Ybor City: Tampa's Latin Colony

Ybor City:  Tampa's Latin Colony


  • Ybor City: Tampa's Latin Colony

Published Date

  • published 1941


[page 4]
cottage is separated from the living quarters by chicken wire in order to
conform to Government regulations. Every member of the family helps in
the rolling and packing of cigars.

An old Spanish resident of Ybor City described it facetiously but
graphically in these words; "Ybor City's principal industries are cigar-
making and gambling; its principal recreations are love-making and arguing."

Gambling, closely tied to the political life of the colony, is not only a
popular pastime but a lucrative "industry" as well. Most of the Latins are
addicts of games of chance such as lotteries, bolita, and slot machines. The
annual "take" from these devices runs into millions of dollars, and the
telephone company reports a peak load at the time bolita is thrown. Bolita
or "little ball" is played with 100 balls and a sack. The balls, placed in the
sack are shaken up and tossed to someone near the dealer. The sack is
caught, and the ball in hand is cut out and displayed as the winning number.
A small "piece" can be bought for 10 cents, and the winner gets 80 to 1.

The profits from gambling are so enormous that the professionals are
unabled [sic] to buy up elections in some precints [sic], thus protecting their
establishments. Voting together almost solidly on all political issues, the
Latin element in Tampa experiences a powerful influence even in State
issues. An increasing number of Latins are being elected and appointed