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Second report from UNLV International Gaming Institute examines crime impacts of potential casino-resort in Greater Toronto Area. (Aaron Mayes / UNLV Photo Services)
Second report from UNLV International Gaming Institute examines crime impacts of potential casino-resort in Greater Toronto Area. (Aaron Mayes / UNLV Photo Services)

UNLV Hosts Lecture on Wagering in Ancient Rome

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John Hunt, a professor from Utah Valley University was invited to UNLV by the Center for Gaming Research and University Libraries to speak about wagering in Rome. The event took place in the Goldfield Room in the Lied Library.

In attendance were staff from UNLV including David Schwartz, the director of the Center for Gaming Research at UNLV.

Hunt was in Rome for two years when he noticed the Italian news speaking on people wagering elections.

Wagering on papal elections in Renaissance Rome was very popular. They would wage on just about anything. It was a way of making money and also a form of political activity.

When asked if there was any theological argument against the banning of betting just as there was against usury, Hunt said “Not so much against usury but more of it’s a waste of time; idle hands. It’s a waste money,” he continued, “I found a great source here [in UNLV Libraries Special Collections] on dicing. It says that [gambling] causes people to curse and blaspheme God. Another thing is it caused a lot of fights. Those are some of the primary reasons.”

When Hunt was asked why Sixtus V and Gregory XIV were so against the paper wagering he said “It’s really Paul IV who actually doesn’t like the Council of Trent because he feels like it’s going to weaken the authority.”

“Sixtus V was seen as trying to clean up the streets. He is the one responsible for creating all the straight streets particularly the one that goes from Santa Maria Maggiore to Popolo,” Hunt said.

Hunt’s passion for Medieval and Renaissance history is goes beyond Utah Valley University.

“I am originally from Indiana and obtained my Ph.D. in history from Ohio State University. I write essays and articles on Renaissance history, and papers at conferences and seminars throughout the U.S. and the world,” Hunt said. “I have been giving papers on the history of Rome in the Renaissance on a regular basis since 2009. I generally try to give four to six papers a year at various location throughout the world,” Hunt said.

“This year I gave a paper in March at the Renaissance Society of America’s meeting in Berlin in March,” he said. “In May of this year, I will give another paper at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. And in October I will give a paper at the meeting of the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference’s meeting in Vancouver, Canada,”  

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