The process of reviving online betting and sports betting in the US kicked off with New Jersey challenging the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, also known as PASPA.
Under PASPA, only four states (Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana) were exempt from the all-around ban on sports betting that was in power until 2018. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision that declared PASPA unconstitutional, states across the US are now free to decide whether or not online betting will be legal.
Many of them have decided to legalize betting; an act that all new bookmakers available in the market welcomed with open arms. Fourteen states have already jumped the bandwagon and allowed full-fledged betting, with many more to join in 2020.
In this article, we will refer to the states that are set to regulate betting this year and to those that are expected to do the same in the upcoming years.
Sometime around Christmas 2019, the Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, signed bills that ratify online sports betting and casino gaming in the state of Michigan. The House Bill 4311 or Lawful Internet Gaming Act, gives power to the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) to issue licenses to online casino operators.
The House Bill 916 or Lawful Sports Betting Act, allows operators to offer online betting to Michigan residents. The 8.4% tax rate will be imposed on all new bookmakers, and the funds will be distributed to the School Aid Fund and similar organizations.
It is expected that the first bookmakers will establish online betting sites by the time March Madness takes place, but the Governor vouched that no special legislation will be used to expedite the process.
Colorado legislators reached a decision on the proposition dubbed the DD proposition, legalizing online sports betting across Colorado. The existing casino operators will most likely become the first bookies in the state, but the Limited Gaming Control Commission of Colorado has received over 50 applications since last November.
The tax rate for all new bookmakers will be 10%. First master licenses are expected before the 1st of May, just in time for the NCAA final tournament and the NBA playoffs.
Illinois is yet another US state that has opened the doors to online betting in 2019. Under the new law, casinos, racetracks, lottery shops and sports venues will be able to offer live and online sports betting.
The applicants for a master license from the Illinois Gaming Board must pay all license fees by July 1, 2020. Those are set at $20 million for online betting operators only. Online betting is expected to become legal in Illinois before the start of the 2020/21 NFL season.
Tennessee is a unique example out of all US states that recently legalized betting. More specifically, the Tennessee Sports Gaming Act, effective since May 2019, allows only online betting operators. Land-based casinos and bookies are not allowed. New bookmakers will have to pay a $750,000 licensing fee and abide by the 20% tax rate. Moreover, all new operators that want to start their businesses in the first half of 2020, must use official league data for live betting purposes.
The Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018 set in motion the process of legalizing online betting and land-based sports betting, under the auspices of the District of Columbia Lottery and Charitable Games Control Board. The DC City Council approved Intralot as the first of possibly many new bookmakers in Washington, D.C., but the Court blocked the deal.
As of December 2019, new applications were received and the only applicant so far is a group led by the British giant William Hill, that’s expected to launch online betting in March. All bookies will be taxed 10% of their revenue.
Montana joined the list of states that legalized betting in 2019 with their sports betting law enacted by the state’s government. All sports betting will be done through Montana Lottery, so it remains unclear whether any other new bookmakers will gain access to the market.
Furthermore, although the first online betting sites are expected to go live in 2020, it is still unknown when exactly that will happen. It is worth noting though that the commission for betting is set at 6%.
The Governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper, signed a bill that classifies sports betting as a “Class III” gaming activity allowed only on tribal lands and at two tribal casinos. It is still unclear whether any new bookmakers will gain access to the market and whether online betting will be promulgated in the following months; but the indicators of their possible presence are there.
States inching towards Legislation
More states are prepping for the introduction of online betting, including Maine, Kentucky, Kansas and many others. Maine has already tried to pass an act that would permit online and land-based betting, called An Act to Ensure Proper Oversight of Sports Betting in the State. Despite the Governor vetoing the bill, the lawmakers plan on reinstating it this year.
In Kentucky, a law that empowers Kentucky’s racing commission to introduce sports betting on pro sports was enacted in 2017. The licensing fee is set at $250,000. Additional bills are expected soon before online betting and other forms of betting go live and new bookmakers find their place in the market.