At what period in history did people start to gamble? The exact period is unknown but believe it or not, pairs of dice have been found in Egyptian tombs over 4,000 years old! Also, gambling games were played in ancient China, where Poker is thought to have originated. In 1492 during the Columbus landing, Native Americans were sports betting on the outcome of a game resembling LaCross. So when did it all start in America? Read on.
Gambling in America started with the first English settlers in the 1600’s. Their traditions included card games that were part of the aristocratic lifestyle. However, when Puritans colonized in Massachusetts Bay they had the freedom to create their own culture which included hostility towards gambling. They outlawed the possession of dice, cards, and gambling table games in their communities. Nevertheless, gambling prevailed in other localities. Many English colonists considered gambling to be a suitable form of entertainment.
The colony of Virginia was the first to realize that lotteries could raise capital for local governments. Eventually all 13 colonies were raising lottery revenue. Proceeds helped build Universities like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Lotteries also funded churches and libraries. Founding Fathers George Washington, Ben Franklin, and John Hancock were promoters of specific lotteries for public works projects. When the Revolutionary War started, the Continental Congress voted for a $10 million lottery to finance the war.
During the early 1800’s the taverns and road houses allowed dice and card games, creating the first version of casinos. As America’s population began to increase, casinos became more lavish. The Mississippi River was a major trade route where merchants and entrepreneurs brought their cash. Gambling on riverboats became a favorite pastime and New Orleans became the gambling capitol of America. In 1849 gambling followed the pioneers to California during the gold rush. Gambling establishments began to flourish there and west of the Mississippi, including Nevada. In the late 1800’s Roulette was adopted from France and the Slot Machine was invented.
Much of the public viewed gambling as a social ill because it was linked to alcoholism and prostitution. Reformers convinced jurisdictions to shut down the Dens of Iniquity. Most states discontinued lotteries as well. Riverboat gambling dried up with the advent of the railroad. By the end of the century only Nevada allowed gambling.
In 1910 Nevada finally shut the door on gambling, which left horse race wagering the only legal entity in America. In 1912 Arizona and New Mexico were granted statehood under the condition that gambling remain outlawed. During the 1920’s prohibition era, the public’s thirst for gambling matched that of alcohol. Casinos went underground along with the speakeasys. In 1931 Nevada legalized gambling again and remained the only state to do so until the latter half of the century. Gambling flourished underground as organized crime made heavy investments in Nevada, and prospered by controlling off track betting and the numbers lottery.
During the 1950’s the U.S. Senate investigated organized crime’s link to illegal gambling. Eventually the mob departed Las Vegas. States put bookies out of business by legalizing off track betting and numbers games. Atlantic City approved gambling in 1976, the Indian Gaming Act was approved by congress in the late 1980’s. Dockside riverboat gambling made a comeback, racetracks installed slot machines while Las Vegas reinvented itself by building mega resorts during the 1990’s.
The American Gaming Association reported that there are 832,988 slot machines spread out over 1,151 casinos and racetracks across 44 states with more on the way. It appears that the American culture’s thirst for gambling matches that of the Egyptian Pharaohs! America has embraced gambling as an acceptable form of entertainment.
For better or for worse, online gambling is coming to New Jersey.
In late February, Chris Christie officially signed into law a bill that legalized internet gambling in Atlantic City.
Initially the bill was vetoed by the Governor because of issues surrounding transparency and taxes. Lawmakers adjusted the text and the amended bill passed by an overwhelming majority in the legislature and earned Christie’s seal of approval.
Here are the basics of the bill:
– Casinos located in Atlantic City will be able to apply for a license to offer online gambling. Only the twelve official Atlantic City casinos will be eligible for the license. No other organizations can offer internet gambling, and face stiff fines if they do. All facilities used for the operation of internet gambling must be located within city limits; only bets that are received by a server in Atlantic City will be legal.
– Players must be “physically present” in New Jersey to place wagers. In the future, New Jersey may develop agreements with other states where internet gambling is legal to permit out-of-state gambling. The casino’s equipment must verify players’ locations before accepting wagers.
– Any games available to play in the casinos can be played online. (For comparison, Nevada only allows poker.) As of now, sports betting will not be protected by this bill, although the state of New Jersey is trying to fight the federal statute barring the legalization of sports betting.
– The bill has all kinds of provisions to keep gambling บาคาร่าสูตร addiction at bay, such as requiring the prominent display of the 1-800-GAMBLER hotline number, a way to set maximum bets and losses over a certain period of time, and tracking player losses to identify and limit users who may demonstrate addictive gambling behavior.
– Revenue from online gambling will carry a 15% tax. The Christie administration states that about $180 million in revenue for the state will be generated from this tax, but some analysts think this number is The official regulations, which the bill required the Division of Gaming Enforcement to produce, were and are subject to a “public comment period” until August 2 before being finalized. These rules include details such as how a casino acquires the appropriate licenses and procedures for maintaining network security on gambling sites.
So, will online gambling actually benefit the state?
Revenues from Atlantic City casinos have been on the decline for the past seven years, and online gambling could be what saves the failing casinos. Since 2006, casino revenue has dropped from $5.2 billion to around $3 billion. Online gambling could be a $500 million to $1 billion industry in New Jersey, which may be enough to keep struggling casinos afloat and save jobs in Atlantic City. Further, even though estimates of tax revenue are all over the map, there is potential for online gambling to be a considerably valuable source of money for the state. The casinos will also have to pay a tax to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which will provide further assistance to struggling casinos in Atlantic City.
For the player, low overhead costs mean better prizes and more opportunities to play. Casinos can incent players with free “chips” that have minimal costs for them but give players more opportunities to play and win. The convenience of gambling online allows players to play more with less travel.
One of the goals of the bill is supposedly to attract more people to visit the brick-and-mortar casinos, but it is hard to say if online gambling will actually lead to this outcome. One could speculate it could even cause people to go to the casinos less (However, this seems unlikely; the social element and the free drinks are lost in online gambling. Also, research indicates that, at least with poker, internet gaming does not reduce casino gaming.) Advertising for the host casino will be allowed on the online gambling sites, which could possibly encourage people to visit the casino but could also be annoying for players.
Online gambling could be seriously devastating for people who have gambling addictions, or even cause people to develop them, raising financial and moral concerns. Even with all the preventative steps the bill requires, it will definitely be much harder to cut off compulsive gamblers if they can place bets anywhere with an internet connection.
Regardless, it is going to be a while before the casinos can actually kick off their online gambling offerings. The regulations need to be finalized and casinos need to apply for licensure and develop their gambling websites. This means the casinos will not be enjoying this new source of revenue during the 2013 summer season, which could be Atlantic City’s toughest season ever following recovery from Hurricane Sandy.