Exploring two of the newest sports betting bills filed for 2019
Legal Sports Report

Sports Betting Bill Roundup: New Legislation Pops Up in Arizona, Hawaii

Arizona sports betting US

As anticipated to begin the new year, the appetite for legalized, state-regulated sports betting has surged.

Last year’s US Supreme Court decision that overturned the federal ban has already spawned new laws in a handful of states, and many more are filing into position. The new legislative session has just begun for lawmakers across most of the US.

A quick peek at our 2019 sports betting bill tracker shows the extent of the appetite. At last count, more than 40 bills are already on file across 18 states. That list is growing, quite literally, by the day.

Among the additions to the radar this week are two new and notable blips.

Arizona sports betting bill

The first Arizona sports betting bill appeared on Wednesday.

S 1158 would allow the state’s gaming tribes to offer land-based sports betting within their casinos — and elsewhere. Arizona currently has 16 federally recognized tribes which operate a total of 24 gambling facilities across the state.

Regulated Arizona sports betting would not be limited to tribal lands, though.

The bill would allow the installation of kiosks or similar devices inside of bars and other liquor-serving establishments. Definitions tied to state code are broad, encompassing things like airport lounges and social/fraternal clubs. Theoretically, the Sky Club at Sky Harbor could offer sports betting.

The Arizona Department of Gaming would oversee the industry and have some discretion over its implementation. Revenue would be taxed at a maximum rate of 6.75 percent, matching the Nevada sports betting rate next door.

One curious line: As proposed, legal Arizona sports betting “does not include wagering on sporting events that is prohibited by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.” The NCAA, of course, has no inherent authority to prohibit wagering on any event.

The bill also includes provisions for non-tribal entities to supply the services and technology to power Arizona sports betting. Operation, however, would be exclusive to the tribes.

Hawaii sports betting bill

The appetite for sports betting is expanding westward in 2019. Far, far westward. Hawaii is the newest and most unexpected addition to the tracker.

Filed on Wednesday and pending introduction, H 1107 would create the Hawaii Sports Wagering Corporation. The bill charges the new agency with regulating and operating the Hawaii sports betting industry from top to bottom.

Although Hawaii doesn’t have a lottery, the framework would be similar to that in Rhode Island and Delaware.

Regulators would have 180 days from passage to begin seeking out one vendor to supply the statewide infrastructure. That process would involve a public Request For Proposal, a key competitive step that DC sports betting regulators are trying to bypass.

The Corporation would have broad discretion over the implementation of Hawaii sports betting, including which types of wagers to allow and by what method(s). The contracted supplier would receive an undetermined cut of total revenue, while the state would retain the remaining profit.

What’s perhaps most notable about this effort is that Hawaii is one of only two US states — Utah being the other — that currently has no legalized gambling of any sort.

Around US sports betting in legislatures

With legislatures ramping up for 2019, there’s no shortage of activity in other states on the sports betting front:

  • New York looked like it was getting ready to move forward on sports betting. Until it wasn’t. More here on the budget shenanigans.
  • The mayor of Washington DC signed a bill to authorize sports betting in the nation’s capital. But that’s hardly the final say on the matter.
  • The new opinion from the Department of Justice is not deterring a key lawmaker from Michigan from advancing plans for online sports betting.
  • Many have thought Maryland would have to amend its constitution to have sports betting. But maybe not.
  • There are hearings about sports betting in both Kansas and New Hampshire next week.
  • New bills have surfaced in Kentucky and Kansas, adding to other legislation already in play. Some states have upwards of seven bills, so until they start moving forward, it’s difficult to handicap which have the best chance of becoming law.
  • We’re still waiting for Rhode Island to move forward with online sports betting.

As always, check in with our sports betting bills tracker to see the latest legislation around the country.

Eric Ramsey
- Eric is a reporter and writer covering regulated US gambling, sports betting, and DFS. He comes from a poker background, formerly on staff at PokerNews and the World Poker Tour.
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