Supreme Court Ruling

American Casino
The recent US Supreme Court Ruling has dramatic effects on sports betting all over the USA. The SCOTUS court ruling, as it is known, will affect betting in all US states. It will also have a profound impact on gambling on professional and college sporting events. The door has been opened a jar to pave the way for sports betting to become legal, although it will be at least a year till the changes come into effect.

These planned changes will come in waves, or stages at a few states at a time. The first few states already have the legislation and regulatory framework in place, as they were waiting for these changes and planned for them in advance. These states are New Jersey, Delaware, Mississippi and West Virginia. Once the first trial is successful, the next group of states to try out the system will be larger. These are the states that have the legislature in progress and have sports-betting bills pending. This larger group includes California, Illinois, Michigan and New York, among others. In 2019, the largest group of states should be ready to join as they are out of session.

Twenty US states have requested or are in the process of seeking legal status for sports betting. The number is expected to increase as other states start to consider introducing sports betting seriously, and the benefits it can have on society through job creation and tax dollars. Most states are expected to be interested in the possibility of sports betting being legally accepted within the state. Let’s take a look at each state and see whether they are ready and in favour of legalising sports betting.

Alabama has no plans up to this point on time, and the legislature doesn’t meet again until March 2019. Currently, all forms of gambling are prohibited in Alabama. There are no plans to change the state constitution. Alaska is in the same situation, with no gambling allowed, and no plans to introduce it. In Arizona, although to date there have been no decisions to legalise sports betting in the state where it is currently illegal. The state is keeping its options open, and the situation may yet change. Arkansas has not as however considered any form of gambling. It is currently prohibited. Yet the door is being kept open and the state officials are reviewing the ramifications of the recent court ruling.

A constitutional amendment to regulate and introduce some form of gambling was recently introduced paved the way for the multi-billion dollar industry to become legal. This amendment has been pushed forward to before the summer recess, so a decision is expected soon, with indications that it will be introduced eventually. In Colorado, all forms of gambling remain illegal. In order for this to change there will need to be a referendum vote by the people of the state. Connecticut, on the other hand, is in favour of calling an extraordinary general assembly to discuss the legislative changes and possibilities of introducing sports betting on the state. Sports betting is already allowed in the state of Delaware; however, it is limited to multi-game bets on NFL games only. The state introduced legal and full-scale sports betting in June. In Florida, it would require a voter referendum to add sports betting and gambling activities. Hawaii has pledged to commission an independent study and analyses of economic patterns, social costs as well as the benefits. Idaho would also need a change in the state constitution, and state officials are not too keen on introducing any form of gambling. Illinois already has plans in the pipeline to allow gaming using the 1975 Horse Racing Act as a framework and back door to allow other forms of gambling in the state, and operations may even be permitted under the Riverboat Gambling Act. Indiana seems eager to introduce more types of gambling in the state. The indications point towards next year, possibly September 2019 for gaming to finally become legal.

Iowa plans to introduce a proposal to legalise gambling within the state. A meeting is scheduled for January 2019, when the legislature reconvenes. It is envisaged that gambling will be permitted on professional and college sports betting. In Kansas, several bills will allow sports betting in some form or other, and the new bill will be the trigger for sports betting to become legal. Regarding Kentucky, the state does have bills that would allow sports betting at race tracks. The general opinion in Kentucky is that it is too early to make a decision, for now. Louisiana has no active plans to legalise any form of sports betting, which is currently not permitted in the state. Maine is in a similar position, with no plans as yet for the legalisation of any form of sports betting. The general comment was that it is too early to consider any changes to the state constitution.

In Maryland, gambling was not approved by the legislature, preempting the need for a referendum. Nevertheless, the issue will be debated next year. In Massachusetts, lawmakers will have to discuss the issue before making any recommendations to legalise or not. It could be a lengthy process. Michigan already has eight bills that would permit and expand gambling in some form or other, and this would include sports betting. Officials still have to vote on the issue before the legalisation of sports betting. Minnesota has yet to discuss and decide on the matter. On the other hand, Mississippi is ready to open the door to extensive sports betting and other gambling options, and this could happen as fast as 45 days after a favorable court ruling permitting gambling. Sports betting has already been legalised, however, limited to within land-based casinos. In Missouri, several bills have been discussed, and one of them is in an advanced stage so that a decision can be expected sooner rather than later.

Montana already has some forms of legal gambling permitted in the state, but it is unclear if this is set to expand. In Nebraska, the state has not as yet considered introducing sports betting, with no plans to launch it in the foreseeable future. Nevada is one of the states where sports betting is already legal. New Jersey is all set and ready to allow sports betting in the state. New Mexico has not considered legalising any form of sports betting as yet. In New York, a new law will have to be passed before sports betting is permitted, yet the door has not been closed to the possibility. North Carolina is in precisely the same situation as New York. North Dakota seems to support the bill in principle, but as yet there has been no public declaration in favour, and no concrete plans.

Ohio is already home to a handful of casinos, but there is no rush to introduce sports betting, according to comments from state officials. Oklahoma is focussing on legalising casino games, but there are no plans for sports betting to go down the same path. However, efforts will be renewed in 2019. Oregon does not allow sports betting or other forms of gambling, and there is no indication that this will change. Pennsylvania has already passed a law permitting sports betting in the state. However, the downside is that a $10 million licensing fee and 34% tax rate on this revenue is applied, which could be a bit steep for sports betting operators. Rhode Island is ready and prepared to allow sports betting, controlled by the state lottery and available only at casinos. In South Carolina, a bill has already been proposed, but cannot be acted upon until next year. It seems a tough sell, however.

South Dakota has no active plans for gambling to be introduced any time soon. However, the issue will be debated again next year when a new governor takes office. In Tennessee, there are plans underway to introduce sports betting, so sports betting could soon be legal there. The lone-star state of Texas has not debated the introduction of sports betting, so it seems unlikely it will be allowed in the near future. Utah has zero plans to introduce gambling. The same goes for the state of Vermont. Virginia is currently reviewing the situation, but there is no active legislation in place. Washington state would need a 60% majority vote from the legislature in order to legalise sports betting on the state. In West Virginia, a new law that came into effect this March paves the way for sports betting to be introduced sooner, rather than later. Sports wagering will soon be permitted at casinos. Wisconsin has no legislation in place, with no plans to discuss it in the foreseeable future. Finally, Wyoming state has so far, not considered legalising sports betting at present.