This article is an analysis of US Gambling trends based on statistic data gathered from various sources.

US Gambling Trends across the States

US Gambling Trends

Gambling Origins

Gambling Legislation across the US was left to the individual states to control as part of the US Constitution.

Since the Constitution, the governments of most of the United States saw gambling as a potential evil. Hence it remained outlawed across most states. Gambling trends have been fixed over time by American attitudes.

Gambling has been permitted on tribal lands since the Constitution and many chose to set up gambling venues as a source of revenue.


The only form of gambling allowed across most of the US is the lottery and in the main, that was actively encouraged as a form of fund raising for good causes. Only the states of Alabama, Mississippi and Nebraska do not run state lotteries for religious reasons. Also, Alaska does not run one for economic reasons.

Average spending per head on the State Lottery is $115 per year but people in Delaware, Rhode Island and West Virginia spend more than £300 per year.

Twenty one of the states do not legalise any form of casino gambling but it is permitted in a controlled form across the remainder of states.  Most people in the remaining states spend less that $200 dollars per year per head in a casino. People in Louisiana, Mississippi, Delaware all spend close to $1,000 per head per year on casino gambling. People in Nevada spend a massive $4,999 per head every year. That is more than five times more than any other state.

The total revenue generated from gambling in the US is almost $63 billion dollars per year and it contributes to 4% of all government tax revenue. Gambling trends have been fairly consistent over the years.


As we can see from the map, around 20% of the states are interested in passing legislation to permit gambling. Although the social outcomes of gambling may be unwelcome, the revenue from it is a welcome bonus to state revenue. Attitudes are changing as some of the Eastern States are permitting the development of casino style resorts which rival those in Las Vegas. Future US gambling trends are likely to be driven by the private sector. For decades, gambling was not legal across most of America, gambling trends have been pretty fixed over the years.

In December the new MGM National Harbour casino opened in Washington DC at a cost of 1.4 billion dollars. Work has also begun on the new Wynn Boston Harbour Casino at a cost of $2.1 billion dollars.  These developments are privately funded and promise to provide local revenue. The Wynn deal will provide at least $30 dollars to the City of Boston alone over the next 15 years. Up until recently it was necessary to visit Las Vegas to gamble in the US but now there are growing options for Americans.

Maybe the projection of Macau as the gambling centre of the world over the past decade has opened eyes in the US. Macau has out-stripped the gambling revenue of Las Vegas for quite a few years now.

The Future

New resort style casino developments in the US are likely to be spread out to fill catchment areas because they are funded by private money. That makes economic sense and it promotes managed partnerships. It is unlikely that a one off Casino mecca like Las Vegas would ever be developed again. Atlantic City was a worthy attempt but even that proved to be over ambitious for the catchment zone. However, it does make sense to spread casinos around so people can reach them without have to travel thousand of miles.

We do not know the demographics for gambling in the US but perhaps younger Americans are seeing gambling more as a form of recreation. It is now obvious that the rest of the world does see that.

Finally we have to mention online gambling which is the fastest growing trend across the world. Federal laws in the US do not favour online gambling but that may change. Nevada is about to launch interstate online gambling. Other states may soon follow, which would certainly have an effect on gambling in the US.

It is interesting to consider in the main that most US States have not promoted any form of gambling other than the lottery. Even more interesting is that we grew up to understand that gambling is illegal in the US. Should it now be the case that Americans recognise that gambling is being slowly legalised across the US?

This article is an analysis of Gambling trends in America based on statistic data provided by Steven Peters and Thomas C. Frohlich. The image was copied from the Renovierung Germering website and shows status on gambling legislation across the US. Gambling stats were provided by the American Gaming Association and the US Census Bureau.

Read about proposed changes to Gambling in Florida.

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