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The first legal casino opened in Baden in 1765. Since then the rules governing the operation of gambling casinos are very strict in most countries. Among the world’s most famous casino gambling locations are the US cities of Las Vegas, NV, and Atlantic City, NJ. Casino solely means “a little house,” the diminutive of casa, in Italian.

Organized or unorganized gambling, legal or not, has been around for a long time throughout the history of the world. Legal or not, it is a part of the American heritage. In 1776, sanctioned by the infant government of the US, legal gambling was used in a variety of ways to raise money for a young country. Some 200 years later, the US allowed casinos only in Nevada and only one lottery in New Hampshire. In 1976, the revenues from legalized gambling amounted to an estimated $ 17.3 billion. However, in less than the next twenty years, gambling revenues had risen to $ 329.9 billion, an amazing 1900% increase!

In 1992,

40 states offered lotteries
4 states allowed casino gambling
6 states had riverboat casinos operating, and
28 states had compacts with Indian tribal nations to allow gambling.

By 1995, estimated revenues from gambling exceeded $500 billion, some $485 billion in legal gambling, and an estimated $15 billion in illegal and underage gambling. (Source: Gaming & Wagering). There is really no way to estimate illegal activities, then or now. 1997 figures show an increase to a somewhat disputed $625 billion in legal gambling, with perhaps $50 billion in illegal gambling, quite a change from 1976, with revenues of a paltry $17.3 billion. To keep things in perspective, in 1976 Americans spent an estimated 2% of their income on gambling. By 1995, it was estimated that each American spent $1500 each per year on gambling. $1500 is equivalent to 30 lottery tickets per week, or a combination of lottery and bingo on a small scale, or perhaps a serious social gambler’s yearlong losses, or a really bad single night at the tables for another. For a pathological gambler, a $1500 loss might be a single episode. Look at profits from the gambling industry’s own records; Legal gambling in 1995, revenues of $485 billion, netted profits of nearly $40 billion, more than the $39.4 billion profits from toys and durable goods, more than the $10 billion profits from records and CD’s. In 1995, the net profits from legalized gambling are estimated at $39.9 billion.

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