Gambling in the U.S. and Key Findings of the National Detailed Report
As of November, 2019, government-sponsored lotteries existed in 45 states and the District of Columbia1 (North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, 2019).
Casinos operated by corporations or Native American tribes existed in 43 (American Casino Guide, 2019).
Many states allow various forms of gambling to benefit charities.
Wagering on horse races takes place in 30 states.
Online gambling of various types, while only legal in a few states, is nonetheless available to anyone with access to a computer.
Sports betting, long restricted to Nevada, is expanding rapidly following the Supreme Court’s decision in Murphy vs National Collegiate Athletic Association to overturn federal prohibitions and allow states to legalize sports betting. As of February 2021, sports betting was operational in 20 states and the District of Columbia, and had been legalized but not yet implemented in four others. Legal sports wagers in the U.S. reached $1.4 billion in September 2019 (Barrabi, 2019).
Fantasy sports is widely available despite its murky legal status (National Conference of State Legislatures, 2015).
In response to the Supreme Court ruling in the Murphy case, the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) commissioned a national survey to measure the extent of gambling in the United States prior to the rapid expansion of sports betting, the National Survey on Gambling Attitudes and Gambling Experiences (NGAGE). The survey was taken in November 2018, a time when legal sports betting was only available in Nevada and New Jersey.
This report summarizes the detailed findings of the NGAGE survey on the national level. We are working to replicate this survey in coming years to measure the effect of readily available sports betting on the public’s gambling behavior and attitudes.
Further suggested reading:
Implications for Public Policy and Directions for Future Research from the National Detailed Report
Download the entire NGAGE 1.0 National Detailed Report (pdf) from the National Detailed Report tab above.
How to access detailed state reports
Overview of trends at the national level
Overview of trends in each state may be accessed from the State Trends tab on the home page.
For more information about NCPG and our full range of programs and services in Advocacy, Awareness and Assistance in problem gambling and responsible gambling, please visit our main website at www.ncpgambling.org. NCPG is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization funded by members and donors; we receive no US Federal funding.