Legislative appetite for sports betting still piqueing
Legal Sports Report

Sports Betting Legislative Lasso: Who’s On Deck After Montana, Indiana?

sports betting bills

Good day, folks, and welcome to another presumably busy week of legal, regulated sports betting expansion.

Lawmakers in the US are mostly done introducing new bills for the year, but they’re not done passing them yet. For the second consecutive week, the number of states with a law on the books increased by one.

Here’s where things stand today:

  • States with regulated sports betting: 8
  • Jurisdictions pending launch: 5
  • States with bills on file: 38
  • Number of bills on file: 152

Well, would you look at that! With the new addition last week, four states and one federal jurisdiction are now incubating their regulated industries after passing an enabling law.

Let’s start our lasso in the Midwest once again, the breadbasket of recent legislative movement. We’d humbly suggest listening to the news while you read via the latest episode of the LSR Podcast:

Listen to “LSR Podcast Ep.10 – Two More States Officially on Board and a Massive Deal Between Fox and The Stars Group” on Spreaker.

Indiana makes … 10? 13?

The addition of Indiana to the states with legal sports betting was the breakthrough legislative news of the week. On Wednesday, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed H 1015 into law right at the deadline.

The framework for IN sports betting is sound, including provisions for both retail and online betting. Casinos are eligible to apply for licensure at a cost of $100,000 apiece, and the state will tax revenue at a rate of 9.5%. The bill has an effective date of July 1, so expect things to move quickly.

It’s become difficult to give a simple accurate count of states with legalized sports betting. Nevada, of course, predates all of this, and tribes in New Mexico are offering sports betting under pre-existing law, too.

Whatever number you give it, sports betting is officially legal in Indiana. It is the second state to cross the finish line this year (behind Montana).

New York sports betting hearing

Wednesday was one of the busiest days of sports betting news in some time, headlined by that signature in Indiana and confirmation of a huge deal between Fox Sports and The Stars Group.

LSR spent the day in New York, though, where the Senate Gaming, Racing and Wagering Committee met to consider S 17 for the first time. Acting as both the chairman and the sponsor, Sen. Joseph Addabbo presided over the public hearing.

A number of stakeholders testified in Albany, as did sports leagues seeking to influence the conversation. So far, the latter group has found more traction in its home state than in any other. The current version of the bill would require operators to remit an integrity fee to leagues and use their official league data to settle bets.

Read back through our live coverage to get a feel for the proceedings, plus a full update on the state of NY sports betting. The committee will meet again to continue the discussion this week, minus the public testimony.

Illinois sports betting hearing

Despite the appetite from some lawmakers, Illinois still seems to be a long way from legal sports betting.

Last week, Rep. Michael Zalewski filed two new amendments to H 1260, which has become the vehicle for IL sports betting. Neither would create an operator-friendly structure.

Licenses could cost up to $20 million under the proposed amendments, and both include a stifling 25% tax on revenue. Apart from the Pennsylvania tax on PA sports betting, both of those numbers would be the largest in the country.

One model clearly originates with the leagues, as it includes an integrity fee and official data. Representatives from the NBA and MLB pitched such an inclusion as a partnership, and their words seem to have found a favorable audience in Illinois.

It’s worth mentioning once again that no sports betting law in the US contains an integrity fee, a royalty fee, a partnership fee, or a fee by any other name payable to the leagues.

Both amendments would authorize statewide online betting with remote registration, a thin silver lining within the otherwise dingy proposals.

Elsewhere in sports betting

There was a hearing in New Hampshire last week, too, where H 480 looks like it has a path to passage. The sponsor’s attempt to include casino gambling backfired, but lawmakers support a standalone NH sports betting proposal.

At least seven other states remain in play to legalize sports betting in the immediate future:

  • Colorado: H 1327 awaits a decision from Gov. Jared Polis.
  • IowaS 617 awaits a decision from Gov. Kim Reynolds.
  • Louisiana: Having already passed the Senate, S 153 is now working through House committees.
  • Michigan: A curious addition to the list considering there’s no bill yet, but the sponsor says it’s coming soon.
  • Missouri: Both S 44 and S 222 remain on the calendar for perfection, where they’ve lingered for months and appear stuck.
  • North Carolina: The Senate already passed S 154 allowing tribal sports betting, and we expect the House to follow suit.
  • TennesseeH 1 is fully passed and likely will become law without the governor’s pen. This one is … not a good bill.

As mentioned, Montana also has legal sports betting thanks to a House bill (H 725) signed about 10 days ago. You might recall that the governor rejected the Senate bill (S 330), but his veto might not stick. The legislature is currently considering a mail ballot that would trigger an override if 100 of them come back in favor.

By the way: New York, Arkansas, and the District of Columbia represent the three other “legal pending launch” jurisdictions. It’s almost time to add Oregon, too, which doesn’t need a new law to implement sports betting via the lottery.

If all of the states we mentioned this week get to the finish line — they won’t, but — there would be 23 states with legal sports betting.

This week in sports betting

So far, that hearing in New York plus one in Maine on LD 553 are the only blips on our radar for the upcoming week. That is subject to change, as always, but the legislative calendar is beginning to quiet down just a bit.

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

Happy Monday, ladies and gents!

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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