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Three Myths and Three Facts About the Gambling Industry

Gambling has been around for a long time (and probably even longer than that). And no, that isn't a legend. As a result, many myths about the industry have grown over the years.

There's a lot of misinformation out there, from legal details (what's with the riverboat thing?) to tricks that casino owners and designers use on patrons to get more money. Seeking the facts becomes much more complicated as a result of this.

Myth: The Casino Is the Only Winner

Casinos are often regarded as predatory establishments that do everything possible to get hardworking people to waste their money on games where they have little hope of winning.

This is obviously not true. Even if you take away the notion that casinos are “forcing” people to do so, you aren't giving them enough credit.

Casinos do, in practice, bring in a lot of money for the states. You might believe that all they do is take money from residents and give it back to them in smaller amounts. That is not the case, either. Out-of-town tourists account for a large portion of gambling income. As a result, when visitors gamble, the locals win.

 I'm not attempting to argue that casinos are charities established for the benefit of local residents, but it's important to acknowledge the positive effect they frequently have on local economies. Over $1 billion is produced directly from gaming establishments in more than five states.


Fact: Legality differs by state.

Have you ever searched an article that clearly and concisely and clearly describes the state gambling laws about different types of casino gaming? It can seem impossibly difficult. You could either waste an hour trying to figure out what's going on at the federal level, or you could do something else.

The state you live in isn't the only factor that determines whether gambling is legal or not. Special laws exist in some states that only allow “riverboat” gambling. As a result, some fairly inventive solutions and exploits of various loopholes have emerged. Inquiring about the legalities of online gaming and sports betting is often more likely to generate questions than answers. In a few years' time, we will be able to say farewell to these perplexing laws if gambling becomes law at the federal level.

Myth: Gambling on riverboats is no longer legal.

Is there some need to keep using the "riverboat gambling" loophole now that gambling regulations are becoming more accommodating? They're still a thing!

For example, even though new states are regularly rolling back gambling restrictions, some states still ban gaming establishments from operating within their boundaries. That raises the question, "why is gambling on the water legal but not on land?"

It's time for a quick history lesson. Gambling was once prohibited in the United States (think the 1800s). In this regard, Puritan culture still had a significant influence.

People began to have more time on their hands, even though it was illegal, as households, farms, and increasingly large towns began to relieve an individual's workload. To avoid breaking the law, people in business and merchants started gambling on riverboats (hey, it's not on land), which were a common mode of transportation at the time.

In certain places today, the concept of "illegal on land, not illegal on water" still exists. Take the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Illinois, for example. Builders got imaginative in the mid-2000s because of the "illegal on property" statute. They were able to produce a few inches-deep "puddle" on which to build a casino. This is, in reality, a true story.

Casinos are using psychological techniques to keep you playing.

You're more likely to lose money if you gamble for an extended period of time. Unfortunately, playing games of slightly lopsided odds—in the house's favor, of course—is the nature of the beast.

Remember that in order to operate lawfully, casinos must follow strict guidelines. Regulatory authorities have set requirements that casinos must adhere to or risk receiving hefty fines for their transgression.

If you believe that gambling addicts actually lack the willpower to "just walk away," consider this real-life example of a game designer using human nature to the casino's advantage:

A casino wanted to keep people playing the slot machines even though they were losing a lot of money. Since it's against the law to pre-program wins (i.e., give a losing player free money), they devised a strategy to get around this stumbling block.

The designer suggested a plan for saving a small percentage of slot machine failure. The computer would magically realize it was time for a win if a player started to struggle heavily and the "tax" limit was reached (meaning there was a chance they would get up and leave). As a result, the lights would shine, the player would appear to win, and they would continue to pull the trigger.

The games and the lights, sounds, and general atmosphere are all designed to keep you locked in. You can only understand it and try to avoid being a victim, unfortunately.

Myth: Online and land-based casinos are competitors.

There might be a power struggle between online and land-based casinos. The truth is that they are on the same side. In certain instances, they are owned by the same corporations.

 The major casino conglomerates have all made significant investments in the future of online gaming, and they tend to invest millions of dollars in building the most up-to-date and reliable platforms.

Bingo Halls were the forerunners of tribal casinos.

Native tribal casinos have long had a significant stake in the gaming industry, as most Americans are aware. The government has made sacrifices to support them because of their injustices during the country's establishment (and subsequent centuries). The right to legally run casinos on tribal lands is one such concession.

Native American tribes started using bingo halls to raise funds for their families in the 1970s. These were not your grandmother's bingo games. The stakes were far higher, which created some legal problems.

In 1981, the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the tribe was free to act as they pleased because states have no administrative authority over tribes. Native American-owned casinos now rake in billions of dollars per year, more than 40 years later.

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