You may or may not know that there exists an abundance of brick and mortar, or land-based, casinos in the United States. While most people tend to think that very few casinos exist outside the gambling mecca of Las Vegas, the reality of the matter is that the casino industry in the US is thriving and has been for quite some time now.
Long before online casinos were ever conceived, land-based casinos dominated the scene in the United States. In fact, the history of brick and mortar gambling sites is a history that extends back to the very first days of the United States.
Popular Land Based Casinos & Hotels in the United States
US Land-Based Casino History
When settlers first arrived from Europe in what we now as the United States, games of chance were brought along for the ride. In those early days, whether gambling was accepted or not depended upon the moral standing of the community in question. While one city and community did not mind games of chance, other communities strictly forbid them.
When the 1840s and 50s brought along the California Gold Rush, gambling houses were already popular in the flourishing Southern city of New Orleans, but San Francisco quickly ascended the ranks and became the young country’s top city for gambling. This remained the case for a few decades, but when the early 20th century brought with it alcohol prohibition, early casinos were outlawed as well. In the early 1930s, however, the construction of the Hoover Dam along the Colorado River brought with it the creation of a city that would later be named Las Vegas. With thousands of personnel helping to construct the dam at any given moment in time and not much else to do in the middle of the desert, it is easy to see why gambling and casinos became so instantly popular in Las Vegas. Before long, the massive resort casinos that we know of today began popping up and creating an extravagant cityscape in an otherwise barren desert.
After Las Vegas, Atlantic City, New Jersey became a prominent casino city once gambling and brick and mortar casinos were legalized there in the late 1970s. Later on in the 70s there began a movement initiated by the Florida Seminole Native American tribe that saw Native American reservations become hotbeds for gambling. That movement has continued to the present day and now there exists nearly 500 Native American casinos across the United States.
Other states, regions, and cities have legalized brick and mortar casinos, but it must be said that casinos are not legal everywhere. This is slowly but surely changing with time, but being that the states have the ability to govern themselves to some extent, there is no guaranteeing that every part of the country will have brick and mortar casinos.
Legalities of Land-Based Casinos in the United States
As was mentioned above, the legalities regarding brick and mortar casinos in the United States are not always so straightforward. First and foremost, it must be mentioned that there are quite a few states and major cities where you will find no brick and mortar casino presence. The reasons for this vary depending on where you are and it is important to brief yourself on local laws.
In almost every land-based casino that exists in the US, the number one rule is that you must be at least 21 years of age in order to be eligible to gamble with real money. In cities like Las Vegas and Atlantic City this is a standard practice, and is also one that has been adopted by other parts of the country where land-based gambling is legal. It must be noted that there are certain parts of the US that allow for gambling at the age of 18, but these are far outnumbered by places that require a 21 minimum age.
Another major piece of the puzzle in the United States is the fact that even though a city may have legalized gambling, that does not mean the entire state will allow for the existence of brick and mortar sites. There are plenty of examples of cities where casinos are legal existing within a state that has not approved the existence of legal gambling sites.
Another often confusing aspect of the gambling scene in the United States is the fact that games you are legally allowed to play vary state to state. It may sound strange, but one state may allow for full-scale casinos that are able to offer every type of game you can think of, while another state may have only legalized card games like poker, but do not allow for slot games.
Sticking with this strange, seemingly contradictory theme, the laws that exist in specific states may allow gambling, but not within a casino as we know them in the traditional sense. Instead, you will find things like video poker rooms at dog tracks and card rooms—which are basically casinos that are only able to offer games like hold’em and stud.
As you can clearly see, there is a wealth of information you must know before you can begin gambling at land based casinos in the United States. In some parts of the country the legalities regarding gambling for real money are very transparent and easy to understand, but in other parts that is not always the case.
Land-Based Casinos FAQ
Will I be arrested for gambling for real money outside of casinos?
In most cases, playing a friendly game of cards amongst friends for real money will not land you in any sort of legal trouble. With that being said, there are places where it is illegal to play even one hand of cards for real money without risking prosecution. Short answer is no, but as is always the case it is important to verify local laws before participating in an activity such as gambling.
Is alcohol served at all US casinos?
This is also something that depends where you are, but more often than not alcohol is served at land-based US casinos. In some cases, alcohol is free so long as you are playing a game, but be careful, the free drinks may result in an empty wallet.
Do land-based casinos ever offer online games?
Yes, in states like Nevada and New Jersey there are brick and mortar casinos that also support online games too. This is a new development and one that may very well continue into the future and in other states.
What are the hours of casinos in the United States?
In almost all cases, casinos across the United States are offered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.