The Latest on Legalizing Sports Betting: Where Does America’s States Stand?

Interior of sports book gambling


It’s a cold, hard fact: there is no stopping the online gambling market from growing into a billion dollar industry over the next few years. With technology in full swing, online gambling, especially sports betting has gone through dynamic changes, expanded to established markets and forged its ways into new dimensions to bring accessibility to those who love a good game of skill and luck every once in a while.

But it’s also known to everyone that sports betting have been fighting its way through the United States because of legalization issues that have restricted access to sports betting and gambling sites across the country.

Such was the case up until last year when an overturn by the New Jersey’s Supreme Court now makes it possible for any state to legalize sports betting if they want to. But before you start reading about sports betting and even blackjack tips, let’s take a look at where do the American states stand in this sports betting legalization story:

The Unlikely

Sports betting legalization has been a game of sorts. Other states are showing little signs of getting into the band wagon, some are already in the middle of it while a handful have already fully legalized sports betting in their territory. But if there is one American state that we won’t be seeing on the sports betting bandwagon in the near future, it would be Utah.

The state has always been strict about any form of gambling including table games, lottery tickets and sports betting, and that stance is written into its constitution. Any change to what the state has established for decades would be cause for massive debate, one which Utah may not be ready for any time soon.

The Quiet Ones

The states of Wyoming, Wisconsin, Idaho, Nebraska, Alaska and Florida all have laws prohibiting sports betting, which means that sports betting would be legalized in these areas, laws have to be repealed or amended to make that possible. None of these states have publicly announced their move towards legalizing sports betting, so we’ll have to wait for them to break their silence.

The Beginners

29 states have already begun taking small steps towards embracing sports betting legalization. This includes Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, California, Oregon, Ohio, Virginia, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Maine, Arizona, Hawaii, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Georgia, Vermont, North Carolina, Colorado and Alabama. So what does this mean for these states?

In California, for instance, Assembly member Adam Gray introduced a constitutional amendment in 2017 “to permit sports wagering only if a change in federal law occurs.” Today, the state has a pending voter referendum on the matter of sports betting legalization. New Hampshire, on the other hand, opened this year’s legislative session with House Bill 480-FN that establishes a system “within the lottery commission for sports betting.” Small steps but these states are on their way to getting full hands on deck for legalization.

The Aggressive Ones

Seven states have already joined the bandwagon of sports betting legalization and are now tackling the matter aggressively. This means that we can expect one or more of these states to declare legalization anytime soon.

In Tennessee, for instance, the “Tennessee Sports Gaming Act” was passed on May 25, 2019 and it includes a law that allows statewide mobile sports betting effective July 1, 2019. The nation’s capital, on the other hand, approved the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018 after a Congressional review period.

This took effect on May 3, 2019 and will legalize sports betting in Washington D.C. Of course, there is New York that already has a law that allows sports betting on four on-site locations since 2013 but continues to battle the hurdles that come with legalizing it fully in the state.

The Full Circle

There are already eight states that have legalized sports betting fully in their areas. Leading the list is Nevada that has legalized sports betting and gambling for decades.

After all, it is the gambling capital of the United States and the world. Many states take Nevada as an example when it comes to coming up with regulations on sports betting. New Jersey also made history last year when Governor Phil Murphy signed the sports betting bill in the state.

He was also the first customer to place his bet on a William Hill sportsbook at Monmouth Park three days after. Other states that have already legalized sports betting include Delaware, Mississippi, West Virginia, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

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