Sports betting is increasingly getting the attention of state lawmakers.
The uptick in legislative activity for traditional sports betting -- think point spreads, totals, money lines and prop bets -- follows dozens of states that have considered laws specifically permitting daily fantasy sports.
New state laws about sports betting had been largely dormant since the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) was enacted. For two decades, PASPA dissuaded states from legalizing sports betting. But that changed in 2012 when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation to permit Nevada-style sports gambling. The NCAA, NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL sued to stop New Jersey's plan. That lawsuit was accepted for review by the Supreme Court. On May 14, 2018, it ruled that PASPA was unconstitutional.
New Jersey's Supreme Court victory has greased the wheels for even more states to enter the fray. Additional states have recently moved to introduce legislation that would legalize sports betting, which can now be activated since PASPA was overturned by the Supreme Court.
At the same time various state lawmakers are considering sports betting legislation, Congress is too. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., formally introduced a legislation in December 2017 that would replace PASPA. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives are considering holding hearings.
The dual track of proposals -- state and federal -- have increased in frequency since the start of 2017.
To measure the change in the landscape, ESPN Chalk ranked all 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of how likely it is for each jurisdiction offer full scale legal sports betting. A brief synopsis for the active states is included, with updates to follow.
Last updated on July 14, 2018.
No longer the only state to permit a wide variety of legal sports betting, Nevada is a mature market that has existed for decades. Many states might look to Nevada for the best practices in the regulation of sports betting. Nevada could even be designated as a national hub of sorts, via agreements with other states on topics such as oversight, liquidity, line monitoring and risk management.
On June 5, 2018, Delaware moved to offer single-game betting on a number of different sports at three casinos in the state. Expanded sports wagering options could take place at additional locations or online in the coming months. Delaware's authorization of what Gov. John Carney described as "a full-scale sports gaming operation" happened less than a month after the Supreme Court ruled that the federal law restricting single-game betting to Nevada was unconstitutional.
3. New Jersey
On June 11, 2018, Gov. Phil Murphy signed the sports betting bill that had passed the previous week. A William Hill sportsbook at Monmouth Park took the first bets on Thursday, June 14 at 10:30 a.m. ET. Gov. Murphy was the first customer in line. The Borgata in Atlantic City booked sports bets 30 minutes later. Other sportsbooks in New Jersey opened soon thereafter. For example, FanDuel's first sportsbook at the Meadowlands opened its doors on July 14.
Mississippi enacted a new law in 2017 that allowed for sports betting. In June 2018, the Mississippi Gaming Commission adopted implementing regulations that could see the state go live with legalized sports betting before college and pro football begin in late August. Already-licensed casinos in the state would likely be first in line to offer sports betting. The Mississippi law does not mandate that sportsbook operators pay any fees to leagues for integrity services, royalties or data.
5. West Virginia
In March 2018, the West Virginia legislature passed a new sports betting bill. The West Virginia Lottery Commission would oversee regulating under the new law. The law includes a provision to allow for both in-person and online sports wagering within the state. West Virginia gaming officials announced the completion of sports betting regulations in June 2018. "Our goal is to be up and running by football season," said Danielle Boyd, managing general counsel for the West Virginia Lottery.
In October 2017, Gov. Tom Wolf signed a new sports betting bill as part of a broad legislation push that included online poker and DFS. "My hope is that Pennsylvania will be positioned to offer sports betting sometime in 2018," said Rep. Rob Matzie, the author of the new law, after it was enacted. With the Supreme Court's decision in May 2018, the new law can now take effect and sports betting could begin as soon as state officials finalize regulations to oversee the rollout. In a June 15, 2018 letter to Pennsylvania officials, the NFL expressed concerns about consumer protections, data, enforcement and other hot-button issues.
7. Rhode Island
On June 22, 2018, Gov. Gina Raimondo signed the state budget, which included language allowing sports betting. Only two locations -- one in Lincoln and one in Tiverton -- would be allowed to offer sports betting. The state's lottery would oversee the process and Oct. 1 has been suggested as a likely start date. Only bets placed in-person would be allowed at the two locations, as the new law does not provide for mobile betting.
8. New York
In 2013, New York passed a law to allow sports betting at four on-site locations. After lying dormant for the past five years, the law could be revived and put into action after the Supreme Court's decision in the New Jersey case. The New York State Gaming Commission is aiming to complete regulations "in the short term" for the four locations specified in the 2013 law. Legislation that would have allowed for full-scale sports betting in New York failed in June 2018, but could be re-introduced in 2019.
Moving toward legalization
After enacting a scaled-down anticipatory law in 2017, Connecticut saw a comprehensive sports betting bill introduced during the first part of 2018. The state held hearings and received testimony from a variety of stakeholders, including representatives from the NBA and MLB. The state legislative session closed without a formal vote on the comprehensive bill, but Gov. Dannel Malloy -- shortly after the Supreme Court issued its ruling -- suggested that he may call a special session of the Connecticut legislature to re-start discussions about legalizing sports betting.
In January 2018, a Senate bill called the "Sports Betting Consumer Protection Act" was introduced. The draft bill could "authorize sports betting or electronic sports betting by an electronic sports betting patron or sports betting facility patron." Illinois saw several other sports betting bills introduced in 2018, too. Hearings were held about the various bills, but no formal vote has yet been taken.
On June 25, 2017, Sen. Julian M. Carroll introduced a marked-up 27-page bill that would empower Kentucky's racing commission to "institute a system of sports wagering." The bill would allow betting on pro and college sports, but not high school or other adolescent amateur sports. It includes a hefty tax rate -- 3 percent of handle -- and an initial licensing fee of $250,000. The bill also permits sports league representatives to serve on the racing commission.
In 2017, legislation was introduced to amend the state's current gaming control law. Michigan's proposed bill would allow any holder of a casino license to "accept wagers on sporting events." The state's gaming board would be required to "promulgate rules to regulate the conduct of sports betting under this act." In 2018, the Michigan legislature adjourned without action on the sports betting bill.
One version of a January 2018 bill introduced in Indiana would allocate a 1 percent "integrity fee" to specific sports leagues based on wagering handle. The bill also would require a 9.25 percent tax on sports betting-related revenue. Bill sponsor Alan Morrison -- a member of the Indiana House -- said the bill resulted after some input from the NBA and MLB. A different sports betting bill was introduced on the Senate side. The 2018 Indiana legislative session closed with no vote on either bill.
In February 2018, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission released a comprehensive 31-page white paper to provide a "roadmap for those seeking to learn about the current landscape of the sports betting discussion in the country and its possibilities in Massachusetts." In January 2018, Senate bill 2273 was floated to study sports betting. Massachusetts was one of the first jurisdictions to address the legality of daily fantasy sports and could conceivably move quickly on the sports betting front too.
Maryland House Bill No. 989 was introduced on Feb. 9 and calls for the establishment of a task force to "study the implementation of sports gaming in the state." The draft legislation includes the allocation of a "sports gaming license" and the ability to accept wagers on sporting events if the bettor is at least 21 years of age. The proposed Maryland legislation did not move forward in the 2018 legislative session.
In April 2018, a draft sports betting bill was circulated in the Minnesota legislature. Rep. Pat Garofalo was reportedly the strongest supporter of the bill, which would have authorized sports wagering and created an overseeing commission. The draft bill included a clause to enable mobile betting, too. The Minnesota legislature adjourned in May without any action on the bill.
In January 2018, Rep. Bart Korman introduced a new bill that would have allowed already-licensed riverboat casinos and daily fantasy companies to expand their offerings to include traditional sports betting. Legislative hearings were held in Missouri prior to the Supreme Court's ruling, but the bill did not advance beyond the committee stage.
A proposed law "relating to sports gambling" was introduced January 2018. The bill would have expanded the purview of the Kansas lottery to sports betting involving "one or more competitive games in which amateur or professional athletes participate, or are intended to participate, or on one or more performances of such athletes in such games." Kansas held sports betting hearings in the months before the Supreme Court issued its decision, but took no action afterward.
A bill proposed in January 2018 would have allowed casinos and racetracks licensed in Iowa to offer sports betting on-site and possibly online. A February 2018 amendment to the proposed bill included language more favorable to certain sports leagues lobbying in the state. The 2018 Iowa legislative window closed without any vote.
A House bill was introduced in 2018 to authorize "additional games and sports betting at eligible live horse racing facilities." The new legislation, which was introduced in March 2018, was narrowly tailored and would only have allowed sports betting at the small number of land-based racinos already operating in the state. The Louisiana bill did not move forward during the state's legislative session.
A bill was introduced to allow the Oklahoma governor to expand the tribal-state compact and include "sports pools." The expansion would have consisted of "wagering on the outcome of one or more competitive games in which athletes participate, or on one or more performances of such athletes in such games where all bets are placed in a common pool or pot from which all player winnings, prizes and direct costs are paid." The Oklahoma's legislative session ended with no action being taken on its bill.
22. South Carolina
Introduced in 2017, House Bill No. 3102 would have amended South Carolina's Constitution to allow "sports betting on professional sports." Any betting would have been "strictly" regulated and limited to "specified" areas. According to a court document from the now-resolved New York daily fantasy litigation involving DraftKings and FanDuel, South Carolina's current definition of gambling "includes betting money on the outcome of any 'game,' regardless of the skill involved in the game." The bill was not enacted prior to the close of the legislative session.
In July 2017, Assembly member Adam Gray introduced a constitutional amendment that would allow the state "to permit sports wagering only if a change in federal law occurs." The proposed amendment specifically referred to PASPA. "All other gaming activities in California are subject to regulations that ensure the safety of consumers," Gray said in a press release. "Sports wagering should be treated no differently." Within hours of the Supreme Court ruling, Gray reiterated his desire to further a pro-sports betting constitutional amendment. California also has a pending voter referendum that could legalize sports betting.
Oregon already has a law on the books permitting some forms of sports betting, and the law could be expanded in the future if lawmakers are so inclined. For years, Oregon was one of the small number of states exempted under PASPA because it offered sports betting before Congress intervened. For example, the Oregon Lottery offered a football-themed pick 'em-style game for years before mothballing it about a decade ago.
Like Oregon, Montana already has a law on the books allowing certain types of sports betting in the state. The Montana Lottery currently offers a fantasy-type sports pool for football and auto racing. If Montana lawmakers sought to expand its permissible sports betting offerings, they would probably need to enact a new law or empower the Montana Lottery to release new regulations.
On July 12, 2018, a group of five Ohio state senators formally introduced a bill to "express the intent of the General Assembly to develop and enact legislation legalizing sports wagering." The one-page bill lacks specifics, but is a placeholder of sorts for Ohio to consider full-scale legislation at a later date.
No legalization activity ... yet
27-50. Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington D.C., Washington state, Wisconsin and Wyoming
All states in this category have laws that prohibit full-blown sports betting. Such laws would need to be repealed or amended before full-scale sports wagering would be permitted. These states do not have any publicly announced bills devoted to sports betting legalization.
Utah's anti-gambling stance is written into the state's constitution. Any change to existing state policy toward gambling would be a massive departure from decades of opposition to any form of gambling, including lottery tickets, table games and sports betting.