Sports Betting Legality by State
PASPA, the federal law making sports betting illegal was overturned in May 2018. That meant online sports betting, and sports gambling in general, was now in the hands of state governments. For most states interested in offering online sports betting and all the tax revenue that comes with it, they were left to do two things:
1) Pass a bill to explicitly allow sports betting if they have not done so already. This often leads states to simply allow existing gambling bodies including state lotteries, local tribes, and casinos to add a brick and mortar, AKA walk-up, sportsbook. This is the least complicated step to the real revenue earner that is online betting. It is projected that more than 90% of wagers will be placed online in most states.
2) Develop a licensing model for online sports betting that is uniquely formatted for their state. This is by far the most difficult part of states bringing internet sports betting to market. New legal bills must address items such as tax rate, fees for entry, license bidding and the total number of licenses. Second, but no less important, are issues such as earmarks, integrity of sports, and gambler safeguards.
Almost all states can be classified as being in one of the four groups below. Nearly all states have begun reviewing bills or have legalized walk-up sportsbooks. Revenue estimates are based on a normally full sports calendar and a 7% hold on wagers. See the State’s status description for explanation of tax revenue projections.
These are states with active legislation that is meant to accelerate sports betting. The bill could be addressing land-based betting or online gambling policy. In both cases, if the state does not already have a physical bookmaker presence, they are listed here.
All revenue estimates are based on numbers where online betting is already in place using a 13% revenue tax if the state has not already established a would-be tax rate.
Prelim Bills: HB 246 & SB 188
Governor Mike Dunleavy introduced these bills which would allow a gambling committee to be formed, the Alaska Lottery Corporation. The committee would lay the ground work for new gambling law. Online betting is likely years away.
SB 1525 for Walk-Up Only
Arizona is one of the states that is breaking down the path to online sports betting in two parts. Sports betting is against tribal law. If the state can pass this bill making it legal to offer sports betting at existing casinos and kiosks, it will be much easier to add online gambling later. However even making physical sportsbooks legal will have its challenges. Analysts do not expect sports betting to be added to Arizona in 2020.
Long shot ACA-16 would allow Sportsbooks
Proponents of California sports betting face an uphill battle including restructuring tribal pacts and the state constitution. Any kind of sports betting in 2021 appears unlikely.
S 970 died. New Tribe Pact Expected
There is no sports betting in Florida. In the coming months Florida governor intends to come to an agreement with the Seminole Tribe to create a new comprehensive gambling outline that will allow sports gambling, online betting. Florida is currently prohibited from running sports betting through it’s own lottery due to the existing tribal casino agreement. The 2020 session has closed, however a new vote is expected in 2021 after the logistics are ironed out.
SB 403 would allow online betting.
This bill includes article 4, “The Georgia Lottery Mobile Sports 203 Wagering Integrity Act” which, like Tennessee, involves forming a 7 member committee to oversee gambling in the state. SB403 outlines a fee structure involving a 10% tax rate, a $900,000 per year annual fee, and a league data fee for live betting. Mobile online betting appears possible for the 2021 football season.
Online Gambling HB 2671 to go to Senate
The Senate introduced it’s bill with a much lower tax rate of 8% for wagers placed online. The House Bill 2671 calls for a 20% tax for bets placed online. The good news is both bills are targeting how to handle online betting. The bad news is that these bills are unlikely to be reconciled until 2021. That means online sports wagering is possible for NFL 2021.
HB 137 for walk-up only
Due to Covid-19 and a shorter session HB 137 is unlikely to be included this year but is expected to be reintroduced next year. The bill does not explicitly allow for online sports wagering. This version of the bill calls for a fee in the amount of 3% of handle which is likely too high for online betting to be successful.
HB 119 (online betting) will be heard
HB 119 allows for sports gambling and specifically online sports betting. If passed in 2020, it would allow the state to begin working on licensing details and protocol. It is unlikely Missouri would have sports betting at all until the middle of 2021.
Legalized Fall 2020 - No Online Betting
Overseen By: NC Lottery Commission
Revenue Tax: 13%
North Carolina will soon join the list of states that have brick and mortar sportsbook but no online offering. However, the commission is expected to review that outlook and formulate a plan to bring NC sports betting online. North Carolina does indeed plan to allow bets on North Carolina college sports.
SB 111 & HB 194 Review - Online 2021?
These two bills represent two distinctly different state gaming models. SB 111 is a proponent of regulating a competitive market that would allow the likes of DraftKings and Bet365 while HB 194 proposes a state-sponsored sportsbook ran by its own lottery. Both bills call for a tax rate of 10% or less. The current gambling tax rate of 33% is the reason local casinos haven’t already established land-based sportsbooks that are already legal. Even at a 15% tax rate, Ohio stands to make $75-$100m in a full year of operation.
If these bills can be reconciled in the short amount of time remaining in 2020, it’s possible to see sportsbooks licensed and online in summer of 2021.
SJR 501 adds walk-up sports betting
This bill allows for an amendment of South Dakota’s constitution. This means that during the session next year, South Dakota can decide what having sports betting means for the state. It may only mean that in the future the tribal casinos will offer sports betting. It does not allow for online sports gambling which would likely require further debate.
H 1275 Online Gambling introduced
This bill is destined to fail and it is not the bill that Texas or online bookmakers are expected to pursue. The most obvious reason this bill will not pass is the “6.5% tax on every bet”. Sportsbooks would need to charge 20% vig instead of 10% to essentially double their hold and pay the fee on betting volume. Bettors hoping for online gambling in TX should look to January, 2021 for a more standardized online betting bill.
Online Betting Bill SB 213
Date Sports Betting Legalized: Bill in Review
Online Licensing: Potentially August 2020
Bill: SB 213
Overseen By: Vermont Lottery
Revenue Tax Proposed: 10%
Prohibited: eSports, In-State college games.
Online Casino: No Online Horse Racing: Yes Online Poker: No
As states legalize, neighboring states will do so at a faster rate. The domino effect is a factor in Vermont after New Hampshire decided to legalize sports betting, essentially making it available to Vermont residents who are willing to cross the boarder. Online sports betting could be offered as soon as the 2020 football season.