If you haven’t already heard, states can now officially legalize sports
betting if they chose to do so after the US Supreme Court struck down the
federal ban last year. There are now a variety of bills on file around the
country and even some new laws in place that pertain to sports betting and
I am going to run through all 50 states and given you a synopsis of which
States already allow sports betting, which are on their way to passing the
bill and which are just flat out not interested.
States That Already Allow Sports Betting
Nevada is the originating state, and many states might look to them for the
best practices in the regulation of sports betting.
On June 5, 2018, Delaware moved to offer single-game betting on a number of
different sports at three casinos in the state. This happened less than a
month after the Supreme Court ruled that federal law restrictions on single
game betting was unconstitutional.
New Jersey –
On June 11, 2018, a sports betting bill was signed and a William Hill
sportsbook at Monmouth Park took the first bets on Thursday, June 14. A
mere 30-minutes later, the Borgata in Atlantic City booked its first sports
bet. Shortly after, a few other sportsbooks started taking wagers, and the
Meadowlands opened its doors on July 14 for the FanDuel’s first sportsbook.
Mississippi requires all sports betting to take place in-person, with
mobile wagering to be considered at a later date. This big win was put to
light when a new law in 2017 was passed that allowed MGM Resorts to allow
their two casinos to start booking bets on Aug 1, 2018.
West Virginia –
West Virginia became the fifth state to offer legal and regulated sports
betting when Hollywood Casino opened its doors on August 30, 2018. The West
Virginia Lottery Commission is serving as the chief regulator, and both
in-person and online sports wagering are permitted under the law.
New Mexico –
On October 16, 2018, the Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel booked its first
sports bet in partnership with Nevada-based USBookmaking. However, that
move came in conjunction with a gaming compact currently in place with the
state. Any new sports betting legislation has not yet been passed, and a
published report indicates that bets are not permitted on games involving
the University of New Mexico or New Mexico State University.
Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course booked its first legal sports
bet in Pennsylvania sometime in mid-November 2018. This move came after a
new sports betting bill was signed as part of a broader legislation that
pushed to include online poker and Daily Fantasy Sports.
Rhode Island –
The legalization came on November 26, when Twin River Casino opened its
door for the first time for legal sports betting. However, under the state
law, Rhode Island can only operate two locations and the state’s lottery is
providing regulatory oversight.
Up-and-Coming Legalization States
New York –
In 2013, New York passed a law to allow sports betting at four on-site
locations. After that law was D.O.A, many think the law is about to be
revived. The New York State Gaming Commission is aiming to complete
regulations ‘in the short term’ for four locations specified under the 2013
law. On October 26, a Supreme Court Judge ruled that the states
two-year-old DFS law violated the state’s constitution. The Attorney
General will likely appeal the ruling, and both Draft Kings and FanDuel
confirmed they will continue offering fantasy contests in the state. It’s
only a matter of time before sports betting is officially legalized.
On November 6, 2018, Arkansas voters approved ‘Issue 4,’ a constitutional
amendment that will bring expanded gambling – including sports betting – to
four counties in the state. On the bill, a section included ‘accepting
wagers on sports events’. The Arkansas Racing Commission will oversee
licensing at the four locations, and it’s a process that could take months
Moving Toward Legalization
Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, Massachusetts,
Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South
Carolina, California, Oregon, Montana, Ohio, Washington D.C.,
Tennessee, Virginia, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Maine, Arizona,
Hawaii, South Dakota, Texas, Washington State, Georgia, Vermont, North
Carolina, Colorado, Alabama
Without taking up 18 pages and more of your time than I need to, I grouped
these States together for the same reason. They are all moving towards
legalization, but no laws or bills have been passed yet, and they are
simply not close like the two states in the above category. For the most
part, these states have several rules and regulations that need to put in
place, such as fees for obtaining a permit (Texas must pay $250,000 to
operate sports books) or laws that prohibited betting on University
No Legalization Activity Yet
Idaho, Florida, Alaska, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Utah
These states all have laws in place that prohibit full-blown sports
betting. Such laws would need to be repealed before any news laws could be
set in place. As of writing this, there are no bills in motion that could
change the status quo.