Gambling legislation in the USA

Legislation system regulating gambling business in the USA had a long path in its development – from a complete ban on gambling to turning this branch into an inexhaustible source of state’s income.

Being a typical kind of leisure for Americans at the beginning of the 18th century, now they are allowed only in 47 states, and even than certain limitations apply. Being fully legalized only in Nevada and New Jersey, the industry still finds its ways to function in the other states, by finding the slightest slopes in legislation. When casinos cannot function on the ground, they are opened on cruise liners, river boats, and even on the territory of Indian reservations, where special laws apply.

Fun fact

With the raising of discussions regarding legitimacy of gambling business in the 18th century, gambling found its new form of legitimate and organized business with its capital in New Orleans. Here, on the shore of Mississippi river, the first floating casinos were built. This trick was applied by casino owners from Illinois, Louisiana, and Iowa, the states where according to the legislation “it is forbidden to gamble on land”.

The subsequent years were unstable, characterized by chaotic decisions- from providing the licenses to casino providers to a complete ban of casinos.

Interestingly, but it was a tough economical situation, which pushed government to legalize gambling again – the Great Depression let to prospering of casinos, racing, lotto,  and other types of gambling.

There have been a few more ups and downs, which led to the current gambling laws in the USA:

  • Law, which officially vindicates crooked gamblers from 1987
  • Law regulating gaming business on the territory of Indian reservations from 1988
  • Law regulating rights of professional gamblers and amateurs from 1992
  • Law on races, regulating activities of bookmaker offices from 2000

One of the major peculiarities of US gambling legislation is that both state and federal laws apply in each particular territory, leading to differences in licensing and taxation.

Two US States – Utah and Hawaii have banned gambling activities on their territories.

Nevada is truly considered to be a world center of gambling industry, attracting more than 50 million tourists yearly. It counts more than 2,000 gaming locations with hundreds of thousands slots, and thousands of tables. Nevada has no limitations for gambling, however all the casinos have to be located only in one district of the city, and there is a strict ban for casinos in vicinity of schools and churches.

Online casino

The popularity of online casinos was characterized by a rapid growth in the US, however, tough legislation was still limiting certain online gambling activities, which led to the fact that thousands of US citizens started gambling on foreign online casino websites, which in its turn led to funds flow-off. The problem of funds leaving the country turned into a law, which totally banned gambling activities on the territory of US since 2006.

Foreign companies had to lead the market, and up to now the situation hasn’t changed for better. Even though some online casinos managed to function illegally up to 2011, big fines and strict government control cancelled their activities. The experts don’t dare to build a forecast for future of online casinos in the US.

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