With the 2018 US state legislative sessions ending around the nation, gambling bills are being pushed to next year’s session.
Gambling is expected to be one of the most discussed legislative topics in the 2019 state legislative sessions. Numerous states have passed and legalized expanded gambling forms during the 2018 session, some of whom have already launched their operations.
States like New Jersey have reported incredible sports wager handles and tax revenue generated leading to the idea that many states during the 2019 session will introduce expanded gambling bills.
After the removal of PASPA by the Supreme Court from the Federal law books, states were able to introduce and legalize domestic sports gambling. In 2018, seven US states legalized sports gambling at the state legislative level; New Mexico also offers sports gambling but did not authorize sports betting via state legislation, rather native tribes offer them via gaming compact loophole.
We expect more states to queue legal sports gambling bills in the 2019 session as several states have introduced these bills during the 2018 session.
States like Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, and New York are looking to offer their own domestic sportsbooks and plan to reintroduce sports gambling legislation not passed in the 2018 session the following year. The Capital of the US, D.C., is also looking to offer sports gambling via legal sports betting bill.
While sports betting legislation will take up most of the national focus, several US states are looking to expand their domestic gambling options by offering interactive gaming (iGaming), otherwise known as online gambling. States like West Virginia are looking to expand into the online gambling sphere. WV passed and launched domestic sports betting operations in 2018, but the state isn’t done yet as they hope to offer online gambling and online lotteries as well.
New York, Connecticut, Michigan, and Illinois are looking to legalize both domestic online gambling and sports betting. However, some of these prospects may have to adjust their focus and overcome local hurdles. Connecticut and Michigan both have strong tribal presences, each with thriving tribal casino markets. Tribes in these states want legislators to pass online gambling options before sports gambling because it is “better for all” in terms of who can offer what.
This is because tribes do not want to renegotiate their compacts for sports gambling and play the waiting game for federal approval –they hope lawmakers push for interactive gaming legalization first which is the easiest and fastest to implement.
For some states, passing expanded gambling legislation is just about getting their state House and Senate to agree, for another state it may be more about appeasing other gambling operators already active in the area. Regardless of the hiccups, we are sure more states will pass expanded forms of gambling before the end of the 2019 session. Some gambling legalization may even come as a surprise.