The people of the United States and their government have always had an ambivalent view of gambling, including lotteries, casino games and sports betting. Even today, with gambling being legal in various Indian states and tribal areas, most people see the activity as illegal or immoral. And the state of the law with regard to gambling in any case just makes the situation even more difficult to resolve for most people living in the USA.
Throughout the country’s history, the legalization and criminalization of gambling has continued in cycles. First, no game is legal, but it is impossible to enforce these laws. Reforms are made to allow some types of games, which leads to more liberalization of laws and more types of betting to become legal. Inevitably, corruption appears on a small scale, then on a large scale, and scandals become the focus of media attention. As a result, the reform is again illegal.
This cycle has been repeated countless times in American history, and we are currently facing a third wave of legalization. This third wave started during the Great Depression, as some states went from a complete ban on legal gambling to allowing certain types of horse racing and off-track betting. Nevada also allowed casino games during the 1930s. The cycle gained momentum in the 1960s with the first state-sponsored lottery in New Hampshire and the promotion of legal casinos in Indian tribal lands.
Once the door was opened to state lotteries, various types of games began to become legal and legitimate types of business sports betting sites, if not openly adopted and accepted in general. Governments began to allow different types of casino games and betting in order to generate tax revenue, and even participated in various plans to promote these lotteries and casinos. New Jersey allowed legal casinos in the 1970s and Indian tribal lands gained the ability to create them during the 1980s.
In the early 1990s, Iowa allowed play on the river, and several other states allowed legal types of play. The point of no return has been reached, leading to the situation today: 48 of the 50 states in the US allow some form of commercial gambling, and three of the five government-owned territories also allow it. The only two highlights are Utah and Hawaii, and even Hawaii now allows social games, although it does not sponsor gambling at the state level.
The only obstacle left for the US to jump is the legalization of offshore online casinos operating in the country. With literally thousands of different online gaming sites, most of them based in foreign countries, the global trend is to legalize, license and regulate gambling institutions, rather than just banning or restricting trade. And it is probably only a matter of time before these companies are legally allowed to operate in the United States of America.