Gambling has a vast history in the United States, and it has been present in one form or another ever since the country’s inception.
Throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, horse racing, dice, and card games were the game of choice for illegal gambling activities of elite members of society as well as the working class. Gambling regulations were minimal to non-existent, and owners of gambling establishments would often resort to bribery as means of “licensing” their on-going operations.
The Great Depression – 1929 to 1932 – took a heavy toll on the majority of countries across the globe, including the United States. In an effort to combat its effects and bring about an economic boost, the state of Nevada legalized many forms of gambling in 1931.
However, it wasn’t until the 1950’s that gambling in Nevada truly started picking up steam, particularly in Las Vegas. The city’s quick proximity to key states such as California led to an influx of gambling enthusiasts and a subsequent boom in gambling.
Yet, due to the country’s history of illegal gambling, the majority of Vegas’ gambling establishments were owned by shady figures and thus linked to criminal activity. In the 1960s, however, reputable businessmen started investing and purchasing the most popular casinos and hotels in Vegas, ridding the city of its links to organized crime.
The current state of gambling in Las Vegas today needs no further explanation, as everyone is aware it is the de-facto gambling capital of the Western world. In 1977, New Jersey legalized gambling in Atlantic City, which revitalized tourism in the city and brought about a spiral of positive economic effects. To date, Atlantic City remains a highly sought after tourist destination in the US, primarily because of its gambling establishments.
Many forms of land-based gambling are widely legal across the United States, but Atlantic City and Vegas’ are the main gambling hubs. Nonetheless, it is comforting to know that no matter your location in the states, a gambling establishment should be a few hours ride away, at worst. Some popular US land casinos are Caesar’s Palace, The Bellagio, the Ameristar Casino & Hotel, Blue Lake, Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel & Casino, and so forth.