Now that the Supreme Court has overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, the 1992 law that banned sports wagering in every state except Nevada, what happens next? Some states were able to get ahead of the decision and pass legislation to legalize sports betting. And more than 20 states are considering legalizing it.
Pennsylvania and West Virginia were the first two states with sports betting laws on the books, while New Jersey, which brought the Supreme Court case in the first place, is prepared to offer legal sports betting in Atlantic City and at race tracks soon. New York, Delaware and Mississippi are poised to become the states to offer full-fledged sports betting. Others came close during this year’s legislative sessions may join early in 2019.
Below is your guide to nine states where lawmakers seem serious about making sports betting legal, soon, and what that means to bettors.
Supreme Court Rules Sport Betting Ban Unconstitutional: Guide to States Serious About Making Sports Betting Legal
New Jersey Won Murphy v NCAA and Sports Betting Should Be Up and Running Throughout the State Sooner Than Later.
Victory is sweet and New Jersey has been preparing for a favorable decision and may be ready to take the state’s first legal sports bet as soon as two weeks from now.
In February, David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Gaming Enforcement, told Sports Handle that the state is accepting applications for businesses seeking licenses to have New Jersey sports wagering. The state legislature is now working on a law that will establish a state framework for the future.
How Soon Will Sports Betting Be Legal?: Since New Jersey technically doesn’t outlaw sports wagering anymore, the state may permit sports betting at gaming facilities that have the infrastructure. But a law setting up a regulatory framework will come soon.
Online Betting: Online sports betting through approved licensees an their online partners will be legal in New Jersey.
Where to Bet: New Jersey’s commercial casinos are in Atlantic City, along the boardwalk and, in general clustered together. As a group, they are Las Vegas-style casinos with large gaming floors and slot machines. All are run by national casino companies that have an interest in New Jersey sports betting. Two additional casinos are on the way.
While Delaware’s Sports Lottery game was “grandfathered” in under PASPA, the state is hoping to be among the first to roll out single-game sports betting, should PASPA be overturned. The Sports Lottery was first introduced in 1976, but didn’t do well and was resurrected in 2009 under then-Governor Jack Markell. The Sports Lottery limits bettors to parlays of at least three NFL games with some teaser games.
Most interesting about Delaware is that the head of the Delaware State Lottery, Vernon Kirk, believes that The First State won’t even need legislative action in order to implement single-game sports wagering.
How Soon Will Sports Betting Be Legal?: Since Delaware already has parlay sports betting and the state may not even need to pass a law legalizing single-game sports wagering, we’d guess sports betting will be legal in Delaware as soon as operators can set up infrastructure after PASPA is overturned.
Online Betting: Online betting is not yet allowed in Delaware, but probably will be coming soon.
Where to Bet: Delaware’s in-person gambling sites are limited to three “racinos,” a racetrack that also has gambling facilities, which may include slot machines and table games. All three racinos have dedicated poker rooms. In Delaware, the three racinos – one of which is located in the state capitol of Dover – are equipped to handle sports betting and would likely be the first sites at which sports wagering will take place.
West Virginia Is the Only State That has Legalized Sports Betting in 2018, and Could Start Offering it Before the End of This Year.
In early March, West Virginia became the first state to legalize sports betting during the 2018 legislative term. The “West Virginia Lottery Sports Wagering Act” gives the state lottery regulatory and licensure responsibilities. The state will allow existing casino and racetrack licensees — there are five of them — to apply for licenses along with a $100,000 application fee, requiring renewal every five years at the same rate. The state will levy a 10 percent tax on operators’ gross sports wagering revenue.
The new law does not include the integrity fee the pro leagues have been pushing for, though Gov. Jim Justice walked back on that point a bit shortly after signing the house bill. Justice suggested that the state welcomes a “partnership” with the pro sports leagues and that he would be open to calling a special session of the legislature to amend the law.
How Soon Will Sports Betting Be Legal? Given West Virginia’s enthusiasm for passing sports-betting legislation, it appears that sports betting should be legal now that PASPA has been overturned. Gaming venues must set up infrastructure. It will probably happen in the next 60 days.
Online Betting: Mobile sports betting will be allowed, but those using apps must be located in West Virginia. Whether or not bettors would be required to register in person will be left up to the West Virginia Lottery Commission, which will oversee sports wagering.
Where to Bet: West Virginia has both casinos and live horse-racing tracks and under the new law, sports wagering would be legal at both types of venues.
The first state to legalize sports betting, Pennsylvania was way ahead of the curve, passing a law in October 2017. This was before the pro sports leagues started peddling their model bill and encouraging states to pay an integrity fee. But that still doesn’t mean Pennsylvania gaming outlets will embrace sports betting — state lawmakers imposed a 34 percent tax on daily sports betting revenue, which is nearly five times the tax in Nevada and 3.4 times the tax included in West Virginia’s new sports-betting law. Besides that, that state will require a one-time $10 million certification fee. Based on all of that, it’s hard to say if Pennsylvania lawmakers really want sports betting in their state or if they passed the law as a way to squelch discussion and get the topic off their calendar.
How Soon Will Sports Betting Be Legal?: With a law already on the books and PASPA overturned, sports betting should be legal as soon as gaming locations can get infrastructure in place. And, assuming with all of the fees that gaming operators want it.
Online Betting: It does not appear that online sports wagering is addressed in the new law.
Where to Bet: Pennsylvania has casinos, racinos, and off-track betting parlors, all of which could accommodate sports gambling facilities. There are facilities in both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia as well as in the Poconos.
The answer to this question isn’t as clear as it in most states. In March 2017, the Mississippi legislature passed HB 967, a fantasy sports bill that modified the Gaming Control Act. The end result is that the bill legalizes sports gambling in Mississippi. Fast forward to January 2018, after the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Murphy v NCAA. Two lawmakers proposed HB 1113 a bill that would make sports betting illegal in Mississippi. Fantasy sports were not included in this bill. HB 1113 was referred to the House Gaming Committee where it died two weeks later. At about the same time, HB 1154, a bill to study sports betting in Mississippi, was introduced and referred to the same committee, and also died.
So, where does that leave things? Pretty much right where they were at the start of the 2018 legislative session – with language on the books to allow sports betting at licensed casinos throughout the state. HB 967 does not address online sports betting.
How Soon Will Sports Betting Be Legal?: Mississippi Gaming Commission (MGC) executive director Allen promised sports betting “within 45 to 60 days [of a decision], before football season.”
Online Betting: Daily fantasy is already legal in Mississippi, so even though the latest bill (HB 967) doesn’t directly address online sports gaming, so off the bat there may not be a legal component for sports betting, at least until the legislature acts on that.
Where to Bet: Mississippi’s in-person gambling sites are limited to casinos – both commercial and tribal. Casinos are located throughout the state, with clusters in several areas, including Biloxi, Bay Saint Louis/Gulfport, Vicksburg and Tunica. All are equipped to handle sports betting and would likely be among the first locations to offer sports wagering.
Though there are multiple bills circulating in the Missouri state legislature, the governor, Eric Greitens, is involved in a sex scandal that lawmakers say makes it unlikely that any new issues will get traction before the session ends on May 18. There are three bills circulating in House that include everything from allowing sports betting at any licensed operator to one that limits sports betting to riverboat casinos. H 2535 includes the league-friendly integrity fee. There are a total of six bills circulating on both sides of the chamber, and it’s likely that sponsors are laying the groundwork for passage of a law in 2019.
How Soon Will Sports Betting Be Legal? Certainly not before the end of 2018, but if lawmakers can educate their peers and come to a consensus, expect Missouri to pass legislation early in the 2019 session.
Online Betting: Some of the current bills would allow it, while others wouldn’t. But we’d be that mobile and online wagering will be made legal should Missouri pass legislation.
Where to Bet: Missouri has more than a dozen riverboat casinos and any or all could choose to offer sports betting.
Hoping to be one of the first states other than Nevada to legalize sports betting – especially with neighbor New Jersey and Pennsylvania already poised to do so – the New York legislature currently has bills in both the Assembly and the Senate, but the leading bill is S7900 by John Bonacic, which would legalize sports betting in the state. Per reports from Gambling Compliance, bill is currently undergoing some changes.
1/ Multiple sources have told us that a revised version of #NY #sportsbetting bill S7900 is making the rounds in Albany. Notably, proposed language in the draft would remove the NV-style in-person registration requirement for internet/mobile wagering.
— Chris Krafcik (@CKrafcik) May 11, 2018
In January, the Senate held a public hearing to discuss sports betting. And there is some question about whether it is already legal for the state’s four commercial casinos to offer sports wagering, based on the language of a 2013 constitutional amendment. Lawmakers are also exploring ways to make sports betting legal for all gambling facilities via constitutional amendment. The state legislature adjourns June 20.
“New York is a premiere sports state and city. We will not be left out of this space” Rep. Clyde Vanel told Sports Handle in April. “If the Supreme Court rules for New Jersey, we will not be left out for too long.”
How Soon Will Sports Betting Be Legal?: If legislation is passed before the end of the session, then expect sports betting to be legal as early as the end of 2018. If not, the goal would likely be early-mid 2019.
Online Betting: In the pending legislation, online betting would be legal, through approved apps and online websites.
Where to Bet: There is no shortage of places to bet in New York, from commercial and tribal casinos to horse race tracks and OTB parlors. It’s a good bet that all of these facilities can handle sports betting and will be among the first in the state to offer sports wagering.
Michigan Lawmakers Want to Be Among the First Movers in Legalizing Sports Wagering.
With four bills floating around the state legislature, and a year-round session, it would seem that Michigan may be among the first movers in making sports betting legal. Representatives Brandt Iden (R-District 61) and Robert Kosowski (D-District 16) have crossed the aisle to work together to get legislation moving. The four bills are all in the Regulatory Reform Committee, of which Iden is the chairman, and Iden is working to smooth the pathway with the state’s tribal operators so that a bill can get passed.
None of the current bills address the “integrity fee” that the pro sports leagues are lobbying for, but Iden and Kosowski concede that it’s likely there will be some sort of fee, just not at the 1 percent that the pro leagues are asking for.
How Soon Will Sports Betting Be Legal?: Legislation must be passed first, so the answer is unclear.
Online Betting: Both Representatives Iden and Kosowski support online wagering in their bills, but may require in-person registration, which is not ideal for people who live outside the Detroit metropolitan area, which is where the commercial casinos are located.
Where to Bet: Michigan has three commercial casinos in Detroit and a bevy or tribal-owned casinos throughout the state. The goal would be for sports betting to be legal at all locations.
With the Session Closed, Iowa Missed the Boat for 2018, But Expect Lawmakers to Come Back Hard on Sports Betting in 2019.
In February, the an Iowa House committee advanced a bill to legalize sports betting and does not include the integrity fee that the NBA and MLB have been lobbying for. Of course, the pro sports are likely lobbying for any legislation that has a true shot at becoming include some sort of cut to them. The bill also has a tiered tax rate – 5 percent on the first $1 million in adjusted gross receipts and 10 percent on the next $2 million. The bill passed the Iowa House Government Committee handily, 16-7, and was referred to the Ways and Means Committee because it involves a tax. But the session closed in April and no bill was passed.
How Soon Will Sports Betting Be Legal?: We’d bet early in the 2019 session, unless a special session to look at sports betting is called.
Online Betting: Highfill has said that a mobile component will be included in any final bill.
Where to Bet: There will be no shortage of places to place sports bets should sports wagering become legal in Iowa. The state has casinos – both commercial and tribal – as well as live horse-racing tracks and OTB parlors.
The legislative session adjourned at the beginning of May with no new law. In mid-March, Kansas lawmakers held a hearing to learn about sports betting. The result? Legislators seemed to feel that there was a lot more for them to study and that they were not in love with the idea of paying the pro leagues an integrity fee. The general feel was that it would be awhile before lawmakers really sorted out what sports betting in Kansas would look like – and even if it would really be worth considering. Ten days later, two bills embracing the integrity fee and giving pro leagues control of data, were introduced in both the House and the Senate. Dubbed the “Kansas Sports Wagering Act,” the legislation does call for a lower “integrity fee” than the leagues have been lobbying for — .25 percent vs. 1 percent — and a 6.75 percent tax. The integrity fee is capped at 5 percent of aggregate gross revenue.
How Soon Will Sports Betting Be Legal?: Not before 2019, since the legislative session concluded with no new law.
Online Betting: The senate bill does allow for mobile wagering.
Where to Bet: Kansas has nine casinos, both commercial and tribal, as well as three horse-racing tracks. All would likely be able to accommodate sports wagering, though Kansas gaming stakeholders warned during the March hearing that the integrity fee and a high tax rate have the potential give casinos pause before introducing sports betting.
Other states to watch as legislative deadlines near, and then in early 2019:
- Rhode Island