USA Online Casino & Gambling Legislatic

Even though the USA is home to the second biggest gambling location in the world, it holds a very outdated view of gambling. Gambling is heavily restricted in the USA, and all laws related to gaming activities are influenced by US history.


History of Gambling in the USA


Gambling games appeared in America when the first French and British colonies settled. Naturally, as settlers inhabited different locales, their cultures varied greatly, hence each community perceived gambling in a different way. Naturally, some communities embraced gambling and even used it as a means of funding in order to improve numerous schools and universities during the 18th century. Eventually, the British decided to impose restrictions on lotteries in 1769, and this is said to have fuelled tensions between settlers and the Crown even before the War of Independence.


As the country progressed, gambling activities spread and more forms of gambling began to emerge. In many communities, private gambling businesses slowly developed, but lotteries continued to be used, too. As time passed, New Orleans was established as the nation’s leading gambling centre.  


During the mid-19th century, however, anti-gambling attitudes developed among the American public, and in communities where these forces were especially popular, state lotteries came to an end. On top of that, with the spread of railroads, the Mississippi River Boat industry got seriously affected, and this further limited gambling actions.


After the Civil War, the country needed to conduct various reconstructions; to raise money for those, many states resolved to return lotteries and some other forms of gambling. By the beginning of the 20th century, however, gambling had been banned once again, and this time it was outlawed throughout the country.


Gradually, gambling activities became even more limited, and this created numerous opportunities for illegal gambling. Not surprisingly, illegal gambling activities were especially popular during the First World War and the subsequent Prohibition Era. Later on, the Great Depression was seen as an opportunity to legalize some forms of gambling, and Nevada slowly emerged as a gambling mecca.


Nevada was the only place where gambling activities were legal until 1977 when New Jersey decided to legalize gambling in Atlantic City. The city, which was previously seen as a run-down slump, grew rapidly and became one of the most significant tourist destinations in the USA. Subsequently, in 1979, the Seminole tribe established the first US reservation-based gambling facility, thus starting a trend that would be followed by many.


Gambling remained legal in Nevada and Atlantic City exclusively until the 1990s, when riverboat casinos were legalized in several states. In the mid-1990s, the state of Michigan legalized gambling in Detroit, and when Internet technologies became widely available, some gambling activities were brought online.

According to, in present-day America, gambling is considered legal under the US federal law, but online gambling activities still face severe restrictions. It is up to each state to regulate or prohibit gambling within its borders. Still, the only places in the US where casino-style gambling is legal are Louisiana and Nevada.

The fact that there are only two places where casino-style gambling is legal does not mean that the US gambling industry is not lucrative, though. As a matter of fact, according to Business Insider, US casinos were worth a total of $240 billion in 2013. The news website also explains that a total of 1.7 million people were working in the gambling industry back in 2013.


Sports Betting in the USA


Sports betting has a rich history in the USA. At first it was legal, then after the White Sox Scandal of 1919, the activity got banned in many states. In 1949, Nevada legalized sports betting, but there was a 10% tax on all bets, which caused many sportsbooks to close up shop. It was only in 1974 that the tax was reduced to 2%, and this caused a rebirth in sports betting activities in Nevada.

However, most sports wagering activities were maintained by the American mob, which caused a series of restrictive regulations to be passed. Arguably the most notable sports betting restrictive bill was the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, simply known as PASPA.

PASPA effectively outlawed betting on the outcome of a single sporting event throughout the US, excluding several states.

Following New Jersey’s attempts to legalize sports betting activities, however, Supreme Court ruled  PASPA unconstitutional under the Tenth Amendment. US news website USA TODAY has noted that by legalizing sports betting, legislators effectively open the door for casinos, racetracks, and daily fantasy sports sites to set up legitimate businesses on US territory. That way, sports wagering enthusiasts will no longer have to visit potentially fraudulent sites which might not pay out to winners who have won way too much.

According to USA TODAY, some daily fantasy sports sites have already established platforms for legitimate sports wagering. Additionally, websites like DraftKings claim that they have already paid out nearly $5 billion across all sports.


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Written by: Teri Marin

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