Looking Ahead: Which States Could Legalize Sports Betting in 2019?

Summary: 2018 ended with several states legalizing and beginning sports betting services. Which states could join them in 2019?

Over the past few years, all eyes have been on the online casino and poker industries of the United States. Since 2013, New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware have offered online casino and/or online poker gaming. Pennsylvania passed legislation in late 2017 and should begin offering online gaming services sometime this year. In May of last year, the United States Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on sports betting, which led to several states legalizing the option and starting services as quickly as possible. For 2019, there are several states that are set up to possibly legalize sports betting, helping the overall industry to continue to grow and expand.

Who’s In the Mix?

Sports Betting in New JerseySo, which states are in the mix to possibly pass sports betting legislation this year? Several states have bills on file so they will be ready to consider legislation as soon as their next legislative sessions begins. One such state that has a bill on file is Kentucky. The state is already known for wagering, being home to a strong horse racing industry.

The state created a panel last summer to study sports betting and to draft legislation for the industry. A public hearing took place in October with the state’s AG announcing he was for the option in November. This year, there are two bills that will be considered; BR 15 and BR 320. Both proposals include the Kentucky Lottery Corporation as the group building the framework for the industry. One bill would see the state’s Gaming Commission in charge while the other would see the Horse Racing Commission in charge of regulation.

Surprisingly, Tennessee is also on the list of state’s that have introduced legislation. The state is one that does not have any gambling on offer, with casino and poker gaming prohibited. Late last year, H1/S16 was pre-filed in the House to be considered this year. The bill would see a state Gaming Commission created to regulate retail as well as online and mobile wagering.

Missouri is also a state to watch as they were very active last year in trying to see sports betting come to pass. Lawmakers introduced six bills, but progress was limited. The issue for the state is in the details as lawmakers cannot seem to agree on what a bill should entail. The subject of an integrity fee has been one issue of contention, as with other states.

For 2019, the state has a bill pre-filed. S 44 will be considered this year, with language not including a fee to any league as well as placing a 0.5% fee on the sports betting handle to be applied to construction as well as the maintenance of sports and other facilities.

Will Online Casino and Poker Gaming Be Back?

With sports betting so heavily considered in 2018, it seems that online casino and poker gaming has been pushed to the side. Some states are looking at all areas of gambling, including online casino/poker gaming along with sports betting, but for the most part, the sports wagering industry is taking center stage.

For proponents of online gaming, the hope is that states will see the benefits of online gaming along with sports betting and decide to legalize it all. If this were to happen, the US would begin to see a gambling boom, one that has not been seen in some time.