Voters in six states will decide issues related to gaming during the mid-term elections on Tuesday, but only two will consider measures directly related to sports betting and daily fantasy sports. Arkansans will have the opportunity to issue casino licenses to four casinos across the state, and those casinos could then offer gaming, including sports betting.
In Louisiana, voters will decide whether or not to legalize daily fantasy sports games, but the Louisiana state constitution requires that this decision be made on a parish-by-parish basis. In the end, some Louisiana parishes could vote to make daily fantasy games legal while others could vote against it.
If approved, Arkansas’ Issue 4 would authorize casinos in Crittenden, Garland, Pope, and Jefferson counties. Two of the licenses would automatically be granted to Southland Racing Corporation and Oaklawn Jockey Club. For the other two licenses, applicants in Pope and Jefferson counties would have to apply and prove their experience in casino gaming.
Arkansans Could Legalize Sports Betting Tuesday While Louisianans Will Vote Parish-by-Parish on Daily Fantasy Games.
The Arkansas measure calls for a tax rate of 13 percent on the first $150 million in net gaming receipts and a 20 percent on all net gaming receipts above $150 million. The tax revenue would be distributed 55 percent to the state’s general revenue fund; 19.5 percent to the city (or county if the casino not in a city) the casino is located in; 17.5 percent to the Arkansas Racing Commission to be used for purses at Oaklawn and Southland; and eight percent to the county the the casino is located in.
In Louisiana, Representative Kirk Talbot (R-River Ridge) proposed the initiative, and according to the Baton Rouge Advocate, he expects it to pass in 50 of the state’s 64 parishes. Though the state is already awash in gambling opportunities at truck stops, on riverboat casinos, in bars and at racetracks, gambling is technically prohibited in Louisiana. To get around that constitutional prohibition, the bill calling for the initiative reads, “participation in any fantasy sports contest … shall not be considered gambling.”
Two proposed ballot measures — in Maryland and California — did not make it on to the 2018 ballot and sports betting will be on hold in those states. While voters in Maryland will have their say on directing some casino revenue to education, the “Maryland Sports Betting Measure,” which would have allowed voters to authorize the state legislature to allow video lottery operators and horse racing tracks to apply for sports betting licenses, did not make it onto the ballot.
In California, a political consultant is working to get the “Gaming Fairness and Accountability Act” onto the 2020 ballot. More than half a dozen stakeholders support the idea. In addition, California Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-District 21) filed Constitutional Amendment ACA 18 in 2017. The amendment would allow sports betting in California and allow the state assembly to pass laws with regard to regulations and implementation. But the amendment stalled in the state legislature and didn’t make it onto the ballot.
Florida, Idaho and Missouri Voters Will Cast Ballots on Other Gambling Related Issues.
Besides the Maryland initiative related to where to direct casino revenue, three other states will vote on four gambling-related measures, some of which could lay the groundwork for sports betting. Here’s a look at at the initiatives:
Florida: If approved, Amendment 3 would give state residents the ability to decide, through future ballot measures, to legalize gambling in the Sunshine State. Florida already has tribal casinos throughout the state. In addition, Floridians will have vote on Amendment 13, which if approved, would ban betting on live dog racing.
Idaho: If approved, Proposition 1 would authorize using video terminals for “instant racing,” which involves betting on historical horse races.
Missouri: If approved, Amendment 4 would alter the state’s current laws on bingo.