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Legal Gambling States

Under US federal law, gambling is legal in the United States, and states are free to regulate or prohibit the practice. Gambling has been legal in Nevada since 1931, forming the backbone of that state's economy. Las Vegas, a city in Nevada, is perhaps the best known gambling destination in the world. Nevada is the only state where casino-style gambling is legal statewide (although the state and local governments both impose licensing and zoning restrictions). In 1976, gambling was legalized in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and in 1990, it was legalized in Tunica, Mississippi; both of those cities have since developed extensive casino and resort areas.

Since a favorable U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1987, many Native American tribes have also built their own casinos on tribal lands - as a way to provide revenue for the tribe. Because the tribes are considered sovereign nations, they are often exempt from state laws that ban gambling, and are instead regulated under federal law. In some states, casinos are restricted to "riverboats", large multistory barges that more often than not are permanently moored in a body of water.

Commercial casinos are casinos that are founded and run by private companies on non-Indian land. There are 17 states (and 1 US Territory) that currently allow commercial casinos in some form - California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana[4], Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, Washington and West Virginia. In all, there are currently approximately 450 of these commercial casinos.

Additionally many states have legalized gambling in the form of a lottery. Only eight states do not sell lottery tickets - Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

We will be updating this resource page with more about legal gambling states soon.

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