Special Report

States Spending the Most and Least on Gambling

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50. Alabama
> Annual lottery and casino spending: $0
> Annual casino spending:$0
> Annual lottery spending: $0
> State tax revenue from casinos: $0

Alabama had no commercial casinos or state lotteries as of 2019. It does, however, have three tribal casinos. Each of the three casinos — Wind Creek Casino in Atmore, Wind Creek Casino in Montgomery, and Wind Creek Casino in Wetumpka — is owned by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, the only federally-recognized tribe in Alabama. These casinos do not pay a state tax. Recently, however, the state opened the Center Stage Bingo casino, a commercial facility in Cottonwood.

Earlier this year, a bill proposed in the state legislature called for the authorization of a state lottery, in addition to five new casinos and sports betting. A report commissioned by Gov. Kay Ivey estimated that such a move would create 19,000 jobs and raise up to $700 million in tax revenue that would be used for education and broadband expansion. The bill, however, fell two votes short of the threshold necessary to pass in March.

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49. Alaska
> Annual lottery and casino spending: $0
> Annual casino spending: $0
> Annual lottery spending: $0
> State tax revenue from casinos: $0

Alaska has some of the strictest gambling laws in the country. Currently, only bingo, pull tabs, and charitable raffles are the only forms of gambling that are legal in the state — and more traditional casinos and lotteries are not. Online gambling is not expressly prohibited in state law either, and many Alaskans bet on sports, poker, and traditional casino games over the internet.

Unlike some other states without commercial casinos or lotteries, Alaska also has no casinos on Indian reservations, as no land in the state meets the legal definition of Indian lands, which are taxed differently than other areas. Low-stakes bingo halls are permitted in some parts of the state.

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48. Hawaii
> Annual lottery and casino spending: $0
> Annual casino spending: $0
> Annual lottery spending: $0
> State tax revenue from casinos: $0

State law in Hawaii prohibits casino style gambling, lotteries, and gambling on horse or dog races. It is not illegal for state residents to gamble socially in private residences, however.

Following reports of severe housing shortages for a program to return Native Hawaiins to their lands stemming from underfunding from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, a state commission proposed a casino on native Hawaiian land to raise funds. However, in February 2021 the bill failed to move out of committee in the state legislature.

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47. Utah
> Annual lottery and casino spending: $0
> Annual casino spending: $0
> Annual lottery spending: $0
> State tax revenue from casinos: $0

All forms of casino gambling — including online — are legal in Utah. Additionally, even though there are many Native American tribes in the state, Utah has no Indian casinos either. Unlike other states with similarly strict gambling restrictions, social gambling in private residences is prohibited and there have been no serious attempts to legalize gambling in the state.

However, fantasy sports platforms such as FanDuel or DraftKings are considered skill games, and are not expressly prohibited in Utah.

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46. North Dakota
> Annual lottery and casino spending: $58 per adult ($33.8 million total)
> Annual casino spending: $0
> Annual lottery spending: $58 per adult ($33.8 million total)
> State tax revenue from casinos: $0

North Dakota only allows casinos on Native American lands. While there are multiple tribal casinos in the state that offer slot machines and table games, these venues are exempt from taxes and do not generate revenue for the state.

Lottery ticket sales, excluding scratch-offs, are permitted in North Dakota. The state sold a total of $33.8 million worth of lottery tickets in 2019, equal to about $58 for every adult in the state.