Anyone remember... Old law against advertising 'Billiards'

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I read a long time ago, in passing, that at one time (1800s?) a law was passed making it illegal for billiard parlours to advertise 'Billiards', and so they started advertising 'Pool' instead (I think back when the name referred to the old billiards game). The author suggested this was a factor in pool being accepted as the name of the game we know and love.

I've searched online and looked in some books that I thought I might have read it in, but it's not there. I don't think I'm imagining it...

Has anyone heard this, or is able to point me in the right direction?
 

chefjeff

Nazis are back.
Silver Member


There are articles there about it. Maybe not your specific example, I didn't look that deep.

It's been going on for centuries now, and is still going on.


Jeff Livingston
 
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kling&allen

AzB Gold Member
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I read a long time ago, in passing, that at one time (1800s?) a law was passed making it illegal for billiard parlours to advertise 'Billiards', and so they started advertising 'Pool' instead (I think back when the name referred to the old billiards game). The author suggested this was a factor in pool being accepted as the name of the game we know and love.

I've searched online and looked in some books that I thought I might have read it in, but it's not there. I don't think I'm imagining it...

Has anyone heard this, or is able to point me in the right direction?

Typically it was the inverse. "Pool" and "Pool hall" once referred to pooled gambling halls, where people would gather to drink and "pool" their bets for horse races, which could be placed over telegraph. These pool halls had billiard tables to entertain the gamblers between horse races.
Pooled gambling was illegal and couldn't be advertised, so many of these pool halls advertised themselves as billiard parlors. The result was that many cities banned both pool and billiards. Not that many years later, the billiard industry (Brunswick) went to great lengths to rebrand pool as "pocket billiards" to disassociate the sport from pooled gambling. And to make it seem more similar to the carom games. Mike Shamos' book "Pool" has good content on this.

Although the exact details have been lost to time, I'm confident that 9-ball was invented at one of these pooled gambling halls in California as a way to have quick (and easily handicapped) matches compared with rotation / 61.
 
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