Florida features almost too many great tourist towns to count, including Tampa, Orlando, Cape Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale, Daytona Beach and many more. The Sunshine State has a population of well over 15,980,000 and features great weather year-round, making it a popular destination for those tired of the winter weather up north in areas such as Chicago, St. Louis and Minneapolis. Florida is also the home of many famous writers include the late, great John D. MacDonald. His Travis McGee series was set in many areas around Sarasota, Bradenton and Miami. These bestsellers are still on the racks waiting for non-Floridians to discover them.

In addition to all the great sun, surf and sights, Florida Casinos are a booming business in the Sunshine State. Florida Casinos and Florida gambling include many well-known games; slot machines, table games such as blackjack and Texas Hold-em poker; but also roulette and many other table games. What some don’t know about Florida Casinos is that many of them also feature dog-track betting, which is a famous Florida pastime. Many books have been written which feature a day at the Florida dog track as part of the plot! Florida casinos are an excellent way to discover fun without the need for sunblock and swimwear.

Florida casinos include land-based operations and cruise ship gambling, which offers a classy way to enjoy the state’s gambling and see the sights at the same time. Casino cruises are available everywhere from Cape Canaveral to Port Richey. There is a wide range of experiences on offer from Florida Casinos, the hardest choice you will have is where to start! From the dog track to the roulette wheel, and every game in between, you will find it all at Florida casinos. In Florida you may encounter some casinos that have specific dress codes, so be sure to check online or by telephone to find out what the rules are at each casino. Some Florida casinos specify a casual atmosphere, but may require no tank tops or flip-flops. Know before you go that you should gamble responsibly and above all, have fun!

Law Infringements Lead to Suspension of Poker Tournaments in Florida

For years now, growing revenues from poker play at racetracks have been adding millions to Florida’s tax coffers. The surging popularity of Texas Hold ‘em and tournament poker has added even more fuel to the growth of Florida tax earnings, until now.

Recently, some racetracks decided to up the ante and challenge legal limits on amounts wagered in poker play. Initially, state courts didn’t object to the challenge, allowing the Florida state Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering to increase betting limits at authorized sites. When no-limit wagering at poker tournaments made its debut, however, officials decided to step in and cease all tournament poker activity indefinitely.

Though cash games (mostly low limit) can still be played at the racetracks, some sites, such as Dania Jai-Alai and Melbourne Greyhound Park, have already started to see a drop in patronage. Other card rooms, particularly in southern Florida, reported no significant changes thus far as a consequence of the legal ruling.

There is tremendous competition for clientèle in the gaming industry, mainly from cruise ships, tribal casinos, and online gambling sites. Understandably, then, the ban on poker tournaments has many Florida card room managers concerned. Most of them, however, are hesitant to contest the issue openly since they have a vested interest in the promotion of gambling in the state.

Florida Allows SB 788 No-Limit Poker Gaming Bill to Pass

A new bill has been passed by the Florida State Legislature called the SB-788 No-Limit poker gaming bill. It allows various new venues to hold poker games legally. A good thing for gamblers in the state of Florida is the fact that race tracks are now allowed to have poker games. Previously, games set in Florida had a maximum buy-in at $100, poker tournaments had a maximum limit of $1,000, and the limit bets per round were $5.

Furthermore, one of the biggest changes the sb-788 bill has brought is the hours at which a card room can be open. The new bill has allows card rooms to be open 18 hours a day Monday-Friday, and twenty-four hours a day on the weekends. It has also raised the legal age limit in which a player can play from eighteen to 21 in Seminole nation casinos keeping it in line with the rest of the state. Finally, Hialeah park in Miami-Dade County has been also authorized for poker games.

The SB-788 bill was a widely debated topic before passing by a huge margin. The votes of 82-35 and 31-9 the bill seemed as if it was destined to pass all along even after some believed it was going to be very close. This was largely seen as a facade, because of the estimated $150 million a year in revenue for the state generated by gambling taxes. The billed seemed in good shape as well with Florida State Governor Charlie Christ endorsing the bill.

The Florida SB 788 No-Limit Poker Gaming Bill is just to most recent in a string of legal victories for poker gambling in Florida. As recently as 1996, only low-limit poker gambling was allowed (with a maximum bet of $10 per pot), and even then it was only allowed people’s homes or in community centers. In 1997, when public pari-mutuel betting facilities (including poker card rooms) were allowed to open legally, the $10 per pot limit remained in effect.

In 2003, the $10 pot limit was removed. It was replaced instead by a $2 per round maximum bet, with a limit of only three raises allowed per betting round. In 2007, no-limit poker was legalized in Florida. The new law, however, mandated a maximum buy-in limit of $100. This effectively meant that the highest-stakes poker game in Florida was only a $5/10 NL game.

In 2007, poker rooms were allowed to carry No-Limit games with a maximum buy-in of $100. This was due to the state of Florida passing a new bill legalizing No-Limit poker. By doing this it raised the stakes to the largest ever in the state to $5/$10 No-Limit poker.

Unfortunately, the Florida Supreme Court declared the agreement between the Seminoles and the Governor to be invalid. This was due to the Seminoles disagreeing with the use of the buy-in law, in which they were pressured to abide by the same laws that most casinos in Florida had adopted.

The Governor had overstepped his authority, the court ruled, by not obtaining the State Legislature’s approval of the Seminole agreement first. The Governor dutifully introduced the Florida SB 788 No-Limit Poker Gaming Bill to the legislature, where it recently passed.