Once just a gentleman’s game, U.S. gambling began its rise to the center of attention around 400 years ago. A time where gambling was the root of all evil, yet it could still help the colonies from financial issues. Deliberation over the subject went on for years and still is today, but gambling never stopped to wait for an answer. While challenges were being discussed, different forms of gambling were being created to stave off bankruptcy and other money problems.
The first company to hold a gambling lottery was a bank in Jamestown, Virginia, which’ of course’ was an instant success. It wasn’t like the state lotteries you see today, but still was beneficial for a short period of time. After awhile, England felt as though they weren’t making a profit from this form of gambling, so they ended up banning it from everyone. However, that wouldn’t last long as all thirteen colonies eventually were allowed to hold their own without question.
Four centuries removed, you can drive along the eastern states and see prestigious universities like Harvard, Princeton, and Yale that were all started by revenue created by state lotteries. As several other venues were being built thanks in part to U.S. gambling, greed started to as people in the colonies wanted freedom and independence from England. While this was over several issues, lotteries were one of the bigger issues never mentioned in history books.
Obviously the most prestigious form of gambling at the time, state lotteries weren’t the only U.S. gambling going on around the country. By this time, horse races had already been around since 1665, but most bets were between owners only and not of a spectator kind. Also making its mark on cities throughout the colonies in the 1800s were casino style gambling with cards and dice. As areas grew, so did the size of gambling halls and local watering holes where games could be played.
Then came the Mississippi River and everything it had to offer with barter and trading through several owners. Business this way was quicker, and several well known individuals met on riverboats to play some casino style gambling. This was the true introduction of the professional gambler. Winning enough money in small towns to play on the riverboats with the big boys was a common tale. After awhile, many were thought to be cheaters and many would perish at the hands of people who lost money to them.
Just as the state lotteries were part of the reason for the American Revolution War, it was the Civil War that ended the time of professional gambling in the 1860s. While not the main reason, it created a business stand still, which led to no traffic up and down the great Mississippi. For the next sixty years, gambling would be loved by many and hated by that many more. States that had good fortune would create gambling booms like in California and Nevada, click here
As years moved ahead, people like Al Capone and his mob used gambling money to front their businesses, while at the same time sports were becoming one of the major things to bet on during this period. Fast forwarding to the seventies, lotteries held around the country were making over a billion dollars on a annual basis. Gambling in the United States was considered a normal part of living and still is today.
Now we’re in the 21st century and the gambling business is booming with billions upon billions of dollars being made annually. The Super Bowl is the most anticipated gambling event each year, and land based casinos are popping up all over the country. Still, many Americans protest gambling due to family members who have ongoing problems with controlling their addictions. However, the future looks bright and the government will have a hard time trying to give up all the tax revenue that is made off of gambling alone.