Where Next? The States About to Legalize Online Sports Betting in America

For most of the 19 states that have yet to officially legalize and roll out sports betting in any form, it seems only a matter of time until it does happen.

The dominoes have fallen throughout the rest of the country, and states now have a clearer view of the tax and economic benefits of legalizing sports wagering.

Dimers.com contributor Michael Krumholtz gives a glance at where each of those states is headed.

 

Though there are a select few that may never pass legalized sports betting – like Utah due to its politically powerful Mormon population – others are on the brink of opening up the doors for bettors. Of those 19 states that remain, let’s take a look at where some notable ones currently stand.

Sports Betting in Alabama

Unlike other states on this list that have a more immediate timeline, Alabama’s potential future with sports wagering is completely up in the air.

A bill in this past legislative session would have put the state on track to allow for mobile betting on games, but the session ended before it was voted on.

That means the earliest possible timeframe for the industry to be allowed to operate in Alabama wouldn’t be until 2023.

Even if passed by lawmakers next year, it seems like it would take time for regulatory hurdles in a state that doesn’t have much existing gambling infrastructure.

If and when it happens, however, you know college football betting alone would make for a killing in Roll Tide country.

California Sports Betting Update

People may be surprised to hear that California is still one of the states where you still can’t place bets on sports. Fortunately, that seems like it is bound to change in the near future.

There are multiple proposals up for discussion in California that would pave the way for legalized sports betting. One is a retail-only bill that would allow for placing bets at tribal casinos, while another would allow for online betting of sports. 

Both proposals will be on the ballot in November in California, as all eyes will be on the state on Election Day to see if they get the more than 50 percent required to pass.

Hawaii and Sports Betting

The Aloha State is notoriously strict when it comes to betting. Hawaii and Utah are the only two states in the country that don’t allow any form of gambling, meaning sports betting has an uphill climb before it can become legal on the islands.

The good news is that legislation has been proposed this year. That’s a clear step in the right direction. But lawmakers had yet to take up a vote on the bill by the time the latest legislative session ended, so it will have to wait until session resumes next January.

Sports Betting in Kansas

Kansas is one of the states that is closest to allowing its residents to place sports bets, as it technically just became legal in May. The law opens the doors on online betting as well as retail betting at several casinos in the state. 

Those in Kansas eagerly awaiting to make wagers won’t have to wait much longer. As the final touches are put on regulatory requirements, Kansas officials expect that sportsbooks will be open for business by the end of summer. 

Kentucky and Sports Betting

The Bluegrass State makes perfect sense as a home for sports betting as it's synonymous with horse racing and the high volume of betting that comes from it. However, it's been a frustrating path toward potential legalization in Kentucky.

Bills have been proposed in every legislative session since 2018, but there isn’t enough Republican support for it to reach Gov. Andy Beshear’s desk. The bright side is that Beshear, who is up for re-election in 2023, supports the proposal.

Sports Betting coming to Maine

Much like Kansas, Maine has already legalized sports betting and is now just waiting for it to be fully instituted. In April, Gov. Janet Mills signed a law allowing the state’s tribes to join together with sportsbooks to offer online sports betting. Maine residents will have four options for placing their online bets. In-person betting will also be allowed.

The caveat, however, is that Maine will likely have to wait until 2024 before bets can be placed. Among other red tape hold-ups are required hearings that have to happen per state law and background checks on those applying for gaming licenses. 

Massachusetts Sports Betting Update

While lawmakers in the state say they are keen to pass legislation, they can’t seem to agree on the details. A current bill in the Senate, for instance, would prohibit people in Massachusetts from betting on college sports and only allow for betting on professional sports.

Meanwhile, a House bill would open the doors for betting on all sports. These discussions are currently happening in the legislature, so hopefully we’ll soon hear news of a breakthrough.

Nebraska and Sports Betting

Nebraska is another state where sports betting has been signed into law and is undergoing the necessary regulatory steps before it gets underway. Unfortunately, it’s been this way since May of 2021 when Gov. Pete Ricketts signed the law. 

The one major prohibition, however, is that people in the state will not be able to bet on college teams in the state, namely the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team.

Sports Betting in Ohio

The Buckeye State got its sports betting legislation signed into law at the end of last year. However, it won’t be until January 1, 2023 that Ohio sportsbooks are actively able to take bets, according to the Ohio Casino Control Commission.

That means Ohioans will go through nearly an entire football season without being able to place wagers with in-state sportsbooks. 

South Carolina and Sports Betting

South Carolina is another state that is currently weighing up legislation. The bill that would allow for online sports betting in the state, however, was not brought up before the session closed recently.

To add to South Carolina’s potentially long wait, current Gov. Henry McMaster has come out in the past saying that betting on sports is against the state’s values.  

Will Texas ever have Sports Betting?

Another deep south state with conservative opposition to sports betting, Texas has a long road ahead until the powers that be advocate for its legalization. 

The legislature will meet again next year and there are slight hopes that the state’s lawmakers could build off some momentum from last year when a bill failed to get past committee.

 

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