In May of 2018, the Supreme Court finally overturned the antiquated PASPA law that made sports betting in the United States illegal. Nearly everyone with the exception of former NBA star and PASPA pioneer Bill Bradley rejoiced in the fact that Americans can finally do something that most of Europe and Asia has already done for years and that’s bet on sports. Only a handful of states already had laws in place to welcome sports betting. It’s been over a year and not much has changed with the number of states that allow their citizens to actively make bets. Some states already have legalization in place and some aren’t even close, all the while many Americans are still making bets with overseas books while tax money that could be helping the economy is also shipped overseas. For those of you who don’t know which states allow legalized sports betting or would like to know how close your state is, let us look at a general timeline for all 50 states.
Step Right Up, Place Your Bets (States that currently allow sports betting)
Less Than a month after The Supreme Court’s decision 3 casinos in Delaware were taking bets. As of now, you can bet at Delaware Park Casino, Dover Downs Hotel & Casino, and Harrington Raceway & Casino. The state government is in the process of opening it up to more locations as well as online.
Soon after PASPA was overturned sports betting in Mississippi became legal and casinos across the state started taking bets. There are now over 30 casinos in the state that accept sports bets. The state government is in the process of passing legalization that would allow online sports betting.
Despite other states joining the party that Nevada had exclusive ownership over for years the state has not yet experienced any drop in revenue. Not only is Nevada not worried about losing visitors and revenue they are willing to take the lead in helping other states get up and running and following their lead on how to handle all issues.
Currently, there are two casinos in New Mexico that allow sports betting, The Santa Ana Star and The Blue Thunder. More Casinos are expected to follow suit. The state government is in the process of passing legalization that would allow online sports betting.
The state that led the charge to end the ridiculous PASPA law was ready when the Supreme Court shot it down. No one was more relieved than the casinos in Atlantic City which immediately started taking sports bets. Online sports betting is already huge in New Jersey with no restrictions.
As of this article 8 casinos in Pennsylvania were actively taking sports bets with 2 more casinos seeking their sports betting licenses. Pennsylvania already has the laws in place to allow online betting throughout the state and it should be up and running in the summer of 2019.
Rhode Island currently offers sports betting at two casinos, The Twin River Lincoln and Twin River Tiverton. The Governor of Rhode Island has also signed online sports betting into law and it will be available soon. There is blowback as The State Republican party is trying to go to court to overturn sports betting laws. Don’t they have anything better to do?
West Virginia currently allows sports betting at 5 casinos, The Greenbrier, The Hollywood Casino at Charles Town, Mardi Gras Casino, Mountaineer Casino, and Wheeling Island. Online Sports Betting is fully legal throughout the state.
States Hoping To Take Bets In 2019
Arkansas has all the laws in place for legalized sports betting in casinos as well as online and will start accepting bets at two casinos by the fall of 2019. Online sports betting faces a few difficult hurdles and may not be ready until 2020.
In late April the Indiana Senate passed a bill that would allow sports betting at casinos and online starting in July of 2019. The Bill is expected to pass in the house and could be on the Governor’s desk soon. Indiana very well could be the first state of 2019 to legalize sports betting.
A vote in April 2019 in the Iowa State Senate to legalize sports betting in casinos and online passed easily and now heads to the house where it expected to pass as well. The Governor is on board as well so it looks like Iowans will be able to place wagers before the end of 2019.
A house bill that would legalize sports betting and allow the Montana Lottery to run it overwhelmingly passed in both the house and senate and is expected to be signed by Governor Steve Bullock. Montana is in the running as the first state to get on board in 2019. Wagers would be accepted at casinos, online, as well as possible kiosks. Get your Montana Grizzlies bets ready, we expect it to be up and running by the fall.
New York State had a sports betting law on the books that would allow bets to be taken at 4 casinos since 2013. But when the PASPA law was overturned legislation that would have allowed betting to start in June of 2018 didn’t pass in time. The problem in NY is Governor Andrew Cuomo yields a lot of power and he will allow sports betting at the 4 casinos grandfathered in to take in person bets in 2019 but is thus far opposed to expanding it to other casinos and online betting. He even went as far as to mock the 13 million in taxes New Jersey expected to take in, calling 13 million dollars “a rounding error” in New York. While legislators drag their feet hundreds of millions are being bet illegally or online. 13 million dollars may seem like a rounding era but the estimated hundred million dollars that new casinos accepting bets around the New York City area, as well as online wagering could bring in will be something that New York won’t pass up for long.
North Carolina is another state vying to be the first to legalize sports betting in 2019. But before you pull out your smartphone and start betting on the Carolina Panthers the bill is very restrictive. Betting can only take place in person at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel the two casinos in the state. There will be no online betting mentioned in the bill. We’re not sure why that is but at least the state is on the right path.
Oregon was one of four states that were grandfathered in when PASPA became law in 1992 and the state allowed football parlays up until a decade ago. Getting full-fledged sports betting up and going will be easier in Oregon than most other states and lottery officials hope to be taking wagers at casinos, online and even kiosks at retailers around the state by the start of the 2019 football season. Get ready Oregon.
The fact that Tennessee does not have any casinos or racetracks will not stop the state’s residents from getting in on the fun. In April of 2019, The House and Senate both passed bills that would allow online sports betting starting July 1st, 2019 and Governor Bill Lee said he will allow it to turn into law without his signature. So if all goes well Tennesseans will be able to open their smartphone and bet on the 2019 MLB All-Star Game.
In February of 2019 legislators passed a bill to allow sports betting in Washington D.C and officials were hoping to start taking bets by Opening Day of the 2019 MLB season. That didn’t happen due to regulations and contracts needing to be hammered out but D.C. residents were promised that they would be able to make wagers by the start of the 2019 NFL season at privately run venues. These will include Nationals Park and Capital One Arena as well as other privately run books. Online wagering is scheduled to start in January 2020.
2020 Could Be A Good Year For Bettors In These States
In a move many believe was done just to test the waters, Alabama lawmakers introduced a sports betting bill that would allow betting in all casinos as well as online. The consensus is Alabama is reacting to other southern states passing their own bills and want to see how far away they are from passing their own legislation knowing the 1st draft will not pass through Congress. The current bill doesn’t even include the ability to bet on any games involving Alabama or Auburn which means the state has work to do. We don’t expect any bill to pass until fall 2020 at the earliest.
Arizona legislators are in a fight with tribal leaders who have run the gambling industry in Arizona for years. Lawmakers want to push through bills to get sports betting in Arizona ASAP while the tribal leaders greatly oppose the bill for fear their stranglehold on gambling will be taken away. It’s not a matter of if but when they come to an agreement but it doesn’t look like it will happen in 2019. Late 2020 should be a reasonable goal.
In April of 2019, Colorado lawmakers were aggressively pushing a bill through the House and Senate that would allow a November 2019 vote by the public to allow sports betting in all of Colorado’s 33 casinos as well as online. The Bill passed easily in the House and is expected to do the same in the Senate. We fully expect the Colorado voters to overwhelmingly vote yes as well which would make all sports betting in the state legal in May of 2020.
Not wanting to get left behind by its neighbors Connecticut lawmakers are desperately trying to get laws enacted that would allow sports betting at the state’s 2 casinos, state lottery, off-track betting partners and online. Some lawmakers are pushing for fall of 2019 but there is enough opposition who wants to slow down and make sure they get everything right it makes betting in 2020 a realistic goal.
Hawaii is one of two states along with Utah that outlaws all forms of gambling including lotteries, horse racing, even bingo so don’t expect them to move quickly to legalize sports betting on the islands. With that being said there has been some progress. There is a bill that would create The Hawaii Sports Wagering Corporation that will oversee the whole operation when it eventually becomes legal, which won’t be anytime soon.
In March of 2019, The Governor of Illinois JB Pritzker introduced a proposal that will allow the sale of 20 licenses for in person and online betting for 10 million dollars apiece. The Governor is desperately trying to get full legalization of all sports betting to help with the states 2 billion dollar deficit. We expect the legalization to happen in 2020.
The state that’s home to the most bet on horse race in the World is of course getting on board with legal sports betting, with most of the state’s lawmakers agreeing it will become a reality. The problem is while some lawmakers are pushing to get it done quickly to beat its neighbors, others are still dragging their feet. We expect by the 2020 Kentucky Derby, you will be able to bet on the race and the NBA playoffs from the same kiosk.
In April of 2019, The Louisiana Senate voted overwhelmingly yes on a sports betting bill that would allow wagering online, the four Racetracks with slot machines, 15 riverboat casinos and Harrah’s in New Orleans. The bill next heads to the house where it is also expected to pass. That will leave it up to a public vote in the fall of 2019. If you think the people of Louisiana and New Orleans are going to vote NO on a sports betting bill, you probably shouldn’t gamble. Look for Louisiana to start accepting bets in early 2020.
Lawmakers and the Governor all agree that Maine wants sport betting up and running by the start of the 2019 NFL season. The problem is agreeing on how to get there. There are two separate bills proposed and one has to be decided by May 30th, 2019. With the governor pushing them to decide it looks like Maine is very serious about their September goal. We think a more realistic goal is early 2020.
Massachusetts was looking to become the first state to legalize sports betting online before it legalizes it for casinos. A good reason for this is the state currently only has one active casino and governor Charlie Baker doesn’t want to be left behind by surrounding states. But a state budget plan released in April of 2019 did not include proposed taxes from sports betting which means it won’t happen in 2019. Lawmakers want more time to discuss who will run it and where bets can be made. Late 2020 looks like a realistic goal.
Outgoing governor Rick Snyder vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have legalized sports betting at the states 26 casinos and online back in December. Current governor Gretchen Whitmer is more likely to sign any bill that comes across her desk so lawmakers are working out some kinks before they reintroduce the bill. Sometime in 2020 looks like a realistic goal for Michigan to start taking bets.
Minnesota has legislation that passed its first test this spring but many lawmakers agree there will be no legal gambling in 2019. Most agree that there will be sports betting at casinos and online in the future, with the start of the 2020 NFL season a reasonable target. The governor wants more visitors to the casinos and tourism revenue so look for casino betting to push through before online.
In February of 2019 lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a bill in the House to build 2 casinos in the state and legalize sports betting at private locations and online. The bill moves to the Senate where it is expected to pass easily and Governor Chris Sununu has already said he will sign it during his budget address speech. New Hampshire hopes to be taking wagers in the fall but more realistically by early 2020.
Nearly everyone agrees that sports betting in Ohio will be a reality. The problem is there are competing bills that differ in who will run it. One bill has the casinos running it while the other has the lottery. That doesn’t seem like something that will get in the way of Ohio joining their neighbors and allowing betting. We expect the Buckeye state to be accepting wagers in person and online sometime in 2020.
Legislation for legalized sports betting in the state’s casinos was introduced in 2018 but no action was taken on it. Oklahoma as of now is in a waiting pattern trying to nail down the logistics with the many tribal-owned casinos in the state. When you combine over 60 casinos in the state with the passionate fanbases of the Oklahoma City Thunder and the two big universities, the lawmakers in Oklahoma will figure this out but probably not until 2020.
In January of 2019, a joint bill was introduced that will allow the public to vote on amending the state’s constitution to allow sports betting in South Carolina. The Carolinas seem to be watching each other closely and neither wants to be left behind so we expect you could see wagering in South Carolina by the end of 2020.
Lawmakers agree that they want sports betting in Vermont, the problem is there are 3 bills that are being discussed and until they can come to an agreement there will be no vote. The most interesting bill that is the front runner would allow the state to extend lines of credit to bettors. All three bills will not allow bets to be made on Vermont college teams or any event taking place in Vermont. Our best guess is Vermont could see legal betting in late 2020.
For years Virginia lawmakers have looked on while its residents crossed state lines (mainly into West Virginia) to gamble in casinos. Now that they are waving bye to sports betting dollars as well it looks like they have had enough. There are several bills on the docket that would not only allow sports betting at private locations and online but also to build casinos in the state for the first time. We expect with more Virginia dollars heading to Washington D.C. in the near future, Virginians will be able to bet in the state by 2020.
Washington state lawmakers introduced a bill in February of 2019 that would allow sports betting in all the state’s tribal casinos but the bill did not survive a house vote. Many lawmakers who support legalized betting don’t want the casinos to have all the control and want an online bill included with any proposal. That means no new bill will go in front state congress until 2020. The start of the 2020 NFL season is a reasonable goal for Washington to get it done.
States With A Long Road Ahead
Alaska’s only gambling is on cruise ships off the coast. That looks like it’s going to change in the near future. A bill was introduced in April of 2019 that would allow land-based “card rooms” or casinos without slot machines. Although the bill does not include sports betting that would be the next step if the first bill goes through. Look for Alaska to have card rooms with sports betting by 2021. If you like the slots the wait will be longer.
When the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize sports betting came down you would have thought California would have been one of the first to step up and get it done. That is not the case as there are many hurdles for the state to get on board. The tribal-owned casinos which control the majority of the gambling in the state don’t want it as of now but we believe they are just looking for a sweeter deal and control of the whole thing. But even if the tribes and the state can come to an agreement there still has to be a public vote to amend the constitution and as of right now there have been zero signatures gathered on the petition that needs over 620,000 to make the ballot in 2020. It’s clear California is dragging its feet which means the state that is by far the richest in the country and holds 1/8 of the population will have to wait until 2021 at the earliest.
For a state with almost 40 casinos and a Governor that seems in favor of sports betting the fact that Florida is on this list is a shocker. Florida lawmakers have a long way to go before they strike a new deal with the tribal leaders that run the majority of the states gambling. When that deal is struck then they have to pass legislation that is no lock to make it through the House and Senate because of the differing opinions of who will run the online betting. Florida has many obstacles to get over but with how much more money tourists will spend in the state with legal betting and the amount of taxes from online betting of residents the state will be forced to get it done. Late 2020 is optimistic so we’re going to say 2021.
Georgia is getting the ball rolling to make sports betting legal in the state but it won’t be easy. There is a bill being put together that would allow the public to vote whether to amend the state’s constitution to allow legalized betting in 2020. For that to happen it will have to pass through both the House and Senate. That won’t be easy as lawmakers disagree if they should allow the Georgia state lottery to run it or build casinos and use online betting. A good timetable would be at some point in mid-2021.
Sports Betting in Idaho seems like a long way off. There is no bill in the works to legalize sports betting and lawmakers and the Governor agree that talks are a long way off. Idaho could be one of the last states to legalize betting but hopefully talks will start in 2020 and bets can take place in late 2021.
Bills introduced in 2019 to legalize sports betting in Kansas haven’t gone anywhere and it looks like it will be shelved until 2020. Kansas lawmakers seem to be waiting on other states to pass laws and see how much revenue it will actually produce. So don’t expect to place legal sports wagers in the state of Kansas until probably 2021.
Hopeful sports bettors in Maryland are out of luck for 2019. In fact, don’t expect to make a wager in Maryland in 2020 as well. Maryland has to change the state constitution to allow betting which will take a public vote to do. Since there aren’t any major elections until November 2020 there will be no legal betting anytime soon. We expect it will happen in 2021.
An early bill to legalize sports betting on water-based casinos has passed but is not expected to go further. There are too many hurdles for online wagers for it to even be considered this year. Lawmakers in the state are far away on issues such as how much to pay the sports leagues for anything to get done anytime soon. A reasonable timetable for full legalization is mid to late 2021.
Sports Betting in Nebraska doesn’t look like it’s coming anytime soon. Governor Pete Ricketts who just won a second term strongly opposes any expansion in gambling in Nebraska and that includes sports betting. Without Ricketts on board, any legislation will not go through so any chances of Nebraskans betting on their beloved Cornhuskers before the 2023 season seems like a longshot.
In February of 2019, a bill that would legalize sports betting in North Dakota passed on a revote after narrowly missing on the first vote. The good times didn’t last long for betting hopefuls as the Senate zapped the bill in a landslide with no debate on the issue whatsoever. More than likely there will be no more talk on it until after the 2020 elections and even then will face fierce resistance. It could be a long wait.
A bipartisan bill for a 2020 vote to amend the state constitution to allow legal sports betting in Deadwood and the 11 tribal casinos in South Dakota barely passed in the Senate before being shot down by the 10 person House State Affairs Committee which effectively took it off the 2020 ballot. All is not lost though. The lawmakers who wrote the bill only have to get signatures from 33,921 registered voters by November 2019 to put it on the ballot. So if you want to bet in South Dakota anytime soon contact the Deadwood Gaming Association to find out how to sign.
Many sports betting insiders and Texas state lawmakers think legal betting in Texas will take years due to fierce opposition from tribal leaders that have long enjoyed a monopoly on the state’s gambling industry. Gambling in Texas is illegal outside of tribal lands and lawmakers have even taken money from Oklahoma tribes to keep it that way. All is not lost. There is a democratic bill that if passed will not only allow sports betting but also will allow casinos on nontribal land. The bill is expected to lose but don’t expect lawmakers to give up. It could be a long road for Texas but once they see how much California, Florida and New York makes in taxes they will join in. 2022 is a reasonable goal.
Sports betting in Wisconsin becoming legal seems like a ways away. There is currently no legislation to legalize sports betting in the state and any bill would have to pass through the House, Senate, a public vote to amend the constitution and a deal with tribal leaders who run most of the gambling in the state. Wisconsin won’t get serious about the issue until they see it succeed in surrounding states. A reasonable goal would be late 2021 or 2022.
Wyoming does have tribal-owned casinos in the state but lawmakers are lukewarm at best to introduce a sports betting bill. Wyoming looks to be taking a wait and see approach what kind of money their fellow mountain west states bring in. We don’t expect any serious talks to introduce a bill to happen until 2020-2021.
Never Going To Happen
To say sports betting in Utah is NEVER going to happen is maybe going a little too far but when the decision to overturn PASPA that gave states the right to decide on sports betting the head lawmakers hailed the decision to give the states the rights while also saying “Utah will use those rights to continue to outlaw all forms of gambling in our state” Maybe kids born at the time of this article will be able to bet by the time they have kids of their own. Who knows Tom Brady may still be playing.