Sports Betting Legislative Lasso: Movement In The Middle Of The Country

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Sports betting bills

Happy Monday, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome back to our legislative recap. We spend our every waking moment tracking sports betting bills and monitoring legislative hearings so that you don’t have to, and this is the place where we try to sum it all up for you at the end of the week.

Here are the vitals for US sports betting right now:

For those keeping score at home, New York, Arkansas and the District of Columbia are the three jurisdictions pending launch. Each has a law in place and a regulated industry in incubation.

We’re not quite ready to add Oregon to that list, but it might roll out full-scale sports betting this year without additional legislation. Call it three-and-a-half jurisdictions approaching launch.

Let’s embark on another tour through the statehouses that actively considered gambling legislation last week. By way of the usual reminder, we update our sports betting bill tracker every day and post real-time updates on Twitter.

What are you hearing about sports betting?

Legislatures were alive with the chatter of sports betting this week. Committees conducted hearings and moved on related bills in several states, carving a swath through the central US.

North Dakota sports betting bill fails, passes House

Lawmakers in North Dakota conducted hearings on two sports betting bills last month, and the reports came back last Monday. The Appropriations Committee reported both bills to the House with “Do Not Pass” recommendations attached.

That appeared to be the end of the road for H 1254, and its second reading on Wednesday failed 46-44.

Later in the day, however, Rep. Keith Kempenich made a motion to reconsider due to his absence for the previous vote. The motion passed 50-40, then the bill itself passed 52-38 upon reconsideration.

Risen from the ashes, it would allow the state’s charitable gaming licensees to offer sports betting on both professional and collegiate events. It now moves to the Senate for consideration in the upper chamber.

A second bill (H 1295) that would have limited betting to professional sports is officially dead. The House voted 62-30 against and did not reconsider before adjourning.

Kentucky gambling bill headed for House vote

Kentucky entered 2019 as one of the leading candidates for gaming expansion.

This week, lawmakers reported H 175 out of committee and onto the House floor for consideration. Along with sports betting, the bill from Rep. Adam Koenig includes provisions to legalize both online poker and daily fantasy sports.

The Licensing and Occupations Committee signed off on substitute language on Wednesday, and the bill is scheduled for a full chamber vote Monday.

Koenig’s is one of several KY sports betting bills on file in the Commonwealth this year. The nine-member panel formed to study the issue last year has spawned one proposal in the upper chamber (S 23), and two competing bills also exist in the House.

As further evidence of its appetite for expansion, Kentucky has a land-based casino bill (H 190) on file this year too.

Iowa sports betting bill moves

If there were an award for ambition, Iowa would be the runaway favorite this year. At last count, there are no less than 10 study bills related to sports betting on file.

Loyal listeners of TheLines Podcast will know that competing bills tend to indicate competing interests, typically a detriment to prospects for passage.

That being said, one set of Iowa sports betting bills does have a chance to stick.

H 198 and S 1168 are similar proposals to legalize both sports betting and DFS. The Senate bill, which the most complete and the furthest along the legislative process, would authorize retail and online/mobile operations for the state’s 19 casinos, horse racing tracks, and “other facilities.”

The Senate bill cleared the State Government Committee this week, while the House bill moved to the matching committee in the lower chamber.

More from the Midwest

The appetite for legal sports betting has reached every state in the midwest — almost. Wisconsin is the only cat in the neighborhood that has not considered a relevant bill since the fall of PASPA last May.

As was the case along the east coast in 2018, geographical peer pressure could spark a chain reaction of legalization. But which state in the midwest will be the first to go green?

Illinois sports betting revenue in the budget

The ambition for sports betting in Illinois may be rivaled only by the complications in the way of passage. None of last year’s efforts made much legislative progress, though they did serve to start the conversation in Springfield.

Prospects for 2019 received an apparent shot in the arm this week.

On Wednesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker presented his proposed budget to state lawmakers, including $217 million in allocations from Illinois sports betting. That would be $200 million from the issuance of 20 licenses, plus $17 million in projected tax revenue from first-year operations.

Here’s what the governor had to say on the topic it during his address:

“I am calling on the legislature to take this up immediately so that Illinois can realize hundreds of millions of dollars, create new jobs, and bring sports betting into a regulated environment that will protect citizens from bad actors.”

Indiana sports betting bill moves

One of three Indiana sports betting bills has begun to inch its way forward.

This week, the Appropriations Committee amended and unanimously reported S 552 with a favorable recommendation. The bill from Sen. Mark Messmer would authorize sports betting at all Indiana casinos and satellite betting facilities.

There are provisions for online and mobile betting on both professional and collegiate events. Licenses would cost $100,000 apiece, and the proposed tax rate will be dictated by the lower chamber.

The bill now presumably heads to the Senate floor for consideration before the full chamber.

Two competing IN sports betting bills (H 1363 and S 439) have yet to move in the Committee on Public Policy for their respective chamber.

Next week in sports betting bills

Before we leave you for, there’s one regulatory update worth mentioning, too.

Arkansas voters legalized sports betting at the ballot box in November, and regulators this week approved a set of rules. Those rules appear to limit wagering to on-site patrons.

Looking ahead to next week, sports betting hearings and votes are lined up on the calendar once again. Here’s what’s on the docket: