With sports betting becoming more widespread across the United States, and seemingly every major sport having promotional and marketing deals with major brands like FanDuel and DraftKings, the conversation around sports betting being in every state has gone from an “if” to a “when”.
In 2021 and 2022 alone, these states have legalized or implemented their first attempts at sports betting: Arizona, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
While not all of these states have taken their first bet, the ball is certainly rolling, and within a number of other states, bills are being introduced or voted on to determine which states will implement their own sports betting options. In particular, Maine, Kansas, Ohio, and Nebraska are currently in the midst of implementing betting to go live sometime in the next year, to align with current legislation allowing sports betting within those states.
The reality for many states is that the potential revenue and tax money would be a major boom at a time where local and state economies are struggling following the COVID-19 pandemic, and sports betting would be hugely beneficial in getting various states back on their feet.
Let’s break down which states we think will legalize sports betting next, as well as the key states in which sports betting legislation is already in progress.
Which States Are Next?
At this time, a number of states are working through legislation on sports betting, or, in some specific states, are reconsidering how best to implement sports betting.
While none of them are expected to pass their regulation in time to allow sports betting by the end of 2022, Massachusetts, California, and South Carolina all have pending legislation and public support that indicates that each state will implement sports betting in the near future.
The sports betting market will be a key item in the November elections in California, as it’s the most populated state in the US and one of the major media hubs for sports culture in the country. Currently, much of the debate is around how sports betting will be implemented, and whether it will be tied to tribal land and horse tracks or if online options will be allowed.
In Massachusetts, there are legal obstacles in the way of sports betting being allowed in the very near future, and the current legislation has some specific issues that have caused concern (bans on betting on college sports, lack of funding via credit cards, and limitations on the number of books allowed to operate in the state).
However, much like California, there is public and political support for sports betting to be implemented and to begin generating revenue for the state.
In South Carolina, bipartisan legislation and support exists for the legalization and implementation of sports betting. However, the current governor of South Carolina has come out against it, and like California, November elections are going to have a big effect on whether or not legislation is pushed forward or put on the back-burner for a future debate.
What States Are Taking Longer?
In Florida, sports betting was actually legal for a two-month period in 2021, but a Florida judge struck down the agreement. With recent court battles and the back-and-forth between the Seminole tribe and the state of Florida, the big question now is when will sports betting in Florida go live? If you’re an optimist, there’s valid reason to believe it could happen by 2023, but most experts are estimating that it will likely take 2-3 years before it’s re-implemented.
There are a number of other states currently facing hold ups or lack of internal political interest on implementation of sports betting that we’ll list below. While all indications are that these states will eventually implement sports betting, particularly as it grows more popular throughout the US, it’s very unlikely that any will have it implemented by the end of 2023.
These states are:
Each of these states will face continued internal pressure from policy makers, lobbyists, and the public at large as sports betting spreads throughout other states, and we do expect that, even if legislation is not passed in the near future to implement their own sports betting, it will become a hotter topic as time goes on.
In particular, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, Vermont, and Texas seem like potential states to watch for 2023 or potentially 2024, as they’ve been trending towards implementation and are on the same path that many states that implemented betting in 2021 and 2022 were on.
Meanwhile, Utah, Alaska, and Idaho are all longshots to legalize sports betting any time in the near future, as they’ve shown no real desire for betting options and have stricter gambling laws than the vast majority of other states.
Whether sports betting is ever implemented in all 50 states, or if it remains in just the vast majority, the reality since it was legalized nation-wide is that it has grown in popularity massively and most states have gone out of their way to implement it as quickly as possible.
While some holdout states do exist, sports betting is more and more popular and widespread with every passing year.
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