The U.S. Supreme Court lifted the ban on single sports gambling in May, and some states quickly rushed to legalize it. Before then, it had only been legal in Nevada. New Jersey and Delaware opened their sportsbooks, either at their casinos or their race tracks, before the summer ended. Mississippi followed them. The state now allows sportsbooks at its casinos on the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River. West Virginia has allowed sportsbooks at one of its casinos. Pennsylvania opened its sportsbooks just in time for NFL and NCAA football.
States That Are Nearly There
Rhode Island is going to allow sportsbooks at two casinos. One is in Lincoln and the other in Tiverton. The state has said that people must place their bets in person, however. This is different from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which allow online sportsbooks. The opening date for sportsbooks in Rhode Island will be Oct. 1.
Several states introduced legislation during the legislative sessions, but for one reason or another, they failed. New York passed a law in 2013 that allowed sports betting in four locations throughout the state. However, the law laid dormant for five years. The gaming commission could set up regulations for the sportsbooks. But, most legislative experts believe it would be better to fully legalize sports gaming. And, the state would need to pass a bill before sports gaming begins. The first attempt at legislation failed in June. New York could reintroduce the legislation in 2019.
Like New York, Connecticut passed a small bill in 2017 that legalized sports books in one location. The state also did not enact the bill. The General Assembly held meetings and introduced bills, but, in the end, it did nothing. The governor thought about calling a special session but decided against it. The legislators plan to discuss a new bill during the 2019 session.
Illinois introduced a sports gaming bill in January 2018. Just like in Connecticut, Illinois legislators held hearings and debates on the bill but did not vote on it. Legislators will reintroduce the bill in January.
Further Down the Road
In 2017, Kentucky and Michigan both introduced bills that would allow sports gambling. They passed the legislation before the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in May. The ruling allows states to decide for themselves whether to allow sports gaming. However, there was opposition in both states against the bills and the legislators took no action. Neither state took action on sports gambling legislation in 2018.
Three states, Oregon, Montana, and Ohio, already have laws on their books. These act as either a placeholder that will allow betting on sports or a law that permits sports betting. Oregon has a history of multibet lottery tickets geared toward football picks. However, the state discontinued that lottery game about 10 years ago. Montana also offers a fantasy football and auto racing pool through the Montana Lottery. This has been very popular. The state is debating whether to allow the Montana Lottery to expand its offerings to include single sports betting.
Not Likely or Never
There are several states where legalized sports gambling is a long shot. Others will never allow it. In fact, all the states listed have laws that specifically prohibit sports betting, or all betting in general: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington state, Wisconsin and Wyoming. In fact, Utah’s constitution says that gambling is a sin, and the state will always prohibit it.
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