As sportsbooks, sports fans and others celebrate the two-year anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court ruling that opened the way for states to legislate Vegas casino sports betting in their jurisdictions, the rush to introduce sports betting shows no signs of slowing down.

On May 14 2018 the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 which had restricted regulated sports betting to only states that had enacted sports betting before PASPA was passed. That meant that sports betting was legal only in Nevada between 1992 and 2018. Since the SCOTUS ruling more than $20 billion has been bet with U.S. sportsbooks.

There is now regulated sports betting markets in 18 states plus the District of Columbia, meaning that 30% of the U.S. population has access to legal sports betting. In addition, North Carolina, Washington, Virginia and Tennessee have passed legislation that will make sports betting available in their states once the infrastructure has been set up. There are active sports betting bills before state legislatures in 16 additional states. Analysts expect that more than half U.S. states will offer legal sports betting in the coming years. 

Of those states which have legislated sports betting, online sports betting is legal in 12. Virginia and Tennessee have no land-based casinos so in those states there is only online wagering available. The options to bet online is controversial but sports betting proponents say that it’s important – in 2019, New Jersey sportsbooks took in $4.6 billion, 84% of which was wagered online.

Sports betting lobbist Jeremy Kudon, a partner at the firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe who lobbies for gaming operators and professional sports leagues says that the growth and speed of the betting market – in particular the online market -- is "extraordinary."

"I would have lost a lot of money, if I was given a chance to wager on whether non-gaming states, like Tennessee, Virginia and New Hampshire would legalize mobile sports betting in these first two years” said Kudon.

Fantasy Sports Operations Expand Scope

FanDuel and DraftKings, two major players in the U.S. gambling industry who started as Fantasy Sports providers, are also changing. Both companies now operate full-fledged sportsbooks that accept online bets. FanDuel and DraftKings have taken over a large share of the New Jersey market and have been out-performing traditional gambling companies such as Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts. 

Acceleration

Gambling experts remind the public that, as the market grows, it’s important to consider the potential harm that may be caused by problem gambling behaviors. The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) reports that a recent analysis shows that no new funding has been dedicated to problem gambling services, despite the upswing in activity.

NCPG legislative director Brianne Doura said, "Research indicates that anytime we introduce a new form of gambling we will simultaneously bring additional problems and concerns, thus requiring additional dollars. It is our stance that all stakeholders bear the responsibility to contribute to the research, prevention, treatment, and recovery of gambling addiction. If you profit from legalized gambling, you share the responsibility to pay for the negative consequences that can come from it."

Some members of the NCPG including the NFL, the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers,  Major League Baseball and the PGA Tour. Despite initial strenuous objections to sports betting, these groups are now actively partnering with gambling operators through sponsorships and marketing partnerships.

The cooperation is likely to spread to other operators and other sports groups. Media companies such as Barstool Sports, The Score and Fox  have also launched – or will soon launch – sportsbooks. CBS Sports has a sports betting-focused partnership  with William Hill U.S and ESPN has partnered with sportsbook operator Caesars

Entertainment

All eyes are on state legislatures as they watch to see how the state governments might  accelerate sports betting initiatives with the goal of generating new revenue. Matt King, CEO of FanDuel, said "When legislatures return in earnest, we firmly believe the number of states ready to consider accelerating mobile sports betting and online gaming legislation to drive tax revenue will expand substantially.

And we also see the industry recognizing this is a unique moment in time, and working more collaboratively to set aside minor differences and get bills across the finish line. Across the board, it's a time for pragmatism, and we see that producing a real opportunity for significantly expanding the map." 

Round-Up

Here's a quick overview of U.S. states regarding their legislation on sports betting

Fully legislated sports betting states include:

  • Nevada – from 1992 to 2018, Nevada was the only state to allow sports betting
  • Delaware – single-game sports betting available at land-based sportsbooks located at the state’s three casinos. Option for expanded sports wagering both online and at different brick-and-mortar locations
  • New Jersey – one of the first states to adopt both land-based and online sports betting after the May 2018 SCOTUS decision.
  • Mississippi – sports betting began to operate in Mississippi in August 2018 at the state’s two MGM Resorts casinos.
  • West Virginia – legislated sports betting in August 2018. West Virginia sports betting is available at the Hollywood Casino sportsbook. The West Virginia Lottery Commission regulates sports betting in West Virginia which is available both in-person and online.  
  • New Mexico – The Santa Ana Star Casino and Hotel, a Tamaya tribal casino, began to offer sports betting in October 2018. The New Mexico legislature has not formally legislated sports betting in New Mexico but the Santa Ana is able to run a sportsbia via a gaming compact that tribe made with the state which permits "any or all forms of Class III Gaming," a category in the federal regulations that specifically includes "[a]ny sports betting and pari-mutuel wagering."
  • Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania has legislated both online and in-person sportsbooks. The legislation included legalizing Fantasy Sports and online poker. There are 13 retail sportsbooks  and nine online betting sites in Pennsylvania. The state is known for taking the highest percentage in taxes on sports betting revenue in the United States – 34%. To compare, Nevada takes 6%.
  • Rhode Island – Rhode Island’s 2018 state budget contained language that allows sports betting operators to take bets in the state. The state’s lottery provides regulatory oversight for Rhode Island sports betting. Mobile betting was legislated in 2019.
  • Arkansas – Arkansas allows sports betting at the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort and a few other retail locations.  Online wagering is not permitted in Arkansas
  • New York – New York allows sports betting at four upstate native casinos. There is no current online sports betting in New York but the large numbers of New Yorkers who cross the border to place online bets in New Jersey – giving New Jersey the tax revenue from those bets – is enough to encourage state legislators to reconsider offering sports betting in the NYC area. DraftKings and FanDuel offer fantasy sports contests in the state.
  • Iowa – Iowa began to offer sports betting in August 2019 at both on-site and online locations. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission regulates sports betting in the state.
  • Oregon – Oregon’s sports betting infrastructure was revived after the SCOTUS ruling but the original law covers the new activity. As of October 2019, mobile sports betting is available to Oregon residents.
  • Indiana – Indiana allows all forms of sports betting except for betting on high school sports and esports. In Indiana, bettors can place wagers both online and in person.  
  • New Hampshire – both mobile and retail sports betting are legal in New Hampshire which is overseen by the New Hampshire lottery.
  • Illinois – In 2018 the Illinois legislature passed a broad gaming bill that allows for both in-person and online sports betting as well as at locations such as at Wrigley Field.
  • Michigan – Two Detroit-area casinos are now allowed to offer sports betting. Sports betting will expand in the state to include mobile sports betting as soon as the infrastructure is available.
  • Montana – The state lottery will oversee on-site and online sports betting in Montana which will begin as soon as the infrastructure to accept sports bets is put into place.
  • Colorado – Colorado is the latest state to legalize sports betting in the United States. Last November Colorado voters approved a ballot referendum that provides "for the regulation of sports betting through licensed casinos." The state legislature passed a bill on May 1st 2020 which allows multiple operators to let residents open accounts online and place wagers on sporting events. Both retail and mobile sports betting are permitted.

Ready to Move

Legislation to legalize sports betting was passed and the infrastructure is being readied to facilitate sports betting in Washington D.C., Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Oklahoma and Washington. 

Considering Legislation  

Legislatures in Maine, Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Louisiana, South Carolina, California, Ohio, North Dakota, Hawaii, Arizona, South Dakota, Texas, Georgia, Vermont, Alabama, Florida, Alaska, Wyoming and Nebraska have pending bills to legislate, in one form or another, sports betting in their states.

No Action

There is presently no legislative action for sports betting in Idaho, Wisconsin and Utah.

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