History Of Gambling In The USA

Understanding the history of gambling in the USA is key to understanding the gambling laws that govern the country. Many kinds of gambling are approved by the government thanks to historical factors. Chief among them are tribal casinos, approved by the government thanks to compacts made with Native American tribes back in the settlement days.

In addition, certain states are grandfathered in as far as gambling regulations go. This is how places like Las Vegas, Nevada and Atlantic City, New Jersey can stay open, even with regulation against casinos at the federal level. This page will cover historical gambling events in the US, and how they tie in to the current day gambling landscape.


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Bovada - A Historical Gambling Site

One constant throughout the history of gambling in the USA is that Bovada has been around since the internet was invented. The ability of the internet to connect people allowed gamblers in the USA to connect to gambling providers overseas, and multiple legal determinations have found this to be acceptable. This means you can use Bovada safely from inside the US, and nothing can stop you in terms of accessing the best legal gambling site around.

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Types Of Regulated Gambling

According to the American Gaming Association, there are seven different types of regulated gambling in the United States.

1. Public & Private Card Rooms
2. Legal bookmaking
3. Commercial Casinos
4. Charitable/Bingo Games
5. Native American Gambling Casinos
6. Lotteries
7. Pari-mutuel Betting

New Jersey’s State Lottery – 1963

In 1963, New Jersey became the first state to open a state lottery. This opened the doors for many other states to start considering the same types of initiatives. State lotteries often send money to education programs or other programs related to social welfare, as a way of offsetting the perceived moral negative of sanctioning gambling. Many states adopted this policy, and now less than ten states do not operate a state lottery.

States With No State Lottery


Tribal Casinos

Casinos that operate on Native American Reservations do so thanks to the compacts that govern those reservations. Many of these compacts currently contain carveouts for allowing casino gambling on the reservations, or on territory controlled by the tribe. For the most part, this has gone totally unchallenged. This also creates wrinkles in places where the Tribes operate casinos and the state does as well – sometimes, you might see a lower gambling age at Tribal casinos in a state than at the state-sanctioned ones.

The Limits Of Tribal Power – Florida In 2022

Florida’s attempt to use the tribal loophole to provide gambling services to the entire state was an attempt that went poorly. The idea was basically that they would allow the Seminole Tribe exclusive rights to online sports betting, and all online sports betting servers would be stored on Tribal land, and thus fall under the gambling carveouts established by their compact with the state of Florida. A federal judge found this to be a poor rationalization, arguing that if they were providing sports betting to everyone in Florida, people who were not on tribal land could gamble, violating the spirit of the law. The judge proceeded to overturn the sports betting regulation process.

Las Vegas' Gambling History

Nevada regulated gambling in 1931, and it became key to the burgeoning empire of Las Vegas by the time federal regulation was on the table. The state itself regulated the pastime as a response to the Great Depression, a method of raising revenues when most methods were unavailable. Since then, Vegas has become the gambling capital of the world, with the industry providing jobs and revenue to the government of Nevada as well as to local governments. It goes to show just how much power the states wield in this scenario – they can make nearly anything happen.

A History Of Horse Racing

Horse racing traces its roots back to colonial New York in America, where the first races took place. It saw a boom in popularity in the 1800s, with the Kentucky Derby kicking up in 1875. The Derby was the first of the major horse races that survive to today, and is still the most prestigious event in horse racing. In 1894, the American Jockey Club, horse racing’s governing body, was established. This allowed racing to flourish, and to protect itself from gambling regulations. The success of horse racing demonstrates how arbitrary those regulations are – what makes horse racing different from sports betting?