American Sports Betting Update • This Week in Gambling
It’s been about five years since the Supreme Court made the decision that opened up American sports betting. In that time we’ve gone from just one state with active, regulated sports betting to thirty-six. Not bad. Not bad at all! You can even find an updated, interactive map at the American Gaming Association. Now, if you live where it’s legal to bet on sports then you’re one of the lucky ones. There are still several across the country where you cannot place a bet on a sporting event legally.
However, among the states where betting on sports remains unregulated there are a few where the wheels of regulation are turning. States where legal sports betting could be coming sooner rather than later. One of those states is Georgia, where several lawmakers filed a bill on the last day of January this year. That bill would regulate Georgia sports betting, and it would not need a constitutional amendment to do so, so it would not need to go before voters.
There have also been sports betting bills filed in Missouri and Kentucky over the past few years, but nothing so far in 2023. Then, we have a glimmer of hope in states like South Carolina, where riverboat casinos are legal but have no betting on sports. There have been efforts to change that, but nothing has manifested just yet. A similar situation exists in Vermont, where there is very little legal gambling. Some legislation was proposed in 2021, but not a lot has happened in the time since.
Then there’s Texas, which would be a huge market for American sports betting. A state Senator did file a bill for the 2023 legislative year that would legalize sports betting at a limited number of facilities. To do so, there would need to be an amendment approved by a two-thirds vote from the state legislature. Then, it would still need the approval of voters in a November election. Right next door is Oklahoma, where there is a heavy influence from Tribal Gaming. Sports betting legislation has been held up there since 2022.
Of course, there are some weird states where American sports betting is legal but not active due to circumstances. Florida is a prime example, as betting on sports actually launched there for a few weeks before being shut down due to legal battles within the state. Just discussing and explaining the issues making Florida such a complicated mess would take a great deal of time. Plus, we’re still waiting on Nebraska and Maine to go live as well, as sports betting is legal in those states, but infrastructure is preventing a launch.
And of course, no discussion on American sports betting would be complete without mentioning the states that are so screwed up there may never be regulated wagers on sporting events. That includes Utah, of course, which has always steered clear of these so-called ethical issues. Then there’s California, which has such a screwed up political situation that all parties involved would rather fight to prevent one another from having sports betting than simply share the activity.
Lastly, the 50th state: Hawaii. Believe it or not there has been legislation in place to regulate sports betting there. All those bills appear dead at this point. And in fact, the state is so screwed up that there is a Senate Bill being considered now that would ban Las Vegas casinos from advertising in the state. Sound ridiculous? They’re also considering adding a tax on citizens who take trips to gambling destinations! I thought this was the land of the free?