Legalised Sports Betting–The Journey So Far

Betting on sports may appear to be on a particularly slow approach back to ‘normality’ but the latest news on legalisation in the US sketches a scenario driven by a force akin to supernatural intervention. Its difficult to fathom that it had all started as recently as 2018 when New Jersey’s landmark Supreme Court victory ensured legalised betting for all who desired it.

Today, nearly exactly 2 years on, over a third of U.S. states have legalised betting on And more are bound to follow. We take a look at the ‘already there’s’, the ‘we’re on deck’, the ‘on the fast approach’, a couple of ‘not yet’s’, and the sole remaining ‘highly unlikely’.

Already There

These include states like Mississippi, West Virginia, New Mexico, Iowa, Oregon, and the likes. New Mexico’s Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel booked its first sports bet on October 16, 2018. Even though no further sports betting existed in the state at the time since legalisation took place during May of that year, the casino made its move with the help of a gaming compact. New Mexico’s gaming compact makes provision for all forms of Class III Gaming, a class that includes sports betting and specifically pari-mutuel betting and wagering.

Mississippi did a full-on launch even sooner and in August of 2018, MGM Resorts booked their very first sports bets. Mississippi’s early success was the result of the state having acted proactively in favour of a legalised sports betting market. The state already in 2017 passed a provisional law allowing the legalised betting on sports pending a positive ruling by the Supreme Court.

We’re On Deck

The we’re-on-deck brigade includes Tennessee, Washington, D.C., North Carolina and Virginia. Tennessee passed into law its “Tennessee Sports Gaming Act” already on May 25 last year. Licensing fees amount to $750,000 annually, as well as a 20% tax rate payable. The legal age for betting in Tennessee has been set at 21.

North Carolina on July 26 last year, did much of the same of what Tennessee had done. Tennessee however requires all bets to be placed in-person at one of only two sports betting retail locations. Still – massive progress made.

On The Fast Approach

Those on the fast approach toward legalisation include Maine, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Missouri and even good old Kansas. The story of how Maine came to sign legalised sports betting into motion is not for the weak of nerves and constitution. Maine lawmakers waited until the very last day of 2019’s legislative session before finally passing Maine’s “Act to Ensure Proper Oversight of Sports Betting In The State”. Nail-biting stuff.

The Not Yet Brigade

Only two U.S. states remain somewhat undecided. Idaho and Wisconsin currently still have laws prohibiting sports betting in place. No bills intending to change existing laws have been announced – no bills yet.

Unlikely Utah

Utah proves an impossible cookie to crumble as the state’s anti-gambling attitude is literally embedded in its very constitution. Utah is the only state not likely to hop on the sports betting train. At least not anytime soon.

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