In many ways, the history of gambling and casinos in Mexico is no different than it is in many other countries. From the time of the Aztecs up until today, there has always been a gambling presence in what we now know as Mexico. While this is true, the history of casinos in Mexico is one that is tumultuous, to say the least. There have been numerous disruptions and changes to the gambling landscape, many of which occurred throughout the 20th century.
For those that aren’t history buffs, you might do well to know that France, throughout history, has attempted to colonize Mexico. By most accounts, the French’s attempt was a failure, but one thing they did succeed at is bringing a strong gambling influence to Mexico. During the rule of Porfirio Diaz, which lasted from the mid-1880s to 1911, there were Parisian-style casinos all over the country. Throughout the whole of Diaz’s rule, casinos existed and were very much part of the culture of Mexico. In 1911, however, the Mexican Revolution not only put an end to Diaz’s rule over the country, it also put an end to legal casinos and gambling.
By the 1920s, the fact that casinos were made illegal in the United States made the prospect of legalizing casinos a very popular one in Mexico. That is exactly what happened, and for another 10 to 15 year stretch there was a thriving casino industry in Mexico, albeit a relatively small one. That peaceful escape for US tourists only existed until 1935, when president Lazaro Cardenas once again made gambling illegal. The illegalization of casinos in Mexico was further strengthened in 1947, when a law was passed to more strictly enforced what was decreed in 1935. That 1947 law lasted some time, and significantly longer than most people expected it to.
Vicente Fox took office in 2000 and from even before he was elected he made it very clear that there needed to be changes made to the laws written regarding gambling. By 2004, sweeping legislation was passed that made virtually every form of gambling, including casino gambling, legal in Mexico. From that point forward, Mexico once again appealed to foreigners as an even more attractive vacation destination.
There are a total of 31 states in Mexico and nowadays you can find at least one casino in just about every one of them. Casinos are not only geared towards visitors from the United States, but towards Mexican citizens as well. Nowadays, you can find casinos at most of the coastal resorts as well as near the border with the United States. In addition, there are casinos in other cities as well, cities that are not necessarily regularly visited by tourists. By almost all accounts, the casino industry in Mexico is growing and has been for some time. With the attitudes of the country evolving from overly conservative to increasingly liberal, it is likely that casinos will become even more commonplace than they are currently.
With casinos having just been allowed to exist since 2004, you might think that Mexico’s casino industry is still getting on its feet. In reality, however, nothing could be further from the truth as most forms of gambling are legal and well-established. At the casinos you will find in places like Cancun and Tijuana, games such as blackjack, poker, and roulette are all available. With that being said, the poker you will find in Mexico pales in comparison to what you will find in Las Vegas.
The sports betting scene in Mexico is also thriving. In fact, sports betting is perhaps the single most popular style of betting you will find in the country. Not only can bookies be found within every casino, there are plenty of other bookmakers in most every city and municipality.
Online casinos are something that have received only a little bit of attention in recent years. As it is in many countries, online gaming is not expressly legal in Mexico, but it is not illegal either. Mexican citizens are lawfully able to gamble on sites that are based offshore. So long as the entity offering the online gaming is not based out of Mexico, playing online casino games will never get you in any trouble. There is a strong feeling that gambling in the country—especially online gambling—will only grow increasingly prevalent as the future wears on.