Graduation Year

Fall 2010

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Jay Martin


The role risk taking has played in American history has helped shape current legislation concerning gambling. This thesis attempts to explain the discrepancies in legislation regarding distinct forms of gambling. While casinos are heavily regulated by state and federal laws, most statutes dealing with lotteries strive to regulate the activities of other parties instead of those of the lottery institutions. Incidentally, lotteries are the only form of gambling completely managed by the government. It can be inferred that the United States government is more concerned with people exploiting gambling than with the actual practice of wagering.

In an effort to more fully understand the gambling debate, whether it should be allowed or banned, I examined different types of sources. Historical sources demonstrate how ingrained in American culture risk taking, the core of gambling, has been since the formation of this nation. Sources dealing with the economic implications of gambling were also studied. Additionally, sources dealings with the political and legal aspects of gambling were essential for this thesis. Legislature has tried to reconcile distinct problems associated with gambling, including corruption. For this reason sports gambling scandals and Mafia connections to gambling have also been examined.

The American government has created much needed legislature to address different concerns relating to gambling. It is apparent that statutes will continue to be passed to help regulate the gambling industry. A possible consideration is the legalization of sports wagering to better regulate that sector of the industry.