Gambling history in the United States has been somewhat volatile over the years. In the early colonies lotteries were common and in Philadelphia a lottery was held to purchase artillery for the city’s defense. Harvard was started with lottery funds. When the United States expanded westward gambling was common in frontier towns across the western United States. Poker and Faro were the games of choice for western gamblers. At some point in the 1890’s Victorian morality caught up with gambling and the practice was widely banned. Even worse anti-gambling groups teamed up with temperance organizations to close saloons and other places that served alcohol.
In the roaring 20’s gambling started to make a comeback but in most places was confined to illegal gambling dens controlled by organized crime. These establishments often served three purposes; brothel, gambling hall and saloon. In 1931 the state of Nevada made gambling legal. Las Vegas remained the premiere gambling destination in the US until New Jersey legalized gambling in Atlantic City. Tribal casinos made their appearance in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Tribal gaming was started by the Seminole tribe in Florida. The tribe opened a huge bingo hall and after a bitter legal battle tribal gaming became legal in the United States.
During the 70’s two technologies that would change gambling forever made their appearance; random number generators and video screens on gaming machines. Previously slots were mechanical but in just a few years the old fashioned ‘one armed bandits’ became museum pieces. Once the World Wide Web was in place it was only a matter of time before the first gambling sites appeared. In 1995 the first online casino began operations. The site offered players 18 online games. In 1996 the very first online bingo sites appeared. Since then the online gaming industry has grown and millions visit online gaming sites monthly. By 2006 the industry was generating $10.9 billion and the figure is more than double that today.
During the past few years online gambling operators have developed mobile applications that let players enjoy their favorite games on their smartphones and other mobile devices. Online gambling has penetrated social media and Facebook makes billions off of real money gambling games. Online gambling technology has been constantly evolving and what’s next is anybody’s guess!