While the trend in the U.S. has been moving towards legalized sports gambling over the past five years, there are still many legal issues surrounding this topic. As it stands, only a handful of states have legalized sports gambling, which includes two – Delaware and Nevada – where the issue is still considered a hot topic. With the increasing acceptance across the country of legalized gambling, sports gambling legalities continue to grow in popularity in spite of this. However, as the sports industry continues to grow so does the need for sports gambling legal services.
New York: Legal, but regulated. New York is still considering legalized sports gambling, and is currently the twenty-third state to do so. In May of 2021, representatives voted in favor of legalizing sports gambling at the Statehouse. Earlier in the year, legislators pushed forward two different sports gambling bills – one that would make sports gambling legal at casinos, racetrack and other off-site gaming sites, and another that would severely limit sports gambling to only the state-approved tribes operating in their states. Now the legislature is finalizing these two bills.
California: Already law. In 2021, the California state legislature passed a bill that legalized sports gambling in the state. In 2021, it was put on the November ballot. The initiative measures will be voted out of both the house and state senate in the next two weeks. The proposition will be on the November ballot, which means that if it passes, California will become the third state in the nation to fully legalize sports gambling. California will join Texas and Massachusetts as the next states to legalize casino gambling.
Florida: In-state, but not yet regulated. The state legislature is considering passing a bill that will regulate sports gambling in Florida. However, the proposal has yet to be introduced into the state legislature and may not even make it out of committee. If it did make it out of committee, it will most likely need changes before it gets passed out of the House and onto the Senate for final consideration. Therefore, we will have to wait and see if it gets passed out of committee and ultimately signed into law by the Governor.
Iowa: In committee, but not yet out for debate. The Iowa State House is debating a new bill that would allow a sports book to operate within the state if it chooses. If the bill becomes law, the issue will need to be brought up during the next legislative session. It is highly unlikely the bill will pass in the House, but if it does, it will become the twenty-first state in the nation to allow sports betting.
Georgia: In committee, but not yet out for debate. A bill to legalize sports wagering in Georgia has already been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee, which are controlled by Speaker Tim Murphy. If the bill does make it out of committee, it will need to come up for a vote during the upcoming Georgia General Election. If it passes, it will likely face immediate opposition from both the House and Senate, who are leaning towards keeping the status quo. If it doesn’t, then it will be headed for a full Senate vote and potentially a full House vote.
Montana: Legalization of sports gambling was one of the issues facing Montana’s Gaming Commission prior to the 2021 legislative session. The commission was looking for a way to create more money in the state’s coffers by allowing sports gaming, as well as other gambling, at the state’s casinos. One commission official said, “The commission is looking for additional revenue. If we can legalize betting in casinos, why wouldn’t we legalize betting on sports?”
Pennsylvania: State Representative Edolphus Townsley has sponsored a bill to legalize sports wagering in Pennsylvania. Although he did not offer specifics, he did say that the measure would not become law until it receives a hearing in the House and Senate. Although there are currently no hearings scheduled, there has been some talk that a final bill may be introduced soon, thus giving momentum to the proposal.