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The utilitarianism of government gaming laws in the United States

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  1. Executive summary
  2. Introduction
    1. A brief history of gambling in the U.S.
    2. Gaming as a subject of investigation
    3. Background of this study
    4. Review of literature
  3. Public opinion
    1. Current laws
    2. Government tax
    3. Social effects
  4. Motivating factors
    1. Moral traditions and modern values
    2. Special interest groups
  5. Effects of current law
    1. Disenfranchisement of the poor
    2. Low quality gaming experience
    3. Black markets
    4. Importing consumer gaming needs
  6. Looking to the future
    1. Benefits of new laws
  7. Conclusion
  8. Works cited
  9. Appendix

The current U.S. ban on sports betting goes back to 1961 when the federal ?wire act? made the act of transmitting bets across state lines via the telephone illegal. The only state to offer legal sports betting has been Nevada. (Delaware and Oregon also have made attempts to offer sports betting on a limited basis) The 1961 law, meant to be a deterrent to organized money laundering, had no effect on the popularity of sports betting nationwide. From 1961 through the early 1980's the annual amounts of money wagered legally in Nevada, (and elsewhere illegally) has grown steadily. During the 1980's and 1990's the growth rate quadrupled. However, in 1994, a federal law was passed that prevented any further states from adopting sports betting that hadn't already done so.

The subjects of online gaming and sports betting are intertwined, with the sports betting industry seeing tremendous growth since the advent of the Internet. For many, online sports books, which are legal enterprises in their country or origin, have become substitutes to betting with illegal bookies.

[...] New gaming laws that legalize sports betting and online gaming would create a range of benefits for society including: the elimination of illegal black markets in sports betting, the raising of tax dollars through a sports betting tax via U.S. based sports books, online sports books, and online casinos, the raising of revenues for U.S. brick-and-mortar casinos, the addition of a higher-quality gaming experiences. The changing of current gaming laws will probably evolve along the same time line as the Internet. [...]


[...] (Reforms involved prostitution, poker playing, federal taxation, voting, drinking, and government well-fare) However, as travel and recreation became more popular during the middle part of the century, gaming in the U.S. enjoyed a comeback. Las Vegas was little more than a train depot until the 1930's when it was further developed to be gambling destination and vacation getaway. (Initially for people living in Los Angeles) By the 1950's it had grown to be a world-class resort and entertainment center. It was during this time that wagers on sporting events began to be offered by sports books in Nevada, though sports betting (Especially on baseball games and boxing matches) via private bookies had been going on since the late 19th century. [...]


[...] New gaming laws that legalize sports betting and online gaming would create a range of benefits for society including: the elimination of illegal black markets in sports betting, the raising of tax dollars through a sports betting tax via U.S. based sports books, online sports books, and online casinos, the raising of revenues for U.S. brick-and-mortar casinos, the addition of a higher-quality gaming experience for those whose only current choices are lotteries, horseracing, and driving great distances to Indian Casinos. [...]

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