Riverboat Casino – Casino Gambling on Water

Riverboat Casino – Casino Gambling on Water

It is a common question, especially in the US on why a casino is situated on a water body, despite having plenty of space on the land. The main reason lies behind the complicated history of the casinos in the United States. Cities like Atlantic, Vegas, Lake Charles consists of casinos that exists on the tribal lands. However, some casinos are situated on the water, called the riverboat casinos that started in the early 1990s.

Why are they on water?

One of the main reasons for casinos situated on water bodies is to limit the social impact by moving the geographical locations of the establishments, whilst providing income. For example, the casinos present on the Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast were situated on the river, instead of land to sway public opinion in their favour. Over the years, when other casinos saw the popularity of these riverboat casinos, they employed the same, and it consequently became a solution between money and social policies.

Riverboat Casino

History of Riverboat casinos

A riverboat casino is the one that is situated inside the boats, on a river primarily found on the Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast. Riverboats were initially used on the Mississippi River to help the travel of passengers and transport of goods. In the 20th century, the use of riverboats was merely for entertainment as railways were introduced for transportation. People often started using the riverboats to beat the heat of the town and enjoy a good time with entertainment, music and dance. Slowly, but steadily the activity of gambling also increased on these boats, which initially included card games as well as slot machines.

Initially, gambling in casinos was introduced in the 20th century, when the controversy for gambling was taking a different path in the US. The ships were asked to sail away from the dock and continue their gambling activity. Over time, the States agreed for riverboat gambling along with the lives of Mississippi and its tributaries like the ones in Illinois, Louisiana and Missouri. However, Hurricane Katrina that happened in 2005, destroyed most of the riverboats, including their businesses of hotels, gambling stations, restaurants etc. Post this event; they were even asked to shift to a specific geographic location on the land, with certain limitations and implementations. Most of the Gulf coast riverboat had been rebuilt post the hurricane.

Current Scenario

Over time, the use of riverboats for casino activities has dramatically increased, and today, there are thousands of cruises that allow for gambling on a water body. This falls in line with the country’s gambling rules and restrictions, and also brings tourist attractions and revenue from them. Today, most of the water-based casinos do not move, and some are just not designed to float at all.

Casino Gambling Water


Today, you can find thousands of riverboat casinos in the United States and have worked their way to the legalized gambling business. Although states in the 19990s, only recently the supreme court permitted them to legalize riverboat casinos.

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