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History of Gambling in the United States

by Rammy Johnson
( August 12 2008 15:55:0 )
Read a Brief History on Gambling in the United States from the original settlers till today! Throughout history the United States has allowed different forms of gambling both legal and illegal.

The First Wave

  • Early settlers in America had 2 basic views on gambling, the first was the English view and the second was the puritans. The different settlements were set up on the beliefs of the people settling them. New England and Pennsylvania are 2 examples or areas that adopted the views of the Puritans.


  • Most of the other areas settled felt that gambling was a harmless vice. In these areas gambling was a popular and accepted activity. But only games considered to be gentlemanly were made legal.

The Second Wave

  • The western expansion and exploration kicked off the second wave. As wagon trains headed west, there were dangers involved in moving west and when people had a chance to relax and drop there guard they did so by gambling.


  • The gold rush in California quickly made California the center of gambling in America. People were getting rich mining for gold and they needed a place to spend the money, at one point the desire to gamble was so strong people would spend forty thousand dollars annually on a 15 foot by 25 foot tent to open a casino, Payable in advance with gold dust.


  •  The great depression helped brought about a much larger legalization of gambling. The government decriminalized some forms of gambling to help stimulate the economy. Bingo was one of the games made legal so churches could hold games to try and raise money. People had no money, and if they came across some they would try to turn it into more money to feed there family.


  •  In 1931 the state of Nevada legalized most forms of gambling to help bring in tourists on there was west. Gambling in Nevada was struggling until the end of ww2 when the American economy got back on its feet and the people had money to travel and gamble.


  • From 1894 till 1964 lotteries were illegal. They had been used to raise money in the early days of the colonies but were eventually made illegal. But this led to illegal lotteries being played. The reason it was finally made legal in 1964 was because the government needed to increase tax revenues but they did not want to raise taxes, so by making the lottery legal they could then take the money made from it.

What Could End Gambling's Third Wave?

  • From the history of gambling I have learned that nothing could end the third wave making gambling illegal again would not wipe it out. It would just go underground back room casinos would pop up all over the place like the speakeasies of prohibition


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