The U.S. Supreme Court, with its May ruling that shot down a 26-year-old federal law outlawing sports gaming in every state except Nevada, has cleared the way for states to decide for themselves whether they would like to legalize sports betting. While three states have already moved in that direction, there may be as many as six other states that will legalize gaming before 2018 ends.
States that Currently Allow Sports Gaming
Before the May decision, Nevada was the only state that was allowed to operate single sports gaming businesses. In Nevada, sports bets can be placed in a variety of casinos in Las Vegas and Reno, as well as online sports betting. Sports bets are placed on everything from the point spread to partial game lines and a parlay bet to teaser bets. During the Super Bowl, for example, people bet on how long it would take to sing the national anthem.
In addition to Nevada, New Jersey, which was the state that sued the federal government over sports betting rights, began sports bets in two casinos in Atlantic City and two racetracks, one close to the state line with northern New York and the other close to New York City. The state also plans to allow online wagers and mobile phone sports wagers as well, although it will be later this summer before these two wagering systems come online.
Delaware was able to launch its sports wagering enterprise before New Jersey. On June 5, less than three weeks after the ruling by the Supreme Court, the state allowed sports betting at its three casino racetracks: Delaware Park Racetrack, Dover Downs Racetrack, and Harrington Raceway and Casino. In addition, the Delaware Lottery will introduce mobile wagering via an app. However, that may not come online until early 2019.
States That Are a Solid Bet for Sports Gaming
Mississippi should be next in line to offer sports gaming. The state passed a law in 2017 that allowed sports betting inside its casinos. While they have not begun betting on sports yet, it is expected it will begin at the casinos, both in northern Mississippi and on the Gulf Coast, by the end of July. As of now, there are no plans to offer online gaming because it was not included in the original sports wagering bill. To add an amendment to the bill, the legislature will have to pass it when it returns to session at the beginning of 2019.
In preparation for the opening of the NFL season in September, West Virginia had also passed a law before May that would allow sports betting at all five of its casinos and casino racetracks. Mobile app betting will also be allowed. However, at this point, there is only one deal currently in place between a sportsbook and a casino.
Rhode Island legalized sports betting this year as well and plans to have sports betting at its two casinos by the end of the year.
Two states are considered longshots for sports betting by the end of 2018. One of those states is Pennsylvania, which passed a law at the end of 2017 that allowed sports betting. However, there has been no real movement toward the implementation of the law. And, unless the state begins to move quickly, it will not be able to have sportsbooks until after the end of the year. In addition, New York, which has not passed a bill to legalize sports gaming yet, may allow it at its four casinos by the end of the year.
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