The United States of America has always had a difficult relationship, to say the least, with the idea of betting. At one time or another, almost every type of wager has been illegal, from lotteries to casino games to placing bets on the Super Bowl. But the worldwide trend is towards the legalization of gambling and the licensing of online casinos to allow people to play games at home.
A major trend started in the US in the 1960s when state lotteries began to be legalized. Previously, the states had largely banned any type of lottery since the scandals of the 1890s. When New Hampshire created a state lottery in 1963, the floodgates opened. Now, 42 of the states and the District of Columbia have state-sponsored lotteries. And even though there are still very old laws on the books prohibiting certain actions in regards to participating in lotteries, none of them are enforced any longer.
When states began to see the amount of money coming in from the sponsorship and promotion of lotteries, combined with the great advances in communication technology since the 1960s, it was inevitable that other types of games would be legalized. Beginning with Indiana in 2001, some states now have “second chance” lotteries that are played solely online, in addition to other games of chance such as keno.
Betting on Indian tribal land has also been legal for decades and is a very popular destination for Americans. As the state lotteries began to gain in popularity, other types of betting, such as horse race gambling and off track betting on horses, began to decline in participation numbers. In order to expand with the times, off track betting companies now offer wagering on horse races from all over the country in real time.
Possibly the final nail in the coffin preventing the United States government from embracing online gambling and offshore betting was the recent decision by the World Trade Organization that found the US discriminates in its gambling policies. While it allows state-licensed cross-border wagering on horses, it does not allow foreign licensing of such companies.
While the government lawyers during the George W. Bush administration attempted to claim that this is not what the US law does, their arguments have repeatedly fallen on deaf ears at the WTO. Antigua, a popular country for offshore online casinos and the country that brought the case against America, has seemingly won the argument in favor of online gambling being allowed in the USA.
Thus, from a complete ban on most forms of gambling in the late nineteenth century, to the legalization of state-sponsored lotteries and other games, to the recent WTO decision attempting to force open America for all kinds of offshore casinos, the world is trending towards the legalization of betting on sports and playing casino games. This article does not even mention the enormity of casino-centered tourist destinations in the country such as Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Northwest Indiana, and Indian casinos. It seems like the entire world — except for the US Congress and Justice Department — is accepting of online gambling.
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