GAMBLING AND THE LAW (r):  PIVOTAL DATES by I. Nelson Rose

["Gambling and the Law"(R) is a registered trademark of Professor I. Nelson Rose. Reprinted with permission of the author. Copyright (c)1997 by Professor I. Nelson Rose, Whittier Law School, Los Angeles , CA. All rights reserved.]


Legal gambling has swept across the United States three times. The second wave ended shortly after the turn of the century. We are now in the middle of the third wave of legal gambling.

1909

Nevada outlines casino gambling. By the end of 1910 virtually all gambling is outlawed in the United States.

1917

The 18th Amendment, prohibition, is submitted by the Congress to the states. Prohibition becomes law in 1919 when ratified by the 36th state, Nevada.

1931

Nevada re-legalizes casinos, becoming the only state with legal casino gambling. In the 1930's, 21 states bring back race tracks; low stakes charity bingo spreads throughout the nation.

1933

Prohibition is repealed.

1940's and 50's

Almost all states change their laws to allow parimutuel betting on horses and low stakes charity gambling.

1963

New Hampshire rediscovers the state lottery. The first drawing is held in 1964, the first legal lottery in this century. Players fill out long forms for drawings held only twice a year.

1978

First casino opens in Atlantic City, making New Jersey the second state with casinos. Total pre-opening cost of the first casino, Resorts International: 45.2 million. 1996 gross revenue at same casino: $224.6 million.

1985

First interstate lottery, linking the state lotteries of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

1987

Cabazon case decided by U.S. Supreme Court, affirming the right of Indian tribes to self-regulate high stakes versions of all games not prohibited by state law.

1988

February: State lotteries create first national lottery, "Lotto America."
October: President Reagan signs the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. November: South Dakota voters amend their constitution to allow low-stakes casinos in Deadwood.

1990

New York amends its pari-mutuel wagering law to allow off-track betting operators to accept phone-in bets from residents of other states.

April 1, 1991

Picturesque, low-limit riverboat casinos open in Iowa to nationwide television coverage.........Six months later High-limit riverboat casinos open in Illinois.

1996

By the end of this year, 25 states and three territories have legalized true casinos, through statutes and tribal-state compacts. Many of these are not yet open. At least 12 state lotteries are in the quasi-casino business with VLTs and keno.


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