The history of gambling in the USA is a long one and not without bumps along the way. Both live and online gambling establishments have run into legal trouble in the US over the years thanks to conflicting lobbies and a variety of interests that could often not see eye to eye.
Today, online gambling is finally legal in some capacity in the vast majority of the country, but this was not always the case.
In fact, eGaming operators were prosecuted by the US authorities for many years, often even beyond American borders and in spectacular fashion.
Even today, most of the eGaming sites you can find in places like captaingambling.com are still banned in the US, but legal operators do finally exist, so we take a look at how we got here and how things were in the past.
Gambling Industry in the US
Unlike most other countries that regulate gambling on a country-wide level, the US is in a unique position, as its federal system means that only the most important matters for the nation are decided on that level.
Most other things, including gambling, fall to the states, and states can differ quite a bit in terms of what they allow and what they do not.
To this day, states like Utah and Hawaii ban all sorts of gambling across the state, without any exceptions, which probably sounds quite wild in this day and age.
On the other side of the spectrum are states like Nevada and New Jersey, which host gambling heavens not only for Americans but for players from across the globe.
The conflicting interests of gambling operators, religious groups, associations for the prevention of problem gambling, and countless others have shaped the industry over the years.
The dawn of online gambling saw many operators jump at the opportunity to cater to American players, but the US government would have none of it.
Online Gambling Ban in the US
When online gambling first came to the US, there was little resistance to it, as it was a new industry that no one could anticipate would get so big.
However, as the internet grew and online gambling operators became more influential than ever, live gaming lobbies saw a very real danger to their interests, as did the legislators who realized that much of the online gambling money was leaving the US and going to offshore accounts never to be seen again.
It was for that reason that a series of laws were passed over the years and previous laws related to telephone gambling were used to suppress all forms of online gambling in the country.
The events of what became known as “Black Friday” in the online poker industry showed the world just how serious the US authorities could get in prosecuting any offshore gambling operators defying these laws, which caused most of them to retreat forever.
The Emergence of Legal Online Gambling in the US
While many in the country were against it, there were still some people of influence who believed legalizing the activity could be good for their states and the country.
By finally taxing online gambling, states could bring billions into their budgets, which is why the likes of Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan were some of the pioneers of the fight to make online gambling legal in the US.
Today, these and many other states offer legal sports betting, while online casino games and poker are also available in a handful of states and more are likely to follow in the near future.
What seemed like an impossible journey finally came to a happy end, and US players are looking at a bright future that may well see them get the right to play whatever games they want anywhere in the country.