Here’s a breakdown of the legal situation in each state:
Legal and live – These states offer legal and regulated sports betting in some capacity.
Pending launch – These are states that have legalized sports betting but have not yet made the activity available to residents and visitors.
States with active sports betting legislation – These states are in the process of considering a bill that would legalize sports betting.
States with dead sports betting bills – In these states, legislative efforts to authorize sports betting have failed. Unsuccessful bills either fail to receive enough support from lawmakers, don’t get voted and some cases don’t receive a vote before the state legislature adjourns for the year.
States with no legislation -These states have not taken any action or made any legislative effort to legalize sports betting in 2019.
Legal and live
Sports betting is legal in Delaware. In fact, Delaware was one of four states that already offered a form of sports betting prior to the PASPA repeal, allowing bettors within the state to partake in a form of parlay wagering. On 5 June 2018, Delaware became the first state outside of Nevada to offer full-blown legalized sports gambling. Residents and visitors can place sports bets at one of the state’s three race tracks which include Delaware Park, Dover Downs and the Harrington Raceway.
Mississippi was the fourth US state to offer legal sports betting after the PASPA repeal. State lawmakers had actually passed legislation in 2017 that would legalize sports betting should the Supreme Court rule PASPA unconstitutional in the future. The first in-state sports wagers were placed on 1 August 2018 and, since then, several of the state’s casinos now allow customers to gamble on sports. The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians were also the first tribal community to offer legal sports betting operations outside of Nevada. In 2019, lawmakers introduced a bill to allow state-wide mobile betting, but the bill was ultimately unsuccessful.
Up until the repeal of PASPA, Nevada was the only state in the US to offer full-scale, legal sports betting. This is because Nevada was granted an exemption from PASPA in 1992. Nevada residents and visitors can bet on a variety of professional and collegiate sporting events at almost all of the casinos in the state. Some Nevada casinos even allow those within state lines to bet on sports via mobile sports betting apps.
New Jersey led the battle to strike down PASPA and was one of the first US states to legalize wagers on sports. On 11 June 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation authorizing sports wagering in the state. New Jersey bettors can bet on professional and collegiate sports at the state’s land-based sportsbook facilities, as well as participating in online sports betting via online sports betting sites and on mobile devices using licensed sports betting apps.
New Mexico lawmakers have yet to authorize any sports betting legislation, but one tribal gambling venue in the state does allow residents to bet on sports legally. The tribal group, known as the Tamaya Nation located in the Pueblo of Santa Ana, began offering legal sports betting markets at the Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel in October 2018, thanks to a compact with the state. Since then, two other tribal venues in the state have launched land-based sports betting operations. New Mexico lawmakers are still in discussions regarding the legalization of sports gambling and it is possible that legislation will be introduced in the future.
Shortly after the repeal of PASPA, sports betting in Pennsylvania was made legal. Despite the high tax rate and licensing costs, three casinos launched sports betting operations in the state. Punters can currently only wager in land-based casinos: Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh and SugarHouse in Philadelphia. There are now eight land-based sportsbooks in Pennsylvania and the state is expected to launch mobile and online betting later on in 2019.
Rhode Island legalized sports betting on 22 June 2018. While the Ocean State was quick off the mark with the legalization of sports wagering, venues in the state didn’t launch sportsbook operations until November 2018. This delay was due to the fact that negotiations with vendors took longer than expected. Two venues in the state offer legal sports betting markets: the Twin Rivers Casino Hotel in Lincoln and the Twin River Tiverton Casino & Hotel. In 2019, lawmakers successfully passed a bill to authorize state-wide mobile sports betting in Rhode Island. A launch date has yet to be set for the Twin River casino app, but punters will be required to register an account at one of the Twin River casinos in the state.
In March 2018, the Mountain State passed a sports lottery bill that would legalize sports betting operations in the event that PASPA was struck down. Now that PASPA has been repealed, West Virginia residents and visitors can place bets at various sportsbooks across the state, including Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, Mountaineer Casino and Casino Club at The Greenbrier. In 2019 the state’s online mobile betting app, BetLucky, was closed down due to a contractual dispute between casino operator Delaware North and software provider Miomni. This, in turn, led to sports betting operations at Delaware North’s Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island casinos being suspended.
The Natural State legalized sports betting in a public referendum in November. Although Arkansas sports betting is legal in the state, the state regulators still need to craft rules and regulations to ensure the activity is safe and fair. This means punters will have to wait a little longer before they can put money on sports markets. It is likely that there will be more movements towards sports betting in Arkansas in 2019.
On 8 May, Governor Eric Holcomb signed HB 1015, a gambling expansion bill that legalized sports betting in Indiana. This made the Hoosier State the second state to legalize sports betting in 2019. The bill legalizes land-based and state-wide mobile sports betting. Although sports betting in the state is now legal, a launch date hasn’t been set just yet. Indiana was one of the first US states to introduce sports betting legislation after the repeal of PASPA in 2018, but the initial legislative efforts were unsuccessful.
In May 2019, Iowa’s Governor Kim Reynolds signed a sports betting bill making Iowa the third state to legalize sports wagering in 2019. The bill allows land-based, online and state-wide mobile sports betting. Sports betting will be regulated by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission and Iowa’s 19 casinos are allowed to apply for sports betting licenses. Although a launch date hasn’t been set for the activity, several partnerships have been made in preparation for the launch of sports betting. In January 2019, Prairie Meadows partnered with William Hill for sports betting and in April, Catfish Bend announced a multi-year sports betting partnership with PointsBet.
On 3 May 2019, Montana became the first to legalize sports betting in 2019. Gov. Steve Bullock signed one of two sports betting bills into law. The bill that Bullock signed, HB 725 will authorize the Montana Lottery to offer sports betting via licensed land-based venues and through a mobile betting app. A date has not been set for the launch of sports betting in Montana, but stakeholders have indicated they wish to get the system up and running by September 2019, in time for the start of the football season.
At the end of December 2018, the DC Council passed a sports betting bill that is expected to take effect in 2019. This bill is titled the “Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act” and will permit the DC Lottery to introduce mobile sports betting. Betting on sports will also be authorized in four professional sports venues and at licensed establishments across the state. The bill was signed into law by DC Mayor, Muriel Bowser and currently being considered by Congress due to the financial and tax implications of the bill
States with active sports betting legislation
In April 2019, lawmakers in Alabama introduced a bill that would legalize sports betting. Alabama was one of the last southern states to introduce sports betting legislation and if successful, land-based and state-wide mobile sports betting will be legal in the state. The 2019 Alabama legislative session is due to end on June 18.
Sports betting legislation is currently up for discussion in Connecticut. The legislation would allow online and mobile sports betting, but before this can progress, the state needs to reach an agreement with the state’s two tribes. Both the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes operate two of the largest casinos in the US and generate a significant amount of tax revenue for the state. Both tribes believe they hold the exclusive right to offer sports betting. In early 2018, lawmakers in Connecticut attempted to legalize sports betting by introducing a sports gambling bill in an attempt to legalize the activity. The state has held various hearings on the topic of sports betting, with key industry stakeholders, as well as MLB and NBA representatives, chiming in with testimony. The state legislature did not reach a vote on the sports betting bill before the legislative session closed for the year
Illinois is currently considering legislation that would authorize sports betting in the state. So far the state has held two hearings on the legalization of sports betting and several hot topics have raised several concerns. These concerns include the inclusion of an integrity fee, the sports betting licensing fees, the inclusion of mobile betting and the ability to wager on college sports. The state is currently listening to all stakeholders in an attempt to make sure everyone has their voice heard.
In April, a bill that would legalize sports betting in Louisiana passed the Senate by a vote of 24-15 and is now being considered by the House. If successful, the bill will allow the state’s 16 casinos to apply for sports betting licenses and allow on-site mobile sports betting. In November 2018, there was a statewide voter referendum on the legalization of daily fantasy sports game; 47 of the state’s parishes voted to permit the activity, indicating a change in the attitudes towards sports-related gambling. It is likely that Louisiana lawmakers will take further steps towards crafting a more comprehensive bill in 2019.
Lawmakers in Massachusetts are currently considering seven sports betting bills. The bills are a combination of study bills and bills that would legalize sports betting. Massachusetts stands out as it is one of the few states that doesn’t have any casino operations. Sports betting is not yet legal in The Bay State but that hasn’t stopped state stakeholders preparing for it. In February 2018, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission published a 31-page white paper that outlined everything the state would need to consider when studying the possibility of legalizing the activity. The resource is so in depth it can be applied to other states that are studying the topic. In November 2018, the state lawmakers introduced a sports betting bill which is still being discussed by the legislature.
Lawmakers are currently exploring the possibility of legalizing sports betting in Michigan, however, very little progress has been made. Lawmakers have teased a new piece of legislation which is expected to be introduced later on in 2019, which could include provisions for online and mobile betting. In 2017, Michigan lawmakers proposed a piece of legislation that would amend the states gambling laws. The bill would permit any casino that holds a license to offer sports gambling markets. This bill also stated that the state’s gambling regulator would be responsible for crafting sports betting regulation. The bill was not voted on in the state’s 2018 legislative session.
Minnesota lawmakers introduced a draft sports betting bill in April 2018. The bill would have authorized bets and created a commission to oversee any gambling activity on sports in the state. Not only would land-based wagers on sport have been allowed under this bill, but also mobile sports betting. In May the state’s legislative session came to an end with no action on the legislation. A new bill was introduced in 2019 that would allow the state’s tribes to offer sports betting at their casinos. However, the bill has yet to gain enough support to make it past the first couple of legislative hurdles. The state legislature is set to adjourn on 20 May 2019, which means the state has a very small window to legalize sports betting.
Lawmakers in Missouri are looking at seven sports betting bills. Each of these bills was introduced during the 2019 legislative session and six of them call for the legalization of mobile and online sports betting. However, one of the bills, SB 195, restricts sports betting to Missouri’s riverboat casinos. Very little progress has been made with these bills, but there is still plenty of time of the legislative clock which means we could see sports betting in Missouri by the end of the year.
New York sports wagering looks like it could be just around the corner after years of work. In 2013, the state passed a law that allowed four of the state’s casinos to offer on-site sports betting. While the bill that sought to legalize full-scale sports betting in New York failed in June 2018, the bill was revived in 2019 with much more comprehensive and stronger language. New York’s Governor has also come out in favor of sports betting, so the only issue that remains is the authorization of mobile betting in New York.
Ohio lawmakers have introduced two sports betting bill during the 2019 legislative session. One of the bills would legalize land-based sports betting, while the other would authorize land-based betting and state-wide mobile sports betting. Both of the bills have yet to be discussed by the House or Senate. Our eyes are on Ohio to legalize sports betting in 2019
Oregon was another one of the four states that received some form of exemption from PASPA because sports betting was already legal here in 1992. The Oregon Lottery used to offer a type of pick ‘em game for football events, though this game was actually put on hold over 10 years ago. It is possible for the state to introduce legislation to relaunch sports betting operations in the future. In 2019, the Oregon Lottery named SBTech the contract to run sports betting operations in the state, which implies that Oregon is taking steps towards legalizing full-scale sports betting.
South Carolina’s lawmakers are looking at two joint resolution proposals that would amend the state’s constitution to authorize sports betting. A study bill was also introduced which aims to look at implications of sports betting and the impact it will have on South Carolina’s economy. In 2017, state lawmakers introduced House Bill 3102 that sought to amend South Carolina’s constitution to allow residents to wager on professional sports, but only authorized in “specific” areas in state lines.
Lawmakers in Tennessee have approved a bill that would only legalize online and mobile sports betting. This is the first bill of its kind that would only allow online and mobile betting. The bill now sits with the state’s Governor who has said that he won’t sign the bill. Instead, he will allow the bill to become law without his signature. It’s just a matter of time until online sports betting goes live in Tennessee. This bill, however, would create one of the least attractive environments for sports betting operators as it gives the major sports leagues a significant amount of influence over sports betting and also set an incredibly high tax rate.
Several bills that would legalize sports betting in Maine were introduced in 2019, however, in early May lawmakers killed all but one of them. The surviving bill is being considered by the Veteran and Legal Affairs Committee who will select several provisions to be included in a recommended bill. This is expected to include mobile betting and authorize betting at bingo halls and off-track betting parlors but may prohibit betting on esports.
Lawmakers in New Hampshire are considering a bill that would legalize land-based and online sports betting. So far, the bill has passed the House and has yet to receive a vote from the Senate. However, the bill has received a strong level of support so far which makes the prospect of legal sports betting in New Hampshire promising. The state’s legislative session is set to end on 30 June 2019, meaning there is still time for New Hampshire to legalize sports betting.
On the last day of the legislative session on May 3, Colorado lawmakers sent a sports betting bill to the Governor for approval. If approved, voters in the state will have a chance to vote whether to legalize sports betting during the November general election. The bill will allow each of the state’s 33 casinos to apply for sports betting license and partner with land-based and online sports betting operators.
Lawmakers in North Carolina introduced a bill that would allow the state’s gambling tribes to offer sports betting. The bill has been approved by the Senate and is currently being considered by the House. The bill would only allow sports betting at land-based tribal gambling establishments. North Carolina’s legislative session comes to an end at the tail end of June, meaning there is still enough time for the state to pass the bill.
Democrat lawmakers in Texas introduced a bill that would legalize online and mobile sports betting across the state. However, the bill is unlikely to succeed as the state is dominated by anti-gambling Republican politicians. On top of that, the bill creates one of the least enticing sports betting models for operators, imposing a 6.25% tax on sports betting handle and only five licenses will be available. So far the bill has not received a date for a hearing in the House or Senate.
The state of Vermont currently has a sports betting bill on file that would legalize land-based and mobile betting while. The bill, titled HB 484, would also allow licensed sportsbooks to extend credit to bettors. This bill is unlikely to proceed with such a provision as it would allow irresponsible wagering and could contribute to the spread of problem gambling. In the meantime, the state is also considering two sports betting study bills which will allow them to gain a much better understanding of the implications of legalizing sports betting in the state.
States with dead sports betting bills in 2019
Although 2019 has been an exciting year for the expansion and legalization of sports betting across the US, there are several states that are yet to successful approve sports betting legislation. Let’s take a closer look at the state’s where proposed sports betting legislation was either unsuccessful or died early on in the legislative process.
The Arizona sports betting bill would have granted the state’s gambling tribes the exclusive right to offer sports betting at their tribal casinos. However, throughout its lifetime, the bill came under heavy fire from tribal interests and the legislative session came to an end on April 23. If Arizona wants to legalize sports betting in the future the state will need to renegotiate the state-tribal compacts to allow sports betting.
Although lawmakers introduced a Georgia sports betting bill, it was ultimately unsuccessful. It’s possible that lawmakers may try to legalize the activity in the future but it won’t be an easy task. All forms of gambling and any real money games that involve cards are illegal in Georgia. On top of this, there are no casinos or race tracks operating in the state. The state’s politicians are mainly anti-gambling Republicans who oppose the expansion of gambling and any proposed gambling expansion that has been introduced in the past has been unsuccessful.
Towards the end of January, lawmakers in Hawaii introduced a bill that would have legalized sports betting and created the Hawaii Sports Wagering Corporation. The bill, HB 1107, was ultimately unsuccessful with lawmakers refusing to vote on the bill. This did not come as a surprise as Hawaii is one of the few states with no form of gambling. However, a bill was adopted in March that would create a sports betting advisory and study committee.
North Dakota’s sports betting bill would have authorized sports betting at kiosks located across the state. The bill was ultimately unsuccessful after It took had to be voted on twice before it passed the House, and failed to make it past the Senate vote. It is possible that North Dakota may try to legalize sports betting in 2020.
In South Dakota, the state legislature introduced Senate Joint Resolution 2, which proposed a constitutional amendment to authorize sports betting in the town of Deadwood. The bill was successful in the Senate but failed to gain enough support in the House and was ultimately unsuccessful. South Dakota may consider legalizing sports betting in 2020.
Three sports betting bills were introduced by Kansas lawmakers in 2019. Each of the bills would have placed a different entity in charge of sports betting in Kansas. However, all bills were unsuccessful in the 2019 legislative session and none of the bills gained enough support. It is possible that lawmakers may try to reintroduce sports betting legislation in 2020.
Several bills that would legalize sports betting in Kentucky were introduced in 2019, however, none have made significant progress. There were five sports betting bills on file in Kentucky and it appears that all of them have stalled in the early committee stages. The state’s legislative session came to an end in late March. As the hosts of the Kentucky Derby —one of the biggest events of the year for bettors— there’s definitely an appetite for sports betting amongst the state’s residents. A series of similar bills were introduced throughout 2018, each one more comprehensive than the last. In November 2018, the state’s attorney general proposed using sports betting revenue to fund the state’s pension system which is currently in a state of crisis. This did not play a part in 2019’s legal efforts. If lawmakers can come together next year, they may be able to legalize sports betting in 2020.
Eight sports betting bills were introduced in Virginia, all of which stalled in the early stages after failing to gain enough support from lawmakers. However, all hope is not lost for sports betting in Virginia. In February, the state’s Governor signed a gambling expansion bill into law titled SB 1126. This bill allows the Virginia Lottery to authorize different casino gambling activities as well as sports betting. It is ultimately up to the state lottery if they wish to authorize sports betting, but it looks unlikely. The state may have better luck with a fresh sports betting bill in 2020.
Sports betting legislation in Maryland was unsuccessful in 2019, marking the second year in a row that the state failed to legalize sports betting. The legal landscape in Maryland posed a challenge for the state as lawmakers were unable to agree whether legalizing sports betting would require voter approval. The bill would also have granted the lottery a monopoly over sports betting leaving commercial gambling companies at a disadvantage and restricting player choice. It looks like sports betting in Maryland will have to wait until next year.
Lawmakers in Washington introduced a bill that would allow the state’s tribal gambling operators to offer sports betting. The bill stalled in the House after being referred to an appropriations committee, where the bill has yet to be discussed. It looks like Washington’s lawmakers will have to wait until 2020 to discuss the legalization of sports betting again.
States with no legislation
There is still a long way to go when it comes to the legalization of sports betting in US states. In fact, a number of states are yet to introduce legislation or even explore what it could bring to the table. While some states have not legalized sports betting because existing state laws on gambling are so restrictive, others still consider gambling to be immoral and wrong. As the US sports betting market continues to open up we may begin to see more and more states legalize sports betting. The following states have not shown any indication of a movement towards the legalization of sports gambling activity.
Alaska did not introduce any sports betting legislation in 2019. This state is incredibly restrictive when it comes to gambling. Alaska doesn’t have a state lottery, casino or horse racing track, and online gambling is restricted to fantasy sports and skill games. It’s also unlikely that sports betting will be legalized in Alaska. In fact, it is one of a handful of states where it is illegal to promote gambling activities and participate in gambling.
No legislation was introduced in 2019, meaning it is still illegal to wager on sports in California. However, state lawmakers in the state have previously shown a willingness to legalize sports betting. In July 2017, assembly member Adam Gray proposed a constitutional amendment that would let the state “permit sports wagering only if a change in federal law occurs.” Once PASPA, the ‘federal law’ to which this refers, was struck down, Gray issued a statement calling for the legalization of sports betting in California.
California has an upcoming voters referendum which could legalize the activity. Even if residents do vote to legalize sports betting in California, lawmakers will have to craft legislation and regulations that do not conflict with the compacts between Indian gambling tribes and the state, which means it could be some time before punters can bet on sports.
Lawmakers in Florida did not introduce any sports betting legislation in 2019, so it seems that sports betting in Florida won’t be legalized anytime soon. In November 2018, Florida’s voters approved Amendment 3, an amendment to the state’s gambling laws that gives voters in Florida the “exclusive right to decide whether to authorize casino gambling in the state.”
According to state law, casino gambling in Florida includes sports betting. This effectively removes the state’s elected officials from the decision-making process when it comes to the expansion of gambling in Florida. The amendment also received support from some of the state’s biggest stakeholders, with the Walt Disney Corporation donating over $20m to campaigns supporting the amendment.
Idaho is another state that did not introduce sports betting legislation in 2019. As it stands, the laws in the state prohibit fantasy sports games and sports betting. The state’s gambling laws also prohibit all forms of sports betting, which may make it hard for lawmakers to gain support for legislation in the future. However, lawmakers and residents in Idaho aren’t completely against gambling which means there may be a possibility the state could explore legalizing sports betting in the future.
Nebraska has yet to explore the topic of legalizing sports betting. This comes as no surprise to us as the state’s constitution prohibits most forms of gambling. In recent years, the state has resisted all efforts to expand its gambling industry beyond the state lottery, keno parlors and horse racing industry.
In 2019, Oklahoma lawmakers did not introduce any sports betting legislation. However, there is an appetite to legalize the activity. In 2018, Lawmakers in Oklahoma introduced a bill that aimed to permit the state’s governor to expand on compacts between the state and tribes to include sports betting pools, but this legislation was not acted upon. According to the legislation, “wagering on the outcome of one or more competitive games in which athletes participate, or on one or more performances of such athletes in such games where all bets are placed in a common pool or pot from which all player winnings, prizes and direct costs are paid.”
Utah has not introduced any sports betting bills since the repeal of PASPA. Judging from the state’s stance on gambling, it’s highly unlikely that Utah will legalize sports betting. Utah is the lone state that does not allow any form of gambling. In fact, Utah’s official gambling laws prohibit all gambling, including state-run and tribal operations.
The state of Wisconsin has not made any legal effort to authorize sports betting in 2019. Lawmakers and residents in the state do not oppose gambling, but sports betting is illegal in the state and previous attempts made by lawmakers to legalize sports betting have been unsuccessful. At the moment, there has been very little demand for the approval of sports betting in Wisconsin, making it hard to gauge whether or not the state will move to legalize betting on sports anytime soon.
Wyoming has not introduced any sports betting legislation in 2019. The state is unlikely to legalize the activity anytime soon as according to gambling laws, it is a crime to gamble. The state’s definition of gambling means that sports betting is also prohibited under this law. Lawmakers in the state have not come out in support of sports betting and so it looks like Wyoming is unlikely to authorize sports betting in the near future.
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