Long before the advent of online gambling and even before tribal casinos became popular, gamblers could go to land-based casinos in Las Vegas or Atlantic City or play on a casino riverboat if they wanted to gamble legally. A number of states passed laws that legalized gambling on rivers. It took a while for states in the U.S. to legalize gambling in land-based casinos, but today there are many across the country.
Nevada is home to the most land-based casinos in America. Other top gambling states include Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
A notable mention here would be of Michigan – the state which is fast becoming popular for its land-based and online casinos. Casinos in Michigan are generating revenue in multi-millions with Detroit alone generating $1.2 billion in 2022. This clearly shows that despite the arrival of online gambling, land casinos are still seeing a huge business growth in most of the states.
Many Americans love gambling at riverboat casinos because of their historical connections. There are many movies, TV series, books, and video games where characters gamble on riverboats. Gamblers today can still gamble on riverboats and can play online casino games with a riverboat theme.
Historically there were various regulations in place when it came to riverboat casinos. Some regulated the size and capacity of riverboats, and others what games could be played. In Louisiana, a regulation was that riverboats used for casinos must be paddle-wheel driven.
Gambling on a riverboat today
At the beginning of the 19th century, trade on the Mississippi River and its river towns attracted many gamblers. Cardsharps were drawn to these casinos, and there was tough competition around the poker tables.
Today gambling in the US is a popular recreational activity. Anyone can hop onto a riverboat that’s permanently anchored and play their favorite casino games. Slot machines and classic table games are usually available, and they can also play games like Texas Hold’em in poker rooms. They may enjoy some fine dining and other activities too.
Increasing legalization of gambling
Today the five states that allow riverboat gambling refuse to permit land-based casino gambling, with New Orleans being the only exception. As riverboats are located on the water, they are not subject to the same regulations as land-based casinos. They are an option for gamblers who cannot access land-based casinos.
However, online gambling provides such great convenience for gamblers that it is growing in popularity all the time. Players no longer have to play on the water or at brick-and-mortar casinos to play legally. As more states legalize online gambling, riverboat gambling is likely to decline, and riverboat casinos could disappear.