Since the start of the legislation season in January, Indiana, Iowa and Montana have passed sports betting legislation and are now waiting for their respective governors to act. In Montana, the lottery bill was sent to Governor Steve Bullock on April 25, with a bill that would have the attorney general as the regulator is likely on its way.
In Iowa, HF 748 to authorize brick-and-mortar and mobile sports betting is headed to Governor Kim Reynolds and the session is set to adjourn on May 3. And in Indiana HB 1015, a comprehensive gaming bill that would accomplish the same passed both chambers on April 24, the final day before adjournment, and will be sent to the Governor Eric Holcomb for his signature.
In the meantime, six other states’ legislative bodies adjourned last week or will within a week without sports betting passing both chambers. Below is a look at what happened in each of these states.
Colorado may let voters decide
Arizona: The state legislature adjourned April 23 with a bill that would have given tribes exclusivity over sports betting on the floor. SB 1158 (originally SB 1163) got through a Senate committee in January, but several Arizona tribes opposed the legislation and there was no further movement. In order for Arizona to legalize, the state and its tribes will have to get on the same page and renegotiate the existing tribal-state gaming compact.
Arkansas: The session was extended to May 6, and voters in the state legalized sports betting via referendum last November. Regulators are currently developing rules, and a “league bill” was introduced earlier this year, but didn’t get any traction. Eventually, sports betting should be available at four racinos across the state.
Colorado: Legislators in Colorado were a little late to the party, introducing sports betting legislation on April 18, just two weeks before the legislative session is set to adjourn on Thursday. But the House approved HB 1327 last week in a landslide, and a Senate hearing is set for Tuesday. The bill would allow voters to decide whether or not to legalize sports betting at three existing gaming facilities and would impose a 10 percent tax on gross revenue. Could Colorado send the decision to legalize to voters before the session expires? Given the speed with which the bill moved through the House, it looks like a pretty good possibility.
Colorado was overshadowed a bit by the wave of sports betting news from last week. Not only did the House pass a proposal for a ballot referendum before voters, but the Senate Finance committee approved the measure as well. It now sits with Appropriations.
— Ryan Bets (@bets_ryan) April 29, 2019
Florida: The state legislature adjourns Thursday, a week after new Governor Ron DeSantis convened the state’s industry stakeholders, no small feat, apparently. “It’s the first time since I’ve been involved that he’s gotten this whole group together,” said Barbara Havenick, whose family owns pari-mutuels in the state. “There’s never been a time that the industry’s been together and hasn’t wanted to kill itself.” The powerful Seminole Tribe and lawmakers appear open to negotiating a revised 31-year compact that would allow the Seminoles to offer sports betting. A revised compact is very unlikely to come together quickly, and nothing on the sports betting front will happen with the Seminoles’ assent. That said, they’re talking.
Hawaii: The Aloha State hasn’t done much with regard to legalizing sports betting and its likely the session will expire Wednesday with no movement. The House did adopt a bill in March that would create a sports betting advisory and study committee.
North Dakota: Representative Jason Dockter’s (R-District 7) HB 1254 got out of the House — though it needed two opportunities to do so — and was sent to the Senate where it failed to pass second reading on March 25. The bill would have allowed for sports betting at kiosks throughout the state. Maybe Dockter will have better luck next year.
On the horizon:
Tennessee: The other state that’s seen major and fairly unexpected movement. The session has a slightly longer runway, concluding on May 15. As of present, a vehicle that would legalize statewide mobile sports wagering, with regulatory oversight by the state lottery, passed the House on April 24 by a 58-37 margin. The measure is over to the Senate for consideration, a major step forward in the legislative process.