Obviously, the 2020 Presidential election got top billing all year as the most wagered-on and consequential betting event in history.
However, that mire is nearing its end as the future of America now seems destined for a different course.
Fortunately, if you’re concerned about the direction of that brave new world, you can always turn to your gambling hobby for a timely and relaxing distraction. And, perhaps, a little extra money for when the taxman comes calling!
To that end, the November general had a few hidden gems specifically geared towards the gambling market in the United States. And several of the results will have a direct impact on 18 and up gambling fans in a few different states.
In total, five states had specific gambling ballot measures during this cycle, and all of them passed by healthy margins. The amendments and their implications for domestic 18+ casino gaming and other betting markets are discussed below.
Colorado 2020 Gambling Measures
- Amendment C – Passed 51.9% to 48.1%
- Amendment 77 – Passed 60.1% to 39.9%
Amendment C, called the “Charitable Bingo and Raffle Amendment,” removes various restrictions on charitable gaming events in CO. These are often classified as Class II gambling activities, despite that designation being limited to tribal casinos and gambling operations.
Effectively, Amendment C allows charitable organizations to host limited gaming after three years in operation as opposed to the previous five-year standard.
This type of gambling typically welcomes bettors aged 18 and over, which means that there are going to be more gaming options for those aged 18-20 in the state of Colorado.
The new amendment also allows these organizations to hire attendants and employees at minimum wage (as opposed to having such positions filled by unpaid volunteers), which offers new employment opportunities to those aged 18 and up.
Amendment 77 increases the minimum wager limit at casinos in the cities of Central, Black Hawk, and Cripple Creek. It also allows these venues to establish more game types in addition to the slots, blackjack, poker, craps, and roulette already on offer.
However, these gambling outlets do require their members to be 21 and up to legally participate.
Thus, if you live in CO and are between the ages of 18 and 20 years old, you can only partake of real-money casino games of the traditional variety by playing at legal online 18+ casinos operating internationally. Neither amendment changes that fact.
However, if Class II gaming is more your speed, you will soon have significantly more domestic access to such games.
Louisiana 2020 Gambling Measures
- Act 215 – Passed 56-8
This Louisiana gambling ballot measure, called the “Proposition to Authorize Sports Wagering Activities” (pun possibly intended!), was delivered on a parish-by-parish basis, with each parish determining for itself if sports betting would be legalized within its municipal borders.
Fifty-six parishes voted to approve local sports wagering, while eight parishes disapproved.
However, before legal sports bets can be placed in any LA parish, the state will have to craft a series of gambling regulations to oversee the pastime.
Whether or not 18 and up bettors will be able to legally wager with parish sportsbooks remains to be seen, but there’s a good chance for such a contingency, as the majority of states to legalize sports betting since the PASPA overturn in 2018 have set their minimum ages to 18-plus.
Maryland 2020 Gambling Measures
- Question 2 – Passed 66.5% to 33.5%
Maryland voters easily approved of Question 2, which approves the Maryland Lottery and state gaming commission to institute, regulate, and oversee sports betting in the state.
Such licenses to operate domestic MD sportsbooks will be granted to those commercial entities currently operating VLTs (video lottery terminals) and horse racing venues.
Given that gambling in Maryland only requires players to be 18 and up to participate in the lottery and bet on horse races, there is a great chance that this will be the age limit for full sports betting once the pastime goes live in the state.
However, there is no indication as yet whether or not MD residents will be able to bet on sports online or if wagering will be limited to placing bets at physical venues.
In case of the latter, please remember that it is fully legal in MD for residents to place real-money bets on athletics at any reputable 18+ online sports betting site operating internationally.
Nebraska 2020 Gambling Measures
- Initiative 429 – Passed 64.9% to 35.1%
- Initiative 430 – Passed 64.9% to 35.1%
- Initiative 431 – Passed 68.6% to 31.4%
All three of these Nebraska Initiatives were effectively asking voters the same question, and they could have been on the ballot as a singular proposal.
Effectively, passage here means that state racetracks can now offer traditional casino games along with their other Nebraska gambling amusements.
Given that horse racing bettors and bingo players must be 18 and up (19 and up for lotteries and keno), it remains to be seen what the legal minimum gambling age for proper casino titles will be in the state.
It’s not out of the question that it could be 18+, but it’s highly unlikely.
Therefore, Nebraska residents aged 18-20 who wish to participate in real casino play will likely have to do so at legally operating offshore casino sites for the foreseeable future.
South Dakota 2020 Gambling Measures
- Amendment B – Passed 58.5% to 41.5%
In SD, Amendment B passed easily. This is a limited sports betting authorization proposal, formally called the “Deadwood Sports Betting Legalization Amendment.”
Essentially, this allows the casinos operating within Deadwood city limits to expand their current South Dakota casino offerings by adding legal sports betting to the mix. All sports wagering revenues will go to the Deadwood Historical Preservation Fund.
Unfortunately, it is currently unclear whether brick-and-mortar sports betting will be limited to those aged 21 and up or whether 18+ bettors will be allowed to participate.
However, there is no online component to this bill, so as with MD residents, 18 and over online sportsbooks operating outside of US jurisdiction remain the only safe, legal route for those living in SD to wager on their favorite players and teams.