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A Closer Look at the Prospective U.S. Legal Sports Betting States

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Robert Hainsey #70 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs out with an American flag during player introductions prior to the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Mike Ehrmann / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

You do not have to search too hard to see just how much the U.S. legal sports betting industry has exploded since the 2018 Supreme Court decision to overturn its blanket ban on sports betting, and what a positive impact it has had on the states that allow such platforms to exist.

Participating jurisdictions have all but weeded out illegal black-market gambling, have contributed to the “fan enhancement” of the games themselves, and have, at the same time, reaped the tax revenue rewards that come along with the legalization.

New York has added fuel to all prospective sports betting markets’ momentum, thanks to their nearly $4 billion handle since mobile launch on January 8, 2022.

Twenty-eight states are now live with their own legal sports betting platforms, plus Washington DC with many more on the horizon. 

Over one hundred million Americans are now allowed to bet on sports. 

Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and Rush Street Interactive are just a few of the sportsbooks that have become integral parts of every sports broadcast in North America, quickly becoming ingrained in the fabric of pro and college sporting events.

States with mobile and retail sports betting platforms include: 

Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

States with retail-only sports betting include:

Delaware, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Let’s take a peek into a few of the states with impending legal sports betting launches and a few more moving toward allowing legalizing sports wagering. 

Ohio

Ohio may be the most anticipated of all the prospective legal sports betting states working toward launch.

Ohio is home to the seventh-largest population in the U.S., with 11.7 million residents. 

It is also home to the NFL’s Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals, MLB’s Cleveland Guardians and Cincinnati Reds, the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, and numerous high-level college sports programs.

To say that Ohio is a juicy jurisdiction is an understatement. The state should slot in as a Top-5 revenue-generating state from the outset. 

The Ohio Legislative Budget Office feels that as much as $3.35 billion could be generated by the Ohio legal sports betting market within a few years.

The problem? Just because Governor Mike DeWine signed legal sports betting into law as of January 25, 2022, the state’s goal to launch a legal sports betting platform is January 1, 2023, which is a lifetime in legal sports betting circles. 

Check out the latest comprehensive and most trusted Sportsbook Reviews by SBR here.

Kentucky

Kentucky seems poised to expand its legal sports betting offerings. 

On Wednesday, a sports betting bill passed the House with bipartisan support and will now go to the Senate.

The bill would pave the way for legal sports betting to occur at state at racetracks, speedways, and mobile operators. 

But, as of today, there are just nine days left in this legislative session – the Senate will have to act quickly to get something hammered out. 

If they do, the start of the NFL season could be in play for Kentucky to launch their own legal sports betting platform.

RELATED: Kentucky Sports Betting Bill Passed by House


Massachusetts

Massachusetts tops the list as one of the more logical launch destinations for a broad legal sports betting platform. 

Home to several retail casinos and broad legal horse racing and DFS opportunities, Massachusetts looks like a state that should move forward with legal sports betting and online casinos sometime in 2022. 

Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and a host of other lawmakers seem to be on board, which is a good sign for legalization in the state.

Sports-crazed Massachusetts is home to seven million residents (15th highest in the U.S.) and headquarters one of the largest sports betting providers in the land, DraftKings.

Currently, lawmakers and regulators for any potential platform are working on setting something into motion. 

A few bills are being considered and have gained public support from high-level providers hoping to become part of a Massachusetts legal sports betting scene.

Stay tuned on this one!

Maryland

Maryland has already launched retail sports betting, but there is little clarity on when mobile wagering – typically responsible for upwards of 90% of the handles in most top legal sports betting jurisdictions around the U.S. – will go live.

Maryland figures to have an active legal sports betting scene once regulators can expand end enhance their wagering offerings.

Home of the NFL’s Washington Football Team and Baltimore Ravens and MLB’s Baltimore Orioles, providers have been drooling over Maryland’s potential. 6.2 million people call Maryland home – 18th in the U.S. in terms of population.

Big Fish Not Moving Quickly Enough:

The three biggest U.S. states in terms of population, California, Texas, and Florida, have been moving exceedingly slow in their attempts to legalize sports betting.

California

California is the scene of a massive battle for control over legalized sports betting. 

There has been little resolution and compromise for the state’s Native American tribes, card rooms, and groups of current providers looking to shop in the nation’s most populous state.

California has 40 million residents and 15 professional sports teams but no legal sports betting platform.

BetMGM said California was “one of the most important betting markets in the world.” 

Chris Grove, a managing director for Eilers and Krejcik Gaming, said that “California is easily the largest prize in the U.S. sports betting market.”

RELATED: California Shows Marginal Support for Legalized Sports Betting

Florida

Florida’s Hard Rock Sportsbook tried to get legal sports betting off the ground but was shut down by a court decision.

Florida has already done some of the heavy lifting regarding the legalization of sports betting. 

Last summer Governor Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe renegotiated a compact that would drastically expand the tribe’s gambling footprint in the state.

At stake is the third-largest market in the country. Florida’s population of 21.5 million sees 120 million tourists per year. 

While not yet launched, hopes are for a quick resolution in Florida, so residents of the state get a chance to place bets on their favorite sports sometime in 2022.

Texas

As long as Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and the Republican-led Senate remain, the subject of sports betting is going nowhere in Texas.

There is broad support in the state for legal sports betting from its pro sports teams and Sports Betting Alliance, but the lack of appetite from lawmakers means that legal sports betting is stuck in the Texas mud for the time being.


Other states to keep an eye on:

There are undoubtedly other states looking to build on the incredible legal sports betting momentum seen across the U.S. 

Georgia is one such state on the radar, although any movement would be in the form of a question to voters on the 2022 election ballot.

Nebraska’s legal sports betting platform was approved by voters and is waiting on the painfully slow reaction of legislators, as is Maine.

RELATED: Maine Inching Closer to Legal Sports Betting

Alabama could be in play, as could Kansas, Minnesota, and Missouri sometime in 2022.

Make sure to keep an eye on our Live Odds page throughout the week to get the best lines possible and connect with others in the SBR community on our popular sports betting forum