How times have changed…
Remember when vice squads all over the country raided and closed down gambling establishments? If not, check your history books. To find a place to legally lose (or win, if you’re lucky) your hard earned money you had to travel to Nevada. Not anymore.
Governments at all levels, in many countries, have discovered what gambling insiders have always known. There’s money in gambling. Now corporations, governments, and in some cases, native tribes have wrested the control of this industry from the big gangsters and criminals that once reigned supreme. And gambling is suddenly a good thing.
Gambling is now legal in the U.S., but each individual state sets its own rules. Three states, Iowa, Louisiana and Michigan allow all forms of gambling. Indian casinos are allowed in more than half of the states. Interestingly, Nevada, long reputed to be wide open to just about everything, does not allow the selling of lottery tickets. Just two states make it illegal to participate in any form of gambling: Utah and Hawaii.
Canada, long strictly opposed to gambling, is now home to 70 casinos, 30,000 lottery ticket outlets, and 100,000 slot machines. Fifteen Indian casinos and bingo halls are included in this number.
Legislation is being studied in Ireland to streamline a hodge-podge of licensing procedures that were different depending on the type of gambling. It will, for the first time, include online gambling. No change will be made, however, to the Irish Sweepstakes.
Various types of gambling have been around for some time in most of Europe: U.K., France, Spain, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries. But it’s not all good. Switzerland’s gaming industry has fallen into a slump. Why? One reason is a recent liberalization of gambling across the border in Italy. Slot machines and lottery sales are now legal in Italy hoping to make the once-clandestine industry more transparent and easier to regulate. The result? Italian gamblers are staying home.
Despite objections from the influential Greek Orthodox church, casinos are now being allowed in Cypress. It is hoped that this move will boost their economy.
Not to be outdone, Asia is moving is the same direction. Taiwan is planning to allow casinos on a number of offshore islands. Four casino resorts are in the planning stage for the Philippines. And Korea has serious plans to develop a number of casino resorts.
Even conservative India allows gambling on horse racing. It also has a state lottery and a handful of casinos. Sri Lanka is close to settling an agreement to build a $350 million casino resort.
Most cruise lines offer casinos aboard ship. Disney Cruise Line, understandably, is one exception to this rule. Internet or online gambling is becoming more popular around the world. Although not illegal in the U.S., it is still against the law in many states; and it is still illegal in many countries. Despite this, it is evident that gambling, worldwide, is becoming more and more accepted as a popular form of entertainment.