Sports betting already generates billions of dollars annually and is expected to keep expanding. According to the American Gaming Association, sports betting generated an all-time high of $4.3 billion in revenue in 2021. Launching on January 8th, online sports betting in New York generated about $48m in net income and $24.6m in taxes for the state in only the first eight days.
All but a few state legislatures have completed their work for the year 2022. Massachusetts is one of the few states with an active legislature, and progress is being made to legalize sports betting. However, proponents of sports betting and bookie operators saw less progress this year than they had hoped since only two states (Kansas and Maine) allowed sports betting.
Although progress seems to have halted in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma, many other states are ready to take a chance on legalizing sports gambling in the coming year. With this in mind, let’s examine which states could be next.
Next States Likely to Legalize Sports Betting in 2023
A bill to legalize sports betting in Minnesota for adults over the age of 21 has gathered traction recently, but it has stuck in a House legislative committee. Under the terms of the proposed law, the northern Ojibway tribes and the southern Dakota tribes would each have their own master licensing agreement for retail and online sports betting.
The legislation is currently before the House Committee on Ways and Means for study. If passed, the state would collect a 10% profit tax. The Senate will likely consider a bill to authorize sports betting along the same lines.
State Representative Zack Stephenson, who spoke in favor of the bill, argued that the state might benefit greatly from legalizing sports betting because the illegal market in Minnesota presently generates an estimated $2 billion each year.
Voters in the Golden State may soon have the opportunity to legalize sports betting, but it’s not an easy path. With at least two initiatives having appeared on the ballot last month in November. However, they failed to garner enough votes). More ballot initiatives are expected in the future.
Some estimate that if Californians were allowed to wager on sports legally, the state’s economy would increase by as much as $3 billion per year. And the state is seen as pivotal in allowing sports betting elsewhere in the country.
Professor John Holden of Oklahoma State University, quoted in a March 30 Politico article, said, “A lot of people simply think the rest of the United States would legalize if California does.”
If the November ballot results are any indicator, it will be some time before an initiative will be approved by voters.
An attempt to include the regulation of video lottery terminals in a bill that would have legalized sports betting in Missouri ultimately failed this year. VLTs, similar to slot machines, can be found in gas stations and convenience stores across the state. VLTs are unregulated and could steal business from casinos; hence many of the state’s gambling facilities are against them.
However, a few senators believed that VLTs should be codified in law before sports betting could be authorized. The bill died in Missouri because of this issue. The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) provided written, and oral testimony in Missouri and ultimately succeeded in having modifications added to the law that addressed problem gambling be considered in subsequent votes.
Should a sports betting measure be reintroduced in Missouri, NCPG plans to pick it up from there in 2023.
North Carolinians can place wagers the traditional way at brick-and-mortar casinos, but mobile betting is not yet legal there. In 2023, that might not be the case anymore.
If passed, North Carolina Senate Bill 688 could make sports betting legal. It was approved by the Senate in 2021 and by many House committees the following year, 2022, but it was ultimately defeated in June on the House floor by a single vote. Without further movement on the sports gambling bill, the house adjourned for June 2022, guaranteeing that the bill would not become law this year.
Recent versions of the law have included provisions for self-exclusion, restrictions on advertising, and yearly funding of $1 million for the prevention, education, and treatment of gambling-related problems. Throughout the bill’s debate in the House, NCPG kept a close eye on developments and provided testimony to key lawmakers.
Should the legislation be reintroduced in 2023, NCPG is ready to expand on the previous campaign.
Legislators in Vermont have been pushing for sports betting legalization for years, but their efforts have stalled.
In April 2022, a Senate committee considered a plan to legalize online sports betting under state lottery authority and enable six online sportsbooks. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives passed over the bill without voting on it.
Now that New York and Canada have legalized sports betting and Massachusetts is considering doing the same, Vermont will eventually be flanked by sports gambling, which could be the deciding factor in making it consider doing so.