Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Todd Meyers


The study of numbers gambling in Detroit offers an important perspective on the concept and performance of community cohesion within the urban fabric of the United States. Research is limited concerning the role numbers gambling has played in community cohesion. This dissertation expands the knowledge and understanding of numbers gambling in Detroit by determining how numbers gambling (as an underground economic activity) was formed and operated, not only as a form of illegal activity, but as a way to understand community and local enterprise. This project not only looked at the legal issues surrounding numbers gambling in Detroit, but incorporated issues concerning community, race, kinship, history, economics, and politics. This dissertation determined why and how numbers gambling bonded and solidified neighborhoods in Detroit, and explored both the economic and social function of numbers gambling. Finally, this project explored why and how individuals played the numbers in Detroit.