1950: The U.S. Senate investigates organized crime and gambling casinos. Tennessee senator Estes Kefauver leads a committee that fingers Las Vegas as a “den of evil” controlled by “the Mob.” Ironically, while the Senate committee is seeking a crack¬down on casinos within the United States, Congress authorizes the expenditure of
U.S. taxpayer funds to open a casino in Travemunde, Germany, under the provi¬sions of the Marshall Fund for business recovery in Western Europe after World War II.
1951: The Johnson Act is passed, banning the transportation of gambling machines in interstate commerce unless they are moving to jurisdictions where they are legal.
1955: Nevada creates the Gaming Control Board under the direction of the State Tax Commission. A process of professionalizing gaming regulation begins as an effort to convince federal authorities that the state can run honest crime-free casinos.
1955–1962: The McClelland Committees of the U.S. Congress investigate organized crime activity, including gambling activity.
1956: Great Britain authorizes its Premium Bond lottery.
Ireland institutes a gaming and lottery act permitting charity games but banning most others.
1959: The Nevada Gaming Commission is created to oversee the decisions of the Gaming Control Board. Gaming regulation is removed from the State Tax Commission.
1959–1961: Fidel Castro closes down the casinos in Cuba. He closes down a lottery as well. 1960: Dictator Jean-Claude “Papa Doc” Duvalier authorizes casinos in Haiti. They are run by mobsters who have left Cuba. The Betting and Gaming Act is passed in Great Britain. Betting shops take bookies off the street but unanticipated are the hundreds of “charity” casinos that open. 1961: In response to the McClelland investigations, Congress passes the Wire Act, the Travel Act, and the Waging Paraphernalia Act in order to combat illegal gambling.
1962: Congress amends the Johnson Act of 1951 to include all gambling devices.
Mathematics professor Edward Thorpe writes Beat the Dealer, which describes the card counting system for blackjack play. Almost instantly, blackjack becomes the most popular casino table game in Las Vegas.
1963–1964: The legislature of New Hampshire authorizes a state-run sweepstakes game, which becomes the first government lottery in the United States since the closing of the Louisiana Lottery. The state sells its first lottery ticket in 1964.
1964: The voters of Arkansas defeat a measure that would have allowed casino gam¬bling in Hot Springs, a location of much illegal gambling in recent years.
1965–1967: The President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administra¬tion of Justice meets. Small attention is given to gambling.
1966: Billionaire Howard Hughes moves to Las Vegas and begins to purchase Nevada casinos from owners with suspicious connections to organized crime. This helps to improve the city’s image. Hughes has a flamboyant image but also a reputation as an entrepreneur with integrity.
Jay Sarno opens Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. This is the first “themed” casino on the Las
Vegas Strip. He follows this with the opening of the Circus Circus Casino in 1970.
1967: Casinos open in Korea but only for foreign gamers.
Alberta permits charity casinos at the two-week Edmonton Exhibition. This is the first authorized casino gambling in Canada.
New York begins a lottery, but it fails to meet state officials’ budget expectations. Sim¬ilar to the New Hampshire games, the lottery’s monthly draw game proves to be too slow. Few other jurisdictions take notice of the lottery.
1968: The federal government initiates actions to prohibit Howard Hughes from pur¬chasing any more Las Vegas casinos (specifically the Landmark) on antitrust grounds. Hughes is angered and initiates a plan to win federal approval by allegedly bribing presidential candidates Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey (see Michael Drosnin’s Citizen Hughes [1985]). Kennedy family confidant Larry O’Brien is on
Hughes’s staff at time.
A new Gaming Act in Great Britain imposes strict regulation upon casinos.
1969: Nevada permits ownership of casinos by public corporations. This action is
prompted by the industry’s need to maintain and upgrade facilities and by a con¬tinuing need to improve the state’s image.
The World Series of Poker is established at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas.
Kirk Kerkorian opens the International Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. With 1,512 rooms, it is the largest hotel in the world. He soon sells it to Hilton Corporation, and he builds the MGM Grand with 2,084 rooms. It becomes the largest hotel in the world. He sells it to Bally’s.
New Jersey authorizes a lottery. In 1970, the state begins sales of weekly lottery tickets using mass marketing techniques. The New Jersey operation is successful from the beginning, and other states realize that large revenues can be realized from lotteries if ticket prices are low and games occur regularly. Lotteries begin to spread quickly.
The Canadian Criminal Code is amended to permit lottery schemes to be operated by governments and charitable organizations. Soon many of the provinces have lot¬teries, and the door is wide open for the charities and governments to offer casino games.
Malaysia licenses the Genting Highlands casino, and for many years it is the largest casino in the world.
1970: The Yukon Territory permits the Klondike Visitor’s Association to conduct casino games from mid-spring through the summer at Diamond Tooth Gerties in Dawson City.
Loto Quebec, an agency of the Quebec provincial government, initiates the first lot¬tery gaming in Canada.
Congress passes the Organized Crime Control Act. Among other provisions it author¬izes a study of gambling activity. The study does not begin until 1975.
New York City creates the Knapp Commission to investigate police corruption, much of it tied to illegal gambling operations.
Don Laughlin opens the first casino in Laughlin, Nevada.
Genting Highlands resort and casino opens in Malaysia. With a gambling floor of 200,000 square feet, for several decades it is the largest casino in the world.
1970s and 1980s: Casinos with unauthorized games begin operation in Costa Rica despite law defining legal and illegal casino gambling.
1971: New York authorizes off-track betting. New York City creates a public corpora¬tion to conduct the operations within its boundaries.
1972: Richard Nixon orders a break-in of Larry O’Brien’s office in the Watergate Building in Washington, D.C. It is suggested that Nixon wants to find out what information O’Brien has about alleged bribery by Howard Hughes in 1968. O’Brien is the national Democratic Party chairman.
1973: Following disastrous forest fires, the Tasmanian government authorizes casinos as a means of gaining revenues to deal with the calamity. The Tasmanian casinos are the first allowed in Australia.
1974: New Jersey voters defeat a proposal for local-option casinos, which would be operated by the state government.
Massachusetts becomes the first North American jurisdiction to have an instant lottery game. This becomes the most popular lottery game of the decade, and all other lot¬teries begin to sell instant games.
Maryland authorizes the creation of an interest-only lottery program like one used in England. The player buys a no-interest bond and may cash it in at full purchase price at any time. As long as the player holds the bond, however, he or she is illeg¬ible to win lottery prizes, which are awarded in lieu of interest payments. The sys¬tem is never implemented.
Casino gambling is authorized in the Netherlands. A government corporation wins the right to run all casinos.
1975: The Western Canada Lottery Corporation initiates the first intergovernmental lottery anywhere. The provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia operate these games together. British Columbia later drops out of the joint operation in order to have its own lottery games.
New Jersey starts the first “numbers game,” with players selecting their own three-digit numbers. The game is offered with hopes that it will drive the popular illegal numbers games out of business. Other lotteries adopt the numbers game as well, often adding a four-digit number game. There is little evidence that illegal games do stop.
1975–1976: The Commission on the Review of the National Policy toward Gambling meets and issues a report affirming the notion that gambling activity and its legal¬ization and control are a matter for the jurisdictions of state governments. The Commission concludes, however, that casinos should be located in remote areas far removed from metropolitan populations.
1976: New Jersey voters authorize casino gambling for Atlantic City by a margin of 56 percent to 44 percent.
The Atlantic Lottery Corporation is formed by action of the provinces of Newfound¬land, Prince Edward’s Island, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Lotteries are begun in these four provinces, thereby bringing the games into each Canadian province.
1977: The New Jersey legislature creates a regulatory structure for casino gaming.
Sol Kerzner opens his first Sun City casino in the South African homeland of Bophuthatswana.
1978: Casino gaming begins in Atlantic City with the opening of Resorts International on Memorial Day weekend.
The Interstate Horse Racing Act is passed, providing standards for operating off-track betting as well as inter-track betting.
1979: Sam’s Town Casino opens on Boulder Highway in Las Vegas, ushering in an era of casinos that cater to local residents of the gambling community.
High-stakes bingo games begin on the Seminole Indian reservation in Hollywood, Florida, signaling a new period of Native American gambling. In subsequent federal court litigation the Indians retain the right to conduct games unregulated by the state.
Scandal rocks the Pennsylvania lottery as its numbers game is rigged. Although the culprits—who were paid by the government—go to prison, the state continues all its lottery games without interruption.
The province of Ontario initiates the world’s first lotto game, called Lottario. The game requires players to select six numbers, and all play is entered into an online computer network. A jackpot prize is given to any player who picks all six numbers. If there is no winner, more prize money is added to the next drawing. Jackpots in North American lotto games have grown to exceed $250 million.
Casino gambling is authorized by the corrupt regime of General Lucas Garcia in Guatemala. The casinos are closed after a Christian Fundamentalist, General Rios Montt, overthrows Lucas Garcia in 1982.
Luxembourg authorizes casino gambling.
1981: The New York legislature rejects measures to authorize casino gambling after a major attack on gambling by state attorney general Robert Abrams.
Charity blackjack games are given formal authorization in North Dakota. The success of the games leads the charities to successfully campaign against state lotteries.
North Dakota is the only state to vote against lotteries until Alabama joins it in 1999.
1984: Arkansas voters defeat casinos a second time.
California voters authorize a state lottery.
Donald Trump opens Harrah’s Trump Plaza, the first of his three Atlantic City casinos.
1985: The Canadian national government agrees to place responsibility for the admin¬
istration of all gambling laws with the provinces in exchange for a $100 million payment to offset the cost of the Calgary Winter Olympics of 1988.
The President’s Commission on Organized Crime meets but fails to issue a report on gam¬bling, as it now considers gambling to be, for the most part, a legitimate industry.
1986: Congress passes the Money Laundering Control Act, requiring casinos to record many large gambling transactions.
The Megabucks slot machine network is introduced in Nevada, allowing very large jackpot prizes.
Donald Trump opens his second casino, Trump Castle, in Atlantic City.
1987: The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the rights of Indian tribes to offer unregulated gambling enterprises as long as operations do not violate state criminal policy. The case California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians determines that any regulation of noncriminal matters must come from the federal government or be specifically authorized by Congress.
One century after its invention, slot machine gaming becomes the number-one form of gambling in U.S. casinos.
1988: The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act is passed by Congress in response to the Cabazon decision. The act provides for federal and tribal regulation of bingo games and for mutually negotiated Indian–state government schemes for the regulation of casinos on reservations.
The voters of South Dakota authorize limited ($5) stakes casino games of blackjack, poker, and slot machines in casinos in the historic town of Deadwood.
1989: Stephen Wynn of the Mirage Corporation opens the Mirage, the first new Las Vegas Strip casino in over a decade.
Donald Trump opens the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, the third of his three casinos.
The South Dakota legislature passes enabling laws, and limited casino gambling begins in Deadwood. A state lottery also begins operation of video lottery terminals throughout South Dakota.
The Iowa state legislature approves riverboat casino gaming with limited ($5) stakes betting on navigable waters in the state. Boats begin operations in 1990.
The state of Oregon starts the first sports game–based lottery in the United States. Pro¬ceeds of the gambling are allocated to support college athletics in Oregon.
The Manitoba Lottery Foundation, a government-owned entity, opens the first year-round permanent casino facility in Canada. The Crystal Casino is located in the classic Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg.
The jackpot prize in the Pennsylvania lotto game exceeds $115 million. It is won, and shared, by several lucky ticket holders.
1990: New legislation permits casinos in Denmark
New Zealand authorizes casinos.
Alaska voters defeat a proposal for local option casino gambling. Ohio voters refuse to authorize casino gaming.
Riverboat casinos begin operation in Iowa. Riverboat casinos are also approved by the Illinois state legislature.
The voters of Colorado approve limited casino gaming for the historic mountain towns of Blackhawk, Cripple Creek, and Central City.
West Virginia permits slot machines to operate at racetracks. The “racino” begins. This action is later imitated by other states and by many Canadian provinces during the 1990s.
1991: Riverboat casinos are approved by the Mississippi legislature. It is determined that the boats may be permanently docked. Casino boats begin operation in Illinois, and limited casinos start in Colorado.
Oregon and Colorado introduce keno as a lottery game.
1992: The Atlantic Provinces—New Brunswick, Prince Edward’s Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland—authorize video lottery terminals for locations throughout their territories.
The Louisiana legislature approves riverboat casinos and one land-based casino in New Orleans. Missouri voters also approve riverboat casinos. Colorado voters refuse to expand casinos to additional towns.
Congress prohibits the spread of sports betting beyond the four states currently author¬izing it: Nevada, Oregon, Montana, and Delaware. New Jersey is given one year to
approve sports betting for an Atlantic City casino but declines to do so.
Congress passes an act allowing U.S. flag ships to have casino gambling.
Rhode Island and Louisiana permit slot machines to operate at racetracks.
1993: The Ontario government approves a casino for the city of Windsor. The casino is to be government-owned but privately operated. The provincial government selects a consortium of Las Vegas casino companies, including Caesars Palace, Cir¬cus Circus, and the Hilton, to operate the casino. The province of Quebec opens a government-owned and -operated casino in Montreal at the site of the French Pavil¬ion of the Montreal World’s Fair. Quebec also approves gaming sites at Charlevoix and Hull.
The Nova Scotia government removes video gaming machines from all locations that are accessible to young people.
The Indiana legislature approves boat casinos. Five boats are authorized for Lake Michigan ports, five for ports on the Ohio River, and one for an interior lake. River¬boat and gulf shore casino gambling is also permitted in Mississippi.
Georgia establishes a lottery and devotes revenues to university scholarships for all high school graduates with B averages or better. The scholarship program is very popular and becomes a model for other states desiring to win approval for gambling enterprises.
Kirk Kerkorian opens the new MGM Grand, with 5,009 rooms, making it the largest hotel in the world.
1994: Florida voters defeat a proposal for limited casino gambling, which would have authorized about 50 major casinos in various locations around the state. Colorado again defeats efforts to expand casino gambling. Riverboat casinos begin operation in Louisiana and Missouri.
Congress passes the Money Laundering and Suppression Act.
The government of the province of Nova Scotia authorizes casino gambling.
A new national lottery begins in the United Kingdom.
1995: A temporary casino opens in New Orleans. It is operated by a group including
Harrah’s Casinos and the Jazzville Corporation. Riverboat gambling begins in Indiana. Provincially owned casinos open in Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia, and also in
Regina, Saskatchewan.
The voters of the Virgin Islands approve casinos.
Costa Rica changes its laws to permit most forms of casino games.
Delaware and Iowa permit slot machines to operate at racetracks.
1996:The new government of South Africa authorizes the establishment of 40 casinos.
The New Orleans casino project closes and declares bankruptcy. The casino reopens
in 2000.
The U.S. Supreme Court rules part of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 unconstitutional. The Court determines that the act’s provision allowing tribes to sue states over compact negotiations violates the 11th Amendment.
Congress passes a law setting up a nine-person commission to study the social and economic impacts of gambling on U.S. society.
Congress gives blanket approval to “cruises to nowhere” that leave from state ports and go into international waters for gambling purposes unless states specifically prohibit the cruises.
In November, the voters of several states speak out on gambling, but they give mixed messages. Michigan voters approve a law that authorizes three major casinos for the city of Detroit. Ohio and Arkansas voters defeat casinos; West Virginia approves machine gaming for racetracks, and Nebraska voters say no to track machines. Col¬orado also says no to new casino towns. Washington state voters defeat slot machines for Native American casinos, but Arizona voters mandate the governor to sign compacts for new Native American casinos.
Two historical casinos on the Las Vegas Strip—the Hacienda and the Sands—are imploded to make way for newer and bigger gambling halls. Three new casinos open up in Las Vegas: the Monte Carlo, the Orleans, and the Stratosphere. The Stratosphere boasts of having the tallest free-standing tower on the North American continent.
Casino Niagara opens in Niagara Falls, Ontario, in December. It is owned and oper¬ated by the Ontario Casino Corporation, a government corporation. The Ontario government also permits a native casino to open in Rama near Orilla.
The Saskatchewan government opens Casino Regina.
1997: Major casino expansions take place in Las Vegas. These include the opening of the New York, New York resort casino and expansions of the Rio, Harrah’s, Caesars,
and Luxor.
The National Gambling Study Commission begins operations.
1998: California voters pass Proposition 5, designed to allow Native American tribes to have unlimited casino gambling. The tribes of the state invest over $70 million in the campaign for Proposition 5, and Nevada casinos spend $26 million in oppo¬sition. It is the most expensive referendum campaign in history.
New Mexico permits slot machines to operate at racetracks.
The Palestine Authority opens a casino at Jericho on the Israeli border.
1999: The Ontario government abandons a plan for 44 charity casinos in all parts of the province and instead authorizes four new “charity” casinos in Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Point Edward, and Brantford. A Native casino also operates near Port Erie. Gambling machines are authorized for provincial racetracks.
The Canadian ban on the use of dice in any gambling activity ends as Ontario casinos seek to compete with new Detroit casinos.
The voters of Alabama defeat a lottery. This is only the second state to have voters say no to lotteries.
The Supreme Court orders that the slot machines of South Carolina be shut down. On June 30, 2000, over thirty thousand machines stop. It is the first major shutdown of a form of statewide gambling since Idaho voters closed down machines in 1949.
Expansion in Las Vegas continues with the opening of the Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, Venetian, and Paris casinos.
The National Gambling Study Commission issues its report.
The Supreme Court of California rules Proposition 5 to be unconstitutional.
Belgium reverses a near century-old decree that casinos are illegal, and authorizes slot machine gambling and gambling in Brussels.
The Kang Won Land casino opens in Korea and admits Koreans as customers.

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