2 Lottery Promoters Plead Guilt

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2 Lottery Promoters Plead Guilt


This brief article gives an overview of the outcome to the 1965 court case wherein a small corporation attempted to use Palmyra as their base of operations for an illegal gambling operation. Specifically, holding a lottery against the outcome of the Kentucky Derby for that year.






November 9, 1965


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LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Two promoters of the defunct American Sweepstakes Corp. Monday pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate California laws prohibiting lotteries.

Robert W. Wilson of Arcadia, ex-president of the corporation; and Willard R. Reynolds of San Gabriel, Wilson's former bodyguard, along with another defendant were scheduled for trial Monday before Superior Court Judge Bernard Lawler, but changed their pleas from innocent to guilty.

The third defendant, John P. Brown of Arcadia, is scheduled for trial today.

The three, who allegedly operated the worldwide lottery from the corporation's office in East Pasadena, were indicted by a county grand jury last March on five counts each of violating corporate security regulations and conspiring to hold a lottery.

The trio attempted to promote a state lottery, but the measure was defeated in the November 1964 election.

According to the indictment, a week after the lottery initiative failed the promoters conspired to launch an illegal lottery on the May 1 running of the Kentucky Derby. Lottery tickets, printed under the auspices of the promoters, stated that the drawing would be held on Palmyra Island in American Polynesia and that one fourth of the profits would be donated to a cancer foundation. However, the corporation ultimately lost its lease on the island.

During the investigation of the lottery, sheriff's vice squad officers allegedly confiscated 30,000 lottery books, each containing two dozen tickets.

Original Format




“2 Lottery Promoters Plead Guilt,” Palmyra Archive, accessed April 25, 2019, http://palmyraarchive.org/items/show/180.

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