Gambling Explodes in Chinatown with Thousands on the Line

It may be illegal to gamble in city parks, but police look the other way when it comes to gamblers in Columbus Park, Chinatown, which is located in downtown Manhattan. Gambling organizers show up at sunrise in the early morning and mark their territory, covering the tables with green felt. 

Locals complain that gambling scares away tourists from the park, which is at the center of Chinatown. This doesn’t deter punters who can enjoy the same high stakes as in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. They would rather have the convenience of playing in the park than traveling to either destination. 

Online gambling in New York

Nothing like what happens in Columbus Park seems to happen anywhere else in New York. Online gambling is still illegal in New York. Authorization of online casinos in New York is only likely to happen in 2023 or maybe even beyond. 

The state does have land-based casinos where New Yorkers can play. New Jersey is not that far from New York, and people can play at NJ online casino sites as internet gambling is legal there. New Jersey gambling laws are among the least restrictive in the U.S. 

Interactions between players and dealers 

Players in Columbus Park speak mostly Chinese languages and puff away cigarettes as they wave around hundred dollar bills. The interaction between the players and the dealers seems much like the banter that takes place in any land-based casino. There are the high rollers who gloat about the money they win and losers who mutter about the unfairness of the games. The scene plays out every day of the week in the park. 

A vibrant community

The story of Chinatown reveals how a group of people bound by geography, language, culture and economy during hostile times has become a vibrant and proud community for Chinese Americans. 

Chinese people have a cultural belief in good luck. They also have a long history of gambling in various forms. When gambling, they believe they can influence outcomes by using symbols of good luck and other lucky charms. Many of them historically come back to the neighborhood after long work hours at work to eat and then blow off some steam by gambling. They will do this instead of going to a bar for fun and entertainment. 

A risky business

Persons convicted of promoting gambling operations in New York can face prison time and hefty fines. In the city parks, it’s not even legal for friends to take bets. Authorities have typically looked the other way in the past because the stakes were modest and the games low-key. 

Over the past year, the pots have risen, and there’s more interest in the games. This follows the trend of increased interest in all forms of gambling, including the desire to play online slots

Police may have more of a presence in Columbus Park now and occasionally demand tents be lowered. This doesn’t stop organizers from quickly putting them up again and starting the games when they leave.