Back in December 2018, US Senators Charles Schumer and Orrin Hatch put forth a bill that would have the US Justice Department set minimum standards for states to offer sports betting. The bill would allow wagering on the Olympics and college sports, but would disallow betting on other amateur sports. Though this federal bill hasn't gained much traction, states have taken it upon themselves to legalize sports betting. Let’s use the opportunity to provide an update as to where several states stand in terms of legal sports betting in the US.
There are currently eight states with legal sportsbooks:
- NJ sports betting
- PA sports betting
- NV sports betting
- DE sports betting
- RI sports betting
- MS sports betting
- WV sports betting
- NM sports betting (one tribal group via gaming compact with the state)
And althought DC isnt a state, DC sports betting is currently legal.
And there are more states with legislation in place, awaiting further voting and/or action on:
- NY sports betting
- AR sports betting
- CT sports betting
- IA sports betting
- MD sports betting
- MN sports betting
- IN sports betting
- WA sports betting
In total, 29 other states currently have sports betting bills on file that are waiting to be pushed through in 2019. So many states are taking action for betting on sports and mobile sports betting that the landscape changes quite often these days.
Rhode Island Mobile Sports Betting Inches Closer To Legalization
The Rhode Island state Senate pushed RI sports betting forward toward legalization with a 31-4 vote for mobile sports wagering in the state this past Wednesday. The bill now travels to the House, which expects to vote on it later in February.
Considering the difficulty for some in traveling to one of the two Twin River casinos in the state to place a wager, legal mobile sports betting in Rhode Island would mean getting plenty more people in on the action. As a result, the measure would be a big step toward the state being able to create a significant uptick in revenue thanks to legal sports betting.
Even though new users of the mobile RI sportsbook would have to register in-person at one of the Twin River casinos in the state, it's a simple one-and-done process that would allow mobile sports betting players to place a bet from anywhere insite Rhode Island state lines.
However, this bill would currently limit RI mobile sports betting under Twin River Casinos, not allowing entities like FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook entry into the state's market.
Let's now take a look at some progress in Minnesota and Maryland, specifically.
Minnesota Appears Ready To File Sports Betting Bill
It may not be official yet, but thanks to Minnesota Rep. Pat Garofalo, we know draft copies of a MN sports betting legalization bill are in existence.
Garofalo held a news conference in January to outline the proposal, which includes offering Minnesota sports betting in casinos as well as mobile sports betting throughout the state. It does not include any integrity fee paid to professional sports leagues, which is something many other states have been forced to deal with.
Representatives Look To Push Voter Referendum For Maryland Sports Betting
Maryland delegates Jason Buckel and Kevin Hornberger are trying to make similar moves to states like Rhode Island and Delaware before them, which is tie sports betting to the Maryland State Lottery program.
HB1132 would have the state lottery oversee Maryland sports betting, authorizing video lottery operators and horse racing licensees such as MGM National Harbor and Maryland Live to apply for a sports betting license. This action comes after proposals for a voter referendum stalled in 2018. We’ll have to wait until March for the Ways and Means Committee to consider the measure, and more news will be reported as it becomes available.
Indiana Sports Betting Passes First Test, Montana Makes a Move
In Indiana, an amended version of bill S552 to legalize sports betting was pushed through the Committee on Public Policy in January and is now on its way to the Appropriations Committee. This bill would make Indiana sports betting legal in the entire state, as well as the authorize a new casino outside of Terra Haute. Legalization would include riverboat casinos, OTB parlors and racetrack casinos.
While sports betting in Montana specifically hasn't made any headway very recently, some interesting legalization events have still taken place.
Last year, a bill (S25) was filed by Senator Mark Blasdel to legalize Montana sports pools as well as allon nonprofit organizations to run coin-flipping games in person. After clearing the Senate early in 2019, it recently hit the Business and Labor Committee and clues seem to indicate it has passed onto to a second committee. Blasdel is reported to also be working on a draft to legalize Montana sports betting across the entire state.
The Montana House also received bill H475 from Rep. Brad Tschida, allowing the Montana Board of Horse Racing to oversee proposed parimutuel sports betting in the state.
Washington Sports Betting Bills Get No Action In Commerce And Gaming Committee
Legal sports betting in Washington was discussed at a public hearing in early February by Rep. Eric Pettigrew, who presented a bill called H1975 that would allow sports betting in all 28 tribal casinos in the state.
The Washington Horse Racing Commission executive director opposed this bill, however, in support of a different WA sports betting bill called H1992. The goal of the commission is to get the state’s horse racing industry in on any sports betting bill that passes through, and has said they would support such legislation. No action was taken on H1975 or H1992 yet, so Washington seems in a holding pattern until something changes.