Archive for the “U” Category

Encyclopedia: Gambling in America – Letter U

Utah is one of two states to enter the twenty-first century with no legally authorized form of gambling (the other is Hawaii). In 1992, the voters defeated an effort to establish pari-mutuel betting on horse racing. Horse races are conducted at fairs, but no betting is permitted. Throughout the state there are small charity games, but these are operating contrary to the law. Utah residents are not totally adverse to casino betting, however, as Nevada casino entrepreneurs have set up facilities near state lines in order to capture their patronage. Several casinos in Mesquite, Nevada (in Clark County thirty miles from St. George), and Wendover, Nevada (in White Pine County 100 miles from Salt Lake City), market their products to Utah gamblers. Periodically, supporters of casino gambling in Utah try to start campaigns for casinos by pointing out how gambling money is leaving the state. The political leaders of what is probably the most church-oriented state in the union do not, however, give much attention to the advocates of any form of gambling.

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Uruguay - Gambling in AmericaUruguay is a small country with an area of only 63,000 square miles (the size of Missouri) and a population of about 3,200,000. It is between the two largest countries of South America: Argentina and Brazil. These countries, with their restrictions on casino gambling (nearby Buenos Aires does not have casino gambling), provide tourist market customers, especially for Uruguayan facilities along the Atlantic Coast beaches. Uruguay has a free economy, and the flow of foreign currency in and out of the country is unrestricted. There is no discrimination between nationals and foreigners, and for that reason there has been an inflow of casino investment dollars.
Private casinos existed in Uruguay more than 100 years ago. The first gaming law passed in 1856. Legend has it that French immigrants started casinos to conduct their tradition roulette games.  The government took over the casinos early in the twentieth century, and up until the 1990s, governments owned all casinos. Two municipally owned casinos were in the capital city of Montevideo, and the national government owned a series of small facilities along the ocean and in interior cities bordering Brazil and Argentina. Then the government authorized the building of a private five-star hotel with a casino in Punta del Este. The facility, which opened on 1 January 1997, is operated by Conrad International.
In Montevideo, the earnings of the two municipal casinos – the Parque Hotel and Hotel Casino Carrasco – go to the city government. In the rest of the country, Direccion Nacional de Casinos del Estado (an entity of the central government) owns and operates the casinos. Forty percent of its earnings go to the municipality in which the casino is established, 20 percent to the Ministry of Tourism, 10 percent to the National Food Institute, and the last 10 percent to a special fund for the preservation of the casinos. In 1995 a national casino was opened in the Hotel Victoria Plaza in Montevideo.
Uruguay also has facilities for horse racing and bingo games, and the government also operates a lottery.

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