Bills to legalize sports betting considered in 37 states

Sports Betting Legislative Lasso: Betting On The South

sports betting bills

Happy Monday, ladies and gents, and welcome back to another exciting week of monitoring sports betting legislation!

Last week was a fairly quiet one on the lawmaking front — a rare thing thing anymore — so it should be easy enough to run through the list.

While you read on, you’re cordially invited to listen to the LSR Podcast. Last week’s episode features Ray Lesniak, the former New Jersey state senator who played a key role in the fall of PASPA.

Listen to “LSR Podcast Ep. 6: 37 States and Counting + Sen. Ray Lesniak Interview” on Spreaker.

All right, here are the vitals for US sports betting right this second:

  • States with regulated sports betting: 8
  • Jurisdictions pending launch: 3
  • States with bills on file: 37
  • Number of bills on file: 141

There’s been some movement on the board, as two new contenders leapt into the ring last week. As was the case with Louisiana leading the way a week prior, it’s two more Southern states with a new appetite for legislation.

Let’s head south once again.

Arkansas wants mobile sports betting

Voters in Arkansas approved sports betting at casinos last year, but a new push for statewide mobile betting is afoot. Last week, the Natural State became the 36th with a bill on file.

S 669 would allow regulators to auction off up to four licenses for mobile betting plus the option to open a retail betting facility. Revenue would be taxed at a base rate of 12.5 percent, with an extra 1 percent surcharge tacked on to mobile betting revenue.

Digging into the language of the bill leaves little doubt about its origins.

The terms would fully empower the sports leagues — allowing them to restrict bet types, control data sources, and collect a full 1 percent integrity fee. It’s worth reminding you once again, dear reader, that no US sports betting law includes any such provisions.

Following its introduction in the Senate, the AR sports betting bill is assigned to State Agencies and Governmental Affairs.

Alabama shoots its shot

Mississippi sports betting is already a thing, and at least some lawmakers in Alabama want to join the party.

Filed last week, H 315 would facilitate up to seven parimutuel sports betting licenses, including authorization for mobile betting. Those licenses would come at a cost of $100,000 apiece, and revenue would be taxed at a rate of 10 percent.

That’s about all that needs to be said about the efforts for now. Passage of a sports betting bill in one of the most gambling-averse US states would be the upset of the year. But you can’t pass a law without a bill!

Elsewhere in sports betting bills

The appetite for sports betting won’t be constrained by the continental boundaries of the US landmass. Bills have appeared as far west as Hawaii, and now far southeast into the territorial islands.

About 10 days ago, Puerto Rico officially threw its noodle into the pool. Citing the need to stimulate the local economy, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló proposed new legislation that includes legalizing both sports betting and daily fantasy sports.

In the interests of tidying up the legislative list, here are a few other bits of movement from the past week:

  • Hawaii: The House adopted a pair of resolutions (HR 103, HCR 109) to create a task force to study sports betting.
  • Iowa: Things appear to be coming together, as the Senate bill (S 366) cleared committee to head to the floor.
  • Missouri: The two most active sports betting bills (S 44, S 222) remain on the Senate calendar for perfection.
  • North Carolina: After advancing through two committee stops, S 154 is on its way to the Senate floor for consideration.

This week in sports betting

A pending hearing in Tennessee is squarely in our sights once again for the upcoming week. Having lingered in committee for more than a month, H 1 is back on the docket for House State Government on Tuesday. We’ll have to wait and see whether or not a vote materializes this week.

Tuesday is also the committee deadline in Indiana, and S 552 is up for a hearing in House Ways and Means. The Senate has already passed this bill from Sen. Mark Messmer, and it has since been amended in the lower chamber.

On Wednesday, the Montana parimutuel sports betting bill (H 475) is up for a committee hearing before Business, Labor, and Economic Affairs in the Senate.

And that’s about it. If last week is any indication, though, another hearing or two might crop up elsewhere between now and Friday.

Keep an eye on our map of sports betting bills, and follow @LSPReport on Twitter for updates throughout the week.

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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