When you think of US gambling, which states come to mind? If you said Nevada, you’re like most Americans. If you said New Jersey, you’re also like most Americans. And if you said Iowa, you’re like…huh? Wait, what? Iowa?

Yes, Iowa falls into the top 10 states that generate the most gambling-related revenue through casinos, riverboats, and race tracks. We’ve compiled a list of the top states, so have a look and see if your state is on top. Keep in mind that the money reported doesn’t include any revenue generated from tribal casinos (they don’t publish their revenue).

#10 – Iowa
Total Gaming Revenue: $1.47 billion
Iowa first legalized gambling back in 1989 and they currently offer riverboat, land-based, and racetrack gambling. In total, there are 18 different places to gamble at.

#9 – Illinois
With revenue of 1.64 billion per year, you might think that Illinois has a bunch of land-based casinos to gamble at. But in fact, gambling only takes place on the water in riverboats. Can you imagine if you could gamble at the foot of the John Hancock Tower or Willis Tower while eating a slice of deep-dish pizza? Mmmm, pizza.

#8 – Missouri
Missouri might currently hold the eight spot, but Kansas could eventually sneak up the middle and work its way into the top 10. While Missouri rakes in about $1.77 billion per year through its riverboat casinos, they are on the decline thanks to Kansas’ desire.

#7 – New York
New York, with $1.8 in revenue, has just one land-based casino that’s not attached to a racetrack, located in Queens (that doesn’t include the Native American casinos, like Seneca in Niagara Falls). The state is also full of racetrack casinos, but the government is getting ready to license more land-based properties soon, so expect to see New York climb event higher.

#6 – Mississippi
The state had some trouble with riverboat casino interest after some flooding on the Mississippi River, but they seem to have recovered in recent years. Their docked riverboat casinos and land-based properties rack in about $2.25 billion in yearly revenue.

#5 – Louisiana
Most casinos in Louisiana tend to be located in New Orleans, but there’s a great property in Baton Rouge that has elevated the state’s revenuen to $2.4 billion per years.

#4 – Indiana
I’ve often though of Indiana as a place to get gas and lunch on the way to Chicago. But apparently there’s a lot more to do there, especially with land-based casinos and racetrack casinos dotting the map. They rake in $2.61 billion in yearly revenue.

#3 – New Jersey
It’s no surprise that New Jersey is one of the top three states for casino gambling, but they could be on a decline. They generate about $3.05 billion per year through land-based casino gambling in Atlantic City, but with four casinos having closed their doors (or closing soon) revenue could fall substantially. That said, new online casinos in the state could help balance things out.

#2 – Pennsylvania
The number 2 spot might come as a surprise, especially if you always though New Jersey was the gambling hub of the eastern seaboard. But Pennsylvania rakes in about $3.16 billion a year, generating close to $1.5 billion in tax revenue for the state. You can play at land-based casinos and racetracks, and enjoy slots and table games.

#1 – Nevada
With over $10.86 billion in revenue per year, Nevada is pretty much untouchable in the gambling department, what with 265 casinos serving residents and tourists alike. But they’ve been doing this a long time, having first legalized gambling back in 1931. We can’t see any other state touching Nevada anytime soon, even if Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Indiana decide to get together and become one unified state.


Simon is an overactive gambler and the Staff Writer here at Silver Oak. He loves casino bonuses, online slots, and using the em dash too often. Currently, he rests his typing hands in Vancouver, Canada.