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What States Do People Gamble Most In?

The American government annually banks an approximate $137.5 Billion from casino revenue. That’s a staggering figure even for a country of the size. There are over 450 casinos across the 50 states including New Jersey and Nevada. Here is a list of the top 10 states with the heaviest gambling activities in the country. 

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10.  IOWA

Gross Gaming Revenue: $1.39 Billion
Number of Casinos: 22Casino
Types: Riverboat, Land-based and RacetracksYear

Legalized: 1989 Iowa is one of the gambling powerhouses in the midwest, offering Riverboat casinos, Racetrack casinos with slots and table games, and traditional land-based casinos.

The state legalized gaming in 1989, with the first casino opening in 1991. 

9.      ILLINOIS
Gross Gaming Revenue: $1.52 BillionNumber of Casinos: 12Casino Types: Riverboat
Year Legalized: 1990

Illinois is only popular for its Riverboat casinos which became first became operational in 1991. The Riverboat casinos host over 16 million tourists a year. The state furthered its venture with its most recent establishment opening in 2011 which saw the state to a 10% increase in revenue the following year. Gambling in Illinois also takes place in state-approved facilities such as bars and restaurants.   

8.      MISSOURI
Gross Gaming Revenue: $1.69 BillionNumber of Casinos: 14Casino Types: Riverboat
Year Legalized: 1994

Missouri’s Riverboat casinos generate a lot in tax revenues even though the state is receiving fierce competition from its neighbor Kansas. More than 20,000 jobs have been created by the industry which generates around $969 Million annually.

7.      MISSISSIPPI
Gross Gaming Revenue: $2.28 Billion
Number of Casinos: 33
Casino Types: Docked Riverboats, land-based
Year Legalized: 1990 

Mississippi was only known for its Riverboat casinos before Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed most of them. The state in the deep south has nonetheless recovered and has seen a rise in revenue since 2012. The state has more than a dozen land-based and dockside casinos along the coast near the city of Biloxi.

   6.      NEW YORK
Gross Gaming Revenue: $2.34 BillionNumber of Casinos: 10Casino Types: Racetrack casinos and one land-based casinoYear Legalized: 2001
The Powerball and video lottery are most popular in the Empire State. The resorts World New York-based in Queens is the first casino of its kind for not being attached to a Racetrack. It saw the state generate a 43% rise in revenue. Neighboring this casino is the Empire Raceway in Yonkers which is still the largest money-making establishment in New

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5.      LOUISIANA

Gross Gaming Revenue: $2.34 Billion
Number of Casinos: 20Casino
Types: Riverboats, land-based and racetrack casinos with slots and table games
Year Legalized: 1991

Louisiana is the perfect getaway for a memorable weekend of gambling with friends. Most of Louisiana’s casinos are based in New Orleans which is uniquely situated on the Mississippi River giving the state a mixture of cultures. The state was the gambling capital of the US back in the 19th century where it started as a riverboat attraction.

Gamblers were enticed by the fact that they could place bets while traveling along the Mississippi but with time, the casinos became more land-based particularly after the Katrina demolished the riverboat casinos. Players can now gamble at Harrah’s New Orleans Casino, which is placed next to the historic French Quarter. The L’Auberge Casino Hotel in Baton Rouge was opened in 2012 which further boosted the state’s revenue by 1.3%. There are over 18 casinos with five establishments based in The Big Easy. The Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots could be named as the most outstanding being the third-oldest race track in the US.  

4.      INDIANA
Gross Gaming Revenue: $2.3 Billion
Number of Casinos: 14
Types: Riverboats, land-based and racetrack casinos with slots and table gamesYear Legalized: 1993

The state of Indiana pulls in large numbers in gaming revenue regardless of competition from neighboring states Kansas and Ohio. Riverboat casinos are the most popular in this state. French Lick in the southern part of the state is a popular destination for traveling gamblers.

3.      PENNSYLVANIA

Gross Gaming Revenue: $3.2 Billion
Number of Casinos: 13
Casino Types: land-based and racetrack casinos with slots and table games
Year Legalized: 2004

Gaming is relatively new to the state which passed its first gambling laws in 2004 and the first casino opening in 2007. However, the huge revenues generated at the racetrack and land-based casinos prove that the state has embraced gambling. Back in 2012, Pennsylvania surpassed New Jersey’s overall revenue.

2.      NEW JERSEY

Gross Casino Gaming Revenue: $3.30 Billion

Number of Casinos: 14Casino
Types: Land-based
Year Legalized: 1976 

New Jersey takes second place in this list, mostly not because of the number of land-based casinos but due to the size of the few casinos available. The state was second after Nevada to legalize casinos. The laws were passed in 1976 and the first casino opening witnessed in 1978. New Jersey has since accumulated a total Gaming revenue of $3.3 billion with about a dozen casinos so far. Some popular casinos include Tropicana Atlantic City, Caesars Atlantic City, and Hard Rock Casino all of which are placed on the beachfront. Visitors looking for a more remote location to make quick cash, then Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in New Jersey is the place to be. With the legalization of sports betting in 2018, the state is expected to double the revenue amount in the future.

   1.      NEVADA 

Gross Gaming Revenue: $11.8 Billion
Number of Casinos: 280Casino
Types: Land-basedYear Legalized: 1931

Nevada could be the most obvious stop for any gambler looking for an outstanding gaming experience. The state was issued its first gambling license in 1931, to the Northern Club. Las Vegas has been a gambling haven ever since, gaining the nicknames; Gambling Capital of the World, City of Lost Wages and Sin City. Reno, Laughlin, and Stateline are also big players in the gaming industry and would rank on this list if they were states. This explains the 50 million people visiting Nevada every year just for gambling. The state even has a town called Jackpot. The huge emphasis on casinos has seen Nevada hit a record gaming revenue of $11 billion. 


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