A riverboat casino
is a type of casino
found in several areas of the United States
which use a riverboat
as a casino. Several states authorized this type of casino to limit the areas where casinos could be constructed under a type of legal fiction
When first approved, these casinos were required to actually be located on ships that could sail away from the dock. In some areas, gambling was only allowed when the ship was sailing. Over time, these regulations allowed gambling when the ship was docked.
In some states, such as Indiana, the boats are no longer required to leave dock or even have a captain and crew on board while the casino is open.
Further changes allowed these casinos to be located in a moat
or an area with water adjacent to a navigable waterway
, leading them to be referred to as "boats in moats." Over time, these casinos were allowed to be built on stilts but still had to be over water.
Following Hurricane Katrina
in 2005 several states are now allowing these casinos to be built on land within certain limits from a navigable waterway. Most of Mississippi
's Gulf Coast riverboat casinos were destroyed or suffered severe damage from the storm, although most have been rebuilt.