Sports betting has only been legal in the United States for 4 years (other than Nevada) after the Supreme Court ruled that individual states could legalize it in their own jurisdictions.
In those 4 years the majority of US states have embraced sports betting in one form or another. At this point, there are fewer states that don’t allow sports betting than there are those that allow it and the number of holdouts is dwindling as the demand grows.
The main issues occupying policy-makers involve whether sports betting should be limited to land-based casino venues or whether online sportsbooks or online casinos such as Grande Vegas online casino can take sports bets.
The issue of the role that tribal casinos are to play in sports betting is also of concern as are questions about whether to allow betting on local college sports. The states are slowly resolving these issues and the sports betting industry in the United States continues to expand.
Starting January 1, 2023, sports betting will be live throughout the state of Ohio and options for placing wagers are among the most expansive in the nation. When sports betting goes live in Ohio bettors will be able to place bets in-person at casinos and racinos, in arenas and stadiums, in bars and kiosks PLUS online.
Observers expect that most of the bets will be place online and through mobile betting sites – licenses for 25 mobile betting sites will be issued. JACK casino, which operates brick-and-mortar betting sites throughout Ohio, will open its own mobile sportsbook.
The Ohio Lottery Commission will oversee sports betting in bar self-serve kiosks which will be managed by the Ohio Lottery Commission. They are limited to no more than two self-service terminals in each bar unless approved by the lottery commission.
Fantasy sports has been legal in Ohio since 2018 and will continue to be available to sports bettors who want to get more actively involved in the sport on which they are betting. Both FanDuel and DraftKings have been active in Ohio since fantasy sports was legalized there in 2018 and both operators are expected to open online sportsbooks and be ready to start accepting bets on January 1st.
Betting on college sports, including on Ohio teams, will be legal in Ohio when sports betting launches in January 2023.
Originally, a 2013 New York law allowed for sports betting only at 3 upstate tribal casinos. Legislators who tried to promote options for online betting were opposed by previous governor Andrew Cuomo who claimed that online sports betting could only be legalized by a statewide referendum.
Cuomo and other anti-sports betting legislators changed their minds after they saw how neighboring New Jersey was benefitting from New Yorkers who were crossing into New Jersey in huge numbers to place their online bets. New Jersey was enjoying tens of millions of dollars in New York betting money that streamed into its coffers and New York decided that their best bet would be to follow New Jersey’s lead.
Online sports betting became legal in New York in January 2022 and the state has seen more than $267 million in tax revenues in the five months since it became legal -- $263 million was from wagers made on mobile devices and the rest came from the upstate casinos’ sports wagering.
Gary Pretlow, an Assemblyman who pushed for sports betting legalization in New York for years said, ‘We are well on the way to being the sports betting capital of the world.’ Mobile sports betting is an economic engine for New York. I am ecstatic with the revenue that has been generated for education, youth sports and problem gambling.”
Gov. Kathy Hochul’s administration oversaw the inauguration of sports betting. She notes that the $267 million that was taken in between January and June represents greater activity than has been seen in other states, even in locales where sports betting has been running for years.
Pennsylvania has generated $253 million in sports-betting revenues since November 2018 while New Jersey has collected $229 million since June 2018. “In less than half a year, New York has become a leader among states in implementing successful gaming policies, with hundreds of millions of dollars going to important programs that will improve the lives of all New Yorkers,” said Hochul . “I am committed to upholding responsible and effective gaming policies that will move the industry forward and continue to drive our state’s economic growth.”
With successful sports betting programs operating in neighboring states, Massachusetts is under pressure to legalize sports betting in its own jurisdiction.
If a sports betting bill is to be passed this year, it must come up for a vote before the current legislative session expires on July 31st.
A conference committee made up of Reps. Jerald Parisella, David Muradian and Aaron Michlewitz with Sens. Michael Rodrigues, Patrick O’Connor and Eric Lesser has already been formed to hammer out a compromise bill. Thorny issues under discussion include whether college sports will be included in sports betting options, restrictions on sports betting advertising and marketing and whether betting will be permitted using credit cards.
Legislators will also be debating the tax rate that will be charged – proposals range from 12.5 to 20 percent on in-person bets and 15% to 30% on mobile bets.
Gambling protections is another stumbling block that may create a barrier to a sports betting bill’s passage in Massachusetts.