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Positive Aspects of Gambling in California

The characteristic venture of this speculative era was real estate, a field where people of even modest means could profit quickly as land values climbed.

Every newcomer to the region needed a place to live so the lands surrounding the former Mexican pueblo were subdivided again and again to accommodate an ever-increasing market.

Those who saw city lots as a sure thing were occasionally disappointed when busts followed booms, but an optimistic attitude toward land prevailed because the general trend of prices was clearly upward.

Other economic activities added to the venturesome mentality.

The petroleum industry that boomed from the 1890s into the 1920s became a 'charnel house of speculation' reminiscent of the Comstock; citizens wagered not on the oil wells underfoot, but on corporate stocks marketed by questionable dealers.

During the 1920s, the automobile's influence on Southern California proved similar. The money that circulated around the auto trade fueled additional bursts of economic activity.

It did not take much to become an entrepreneur in Los Angeles, and, with fantastic rate of growth and civic commitment to expansion, there seemed to be luck enough for every plunger.

Because the boom in Southern California provided so many opportunities for people looking to get ahead, the region attracted hundreds of thousands of migrants eager to test their fortune.

The numbers of these new comers naturally served to prolong the economic explosion in Los Angeles. Even more importantly, the high expectations of recent arrivals reinforced the speculative look of the region.

Migrants were taking a chance in coming to see that their life's gamble paid off. The city emerged as a center of gambling culture because, as destination for wave upon wave of westering people, from the late nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries, its society remained a frontier governed by the attitudes and movement of westward migration.

Even if the frontier as place had disappeared, the frontier as process endured in society on the Pacific slope, particularly around Los Angeles.

Migrants brought to the region the individualistic quest for opportunity that they had taken to other Wests.

In Southern California, they found their pursuits enhanced by technological advances such as movies and automobiles., which not only enriched the good life that this frontier promised but also generated new styles of living.

Many Angelenos hoped to reestablish eastern cultural standards in their adopted home, but they had also come to the West Coast in reaction against the East and its crowded cities, foreign immigrants, and harsher climate.

By adopting new technologies and new patterns of urban living, they set themselves apart from Atlantic Coast civilization.