All You Need to Know about the History and Regulation of Gambling in the US

The world of gambling in the USA has a long and exciting history, and it’s interesting to know a little bit about it if you’re planning to have some good old-fashioned fun with games of chance and skill yourself. Even before the Europeans came to settle in the American lands, the natives had a culture of betting on physical competitions, and with new games introduced by the settlers, gambling became an integral part of American culture.

From the American Civil War to miners in the Gold Rush, it has long been a favorite pastime. What made it all tricky business, however, was the gambling prohibition in the early 20th century. Gambling had to go underground. Here’s all you need to know about the history and regulation of gambling in the states.


Because gambling went underground due to the gaming prohibition, it quickly fell under the control of the mafia, whereby it received a bad reputation. Las Vegas quickly became the center and inspired many stories in the form of film and literature. Las Vegas is still – and will probably remain – the gambling center, even though the activity has been legalized and regulated in other states.

Types of casinos

Since each state in the US is able to form its own gambling rules and regulations, casinos vary greatly from state to state. Even within the same state there can be many differences as each casino can specialize in certain games. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Commercial casinos – run by private enterprises
  • Non-commercial casinos – run by government agencies and charity organizations
  • Tribal casinos – run by native Americans on tribal lands

States where gambling is legal

Complete, state-wide legalization of gambling is still only implemented in two states: Nevada and Louisiana. In other states, commercial gambling is restricted to small, specific areas. When it comes to non-commercial casinos, only six states have not yet passed any legalization.

Online gambling

A lot of regulations and legal issues have arisen regarding online gambling and betting because of the unclear definition of betting and gambling and local laws. If you are in doubt, check your local laws, as they are applicable.

The world of gambling – in the United States as well as globally – is sure to transform itself more and more as we continue to move into this wonderful age of technology and innovation; and this is great news for the gamer, and multiple platforms will increasingly compete and offer players more variety, greater payouts, and increasingly attractive bonuses. For those who enjoy wagering a little money on chance or skill, it’s an exciting time indeed.