More Than Half Of States Now Have Sports Betting As Maryland, Louisiana, South Dakota Legalize It

Posted on November 4, 2020

Those voting in the US elections couldn’t bet on the outcome, but plenty used the election to cast their votes in favor of sports betting.

Three more states – Louisiana, Maryland and South Dakota – approved sports wagering through Tuesday’s election. A fourth, Nebraska, approved casino gaming that could eventually lead to sports wagering in the state.

Those three new additions brings the total number of US states and jurisdictions with sports betting to 27.

None of the three states will see sportsbooks launch in the coming months, though. The referendum questions simply approved sports wagering in those states. Their legislatures must now craft the bills that will set the rules and regulations for each market.

One thing is for sure, though: 2021 should be a busy year for US sports betting launches.

Where is sports betting approved in the US?

The 27 jurisdictions that allow sports wagering include seven that haven’t launched yet. Of the total, four are tribal-only.

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana (pending launch)
  • Maryland (pending launch)
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico (no legislation, tribal only)
  • New York
  • North Dakota (no legislation, tribal only, pending launch)
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota (pending launch)
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia (pending launch)
  • Washington (tribal only, pending launch)
  • Washington DC
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming (no legislation, tribal only, pending launch)

Some of these states also only allow physical sportsbooks and not online betting. New York is the biggest among those.

Referendum results for all three states

While the three states are still reporting results, enough are in to safely call all three referendum votes in favor of sports wagering.

Maryland sports betting is coming

Maryland sports betting won approval by a 66.3%-33.7% margin with 100% of election day votes counted.

Sen. Craig Zucker, the author of sports betting bill S 4 before it was stripped for the yes/no referendum question, believes his old bill is a good starting point.

That would likely result in a bill that allows retail and online betting at all six casinos andthree horse tracks. The bets would be taxed at 20% with licensing fees ranging from $1.5 million to $2.5 million.

The legalization effort was boosted by a campaign funded by DraftKings and FanDuel.

Louisiana sports betting for much of the state

Louisiana Wins, another operator-funded campaign to legalize sports betting, announced shortly after 11 p.m. local time the campaign was a success.

Just how strongly the Louisiana sports betting referendum was supported was a bit surprising. According to Louisiana Wins, 55 of the state’s 64 parishes approved sports wagering.

That’s up from the 47 parishes that approved daily fantasy sports contests in 2018. Louisianans hope this launch moves faster than DFS, though: contests still have not launched in the state.

South Dakota sports betting approved

Sports betting in South Dakota appears to be the most limited of the three states, but that could change.

Sports betting passed in the state by a 59%-41% margin with 90% of all precincts fully reported as of 7 a.m. local time Wednesday morning.

The referendum specifically approved sports betting in Deadwood. As with all tribal gaming, though, tribal casinos can offer anything legal for commercial casinos. That puts sports wagering in the state’s 11 tribal casinos as well.

There’s another hitch, too. The referendum’s wording of “sports wagering in Deadwood” could allow mobile sportsbooks as well. Sportsbook operators could place their servers in Deadwood and allow bets from throughout the state.

It’ll be up to the legislature – industry lobbyists will help, of course – to make that decision next year.

Photo by Brian Witte / The Associated Press
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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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