Online casino sports betting is expanding in the United States with more states offering more options. Less than 3 years ago, sports betting was available only in Nevada. Today, it’s legal in 23 states (four of those states don’t yet have the regulatory framework for sports betting to operate) and bills to legalize sports betting are pending in another 9 states.
Not only are more states legislating for sports betting but more people are participating in sports betting in those states. Big betting states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania saw record sports betting revenue this summer but the numbers have gone up in other states as well.
In September, Indiana bookmakers generated betting handle of $207.5 million, an increase of $38.5 million since August. The September numbers even exceed the state’s pre-pandemic February high of $187 million which is surprising considering that football bets – generally the sport on which the highest number of bets are made – didn’t start till the NFL launched their season on September 11th.
Iowa and Oregon, not generally regarded as high sports betting states, also posted record sports betting revenue in recent months.
In many jurisdictions, the state governments and the regulatory bodies are helping sportsbooks push ahead in order to enjoy the lavish tax revenues that sports betting brings.
William Hill has been approved to launch a mobile sportsbook in Indiana where it already operates in partnership with the Evansville Tropicana Casino. The sportsbook will include multiple bet types and markets including live scoring game casts, live in-play wagering and multiple options for deposit and withdrawal. Indiana becomes the 7th state to host William Hill – it joins Nevada, New Jersey, West Virginia, Colorado, Illinois and Iowa. William Hill also powers trading services for the mobile app for Rhode Island’s Lottery.
Sports betting became legal in Tennessee on November 1st which, according to Rick Staples, the bill’s state legislator sponsor, makes Tennessee a “sports betting leader.” As opposed to other states which either allow for retail-only sports betting or retail AND online sports betting, in Tennessee, ONLY mobile sports betting is operating.
The state already has plans for the new income. Staples said that the money will be divided up between the department of mental health services which will use the money for services for addicts and local governments. The majority of the income, said Staples, will go into education services. The state government, he says, hopes that the income will help the state cover the losses from the pandemic.
The first sports betting app to launch in Tennessee will be the BetMGM app. MGM Resorts has been one of the most active Vegas casinos to get on the online gambling wagon and it’s paying off. BetMGM, MGM Resorts’ online brand, is entering numerous markets around the country – to date they operate in Mississippi, New Jersey, Nevada, Colorado, Indiana, West Virginia and now Tennessee -- while other Vegas casinos are waiting for gamblers to return to the casinos.
MGM aims to provide online customers with the same kind of smooth, pleasant gambling experience as they have when they walk into a casino property. To demonstrate its commitment to Tennessee, BetMGM has partnered with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. The BetMGM app is user-friendly so bettors can choose from futures, parlay wagers, live in-play bets and customized pre-game wagers.
Illinois is also promoting betting options and has given new partners Fairmount Park and FanDuel a sports betting license to operate a racino where sports wagering and other casino games will be allowed. Declining interest in horse racing was the reason given for applying for the license. As a racino, the park hopes to revive the track while giving bettors a chance to gamble on games and sports.
Overall, Illinois has seen a huge spike in sports betting handle in recent months. August saw $139.8 million in bets which was a 118% increase over July. The increase is attributed to a new policy of allowing online registration as opposed to only accepting in-person registration plus the full menu of NBA, NHL and MLB games.
Michigan is one of the states where sports betting is legalized but not yet operating. The state regulators have not yet finalized their draft of the rules under which mobile sports betting will operate. The gaming commission has been pushing regulators to move quickly in drafting the rules so that they can be OK’d by a committee of Michigan lawmakers. Once the Secretary of State’s office finalizes them, those regulations will pass into law and the online sportsbooks can open.
Michigan has legislated both retail and online sports betting. Some sportsbooks have already opened at land-based casinos and are basing their operations on old rules. The change will come when the rules are finalized for online sports betting. Most operators are ready to submit their applications for the licensing review process. The Gaming Commission is hoping that online sports betting will be up and running by late fall.
At least one of the state’s 23 Tribal casinos and at least one of Michigan’s three commercial casinos must be licensed before betting can start. That means that at least two sportsbooks must be operational at the outset but more will certainly join afterward.
Currently, the Greektown Casino, the MotorCity Casino and MGM Grand Detroit operate retail sportsbooks. All three establishments want to operate online with Greektown planning to partner with Barstool Sportsbook, MotorCity with FanDuel and MGM Grand with BetMGM.
A number of the state’s tribal casinos have already partnered with sportsbooks including PointsBet, DraftKings and William Hill.
Long-term, a total of 26 online sportsbooks may operate in the state.