The following are American jurisdictions having recent activity concerning legal gambling.
* – States and territories with gaming devices are marked with an asterisk: *
! – States with at least one casino (defined as having both banking card games and slot-like machines) are marked with an exclamation point: !
!* SOUTH DAKOTA – Another big defeat for the “antis” in Nov. 2000. Voters decided, again, to keep video lottery machines, 54% to 46%, the same as in 1994. In 2001 a House committee voted to not let opponents have a third attempt. Voters also approved, 52% to 48%, raising bet limits from $5 to $100 in the 40 casinos in Deadwood (gross gaming revenue of only $52 million), which will also raise the limits in the state’s 10 tribal casinos. The higher limit doubled monthly gaming revenues. A similar proposal lost in 1993. The State Lottery’s 7,959 VLTs were declared unconstitutional by the State Supreme Court in June 1994, but voters reinstated the gaming devices by amending the state constitution in the Nov. 1994 election. In May 2001, the State Fair Commission banned VLTs from state fairgrounds.
TENNESSEE – The State Legislature approved a bill to block casino gambling; casinos would require a constitutional amendment in any case. Longtime gambling foe Gov. Sundquist looked like he might have been coming around, but politically this kills the idea. The Legislature also approved letting voters decide whether they want to amend the constitution in Nov. 2002 to allow a State Lottery.
TEXAS – A federal judge ruled the Tiguas must close their Speaking Rock casino in El Paso by Nov. 30, 2001, because Congress made the tribe subject to Texas state laws in 1987, when it gave the tribe federal recognition. The Casino Malaysia decision would likely prevent another tribe, the Alabama-Coushatta, from opening a casino. Acting Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff killed a bill that would have let the state’s three tribes have casinos. The Kickapoos (the third tribe) lost a case over gaming devices. A Texas Atty. Gen. ruled the Legislature could not authorize commercial casinos without a constitutional amendment. George W. Bush was unsuccessful as governor in trying to kill eight-liners — the Senate even voted to let the slots give bingo card prizes at bingo halls and parimutuel betting tickets at tracks. In July 1999, Lone Star Park joined tracks in California, Kansas and Kentucky in allowing drive-through betting windows.
UTAH – In Feb. 2001, the State Legislature killed a bill that would have required State Lottery advertisements to boldly display the words “void in Utah.”
VERMONT – A bill to allow casinos on railroads didn’t leave the station. A racetrack in the southern part of the state is campaigning hard for slot machines and a bill to allow full casinos is pending.
VIRGINIA – In 1994, a riverboat casino bill sank under the weight of excess baggage, when Disney’s proposed historic theme park got tacked on. The bills were reintroduced in 1995, for the third time, and were again defeated. Recent proposals to bring race tracks to northern Virginia were attacked by state legislators as “gambling parlors masquerading as legitimate businesses.”
!* WASHINGTON – Twenty tribes have casinos, without true slots. (IGRA grandfathered-in one with true slots.) The tribes sued the state, but the Ninth Circuit dismissed the suit after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Seminole decision. Voters turned down proposals for tribal slots in 1995 and 1996. But the tribes now have slot-like video lottery and linked bingo machines. In an attempt to level the playing field, the Legislature allowed privately owned cardrooms to have house-banked blackjack. There are now more than 40 mini-casinos; Gov. Locke supports bills to limit their growth.
* WEST VIRGINIA – Gov. Bob Wise succeeded in his campaign to legalize and tax video poker machines. A federal judge recently dismissed a challenge, saying the suit should be brought in state court. There are now 13,500 gray market machines. On Jan. 1, 2002, there should be about 9,000 legal slots at the state’s four tracks (2 greyhound and 2 thoroughbred — maximum bet raised from $2 to $5), bars, clubs, restaurants and fraternal organizations. Outlawed are slots at gas stations, grocery and convenience stores. Showboat sued to exercise its option over Charles Town Racetrack, contending coin-drop video slot machines turns the track into a casino. Greenbrier County voters rejected the unique “Limited Gaming Facility Act” on Nov. 7, 2000, so Greenbrier Resort will not have a casino open only to registered overnight guests of the hotel. The law prevents any newly-built track from having gaming devices. Jefferson County voted in Nov. 1996 to permit VLTs at Charles Town Races; the voters had turned the track down in 1994. Former Gov. Underwood let a bill become law without his signature, allowing VLTs to accept coins. Mountaineer Racetrack and Gaming Resort would like to have telephone account wagering.
!* WISCONSIN – Dairyland Greyhound Park (opened 1990, handle down 50% since tribes opened casinos) is suing Gov. Scott McCallum, claiming a 1993 law bars any compact renewals. Gov. McCallum is blocking three Chippewa bands from opening a 1,500 slot machine casino at the bankrupt St. Croix Meadows greyhound racing track, despite approval by the BIA. He said 17 casinos (all with slots, most also have blackjack) and 16,000 games of chance are enough. Former Gov. Tommy Thompson would not renew the compact with the Oneidas after the tribe failed to pay the state $4.85 million in gambling profits; the tribe questioned how the state had been spending the money. The original compacts began expiring in 1998, but were mostly renewed when tribes agreed to raise the gambling age to 21 and the state’s share from $400,000 to $20 million a year. On Jan 5, 2000 Thompson signed a law lowering the punishment for a tavern caught with five or fewer video gambling machines to a $500 fine; a bill to completely legalize the machines is pending. In Nov. 2000, voters in Beloit approved while those in La Crosse County rejected non-binding referendums for tribal casinos.
WYOMING – An initiative to allow full casinos was defeated 2 to 1 in Nov. 1994. State law allows limited sports betting. The Arapahos have filed suit against the state in federal court to get a compact and the state has asked the Wyoming Supreme Court for an opinion.
AMERICAN SAMOA – Proposals for a land-based casino and cruise ship gaming have been considered by the Legislature.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA – A riverboat casino initiative failed to get enough legitimate signatures: Of 45,000 signatures gathered, fewer than 15,000 were from voters. “Monte Carlo” nights for charities are a growing concern.
!* COMMONWEALTH OF THE NORTHERN MARIANAS – Casinos with slots are legal on Tinian.
* GUAM – Gaming devices are legal. In Nov. 1996, an initiative to allow full casinos to compete with those on the nearby Northern Marianas was defeated at the polls.
!* PUERTO RICO – Commonwealth-licensed full casinos with a strange twist: The government used to own the slot machines. A movement to privatize developed in 1996.
!* VIRGIN ISLANDS – Local voters approved the concept of legalized casinos in a non-binding referendum in Nov. 1994. The Legislature agreed, and the first licensed land-based casino opened in St. Croix in April 2000. The Legislature recently voted to allow cruise ships calling in St. Thomas to keep their casinos open while in port, provided the ship remains docked beyond 6:00 p.m. The Senate passed a Video Lottery bill in July 2001, which could permit gaming devices throughout the islands. It will be the first U.S. jurisdiction to issue licenses for Internet gambling web sites.