Sports bettors looking to place a bet in person in the United States can head to Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island or West Virginia. In New Mexico, a gaming compact allows a tribal group to offer sports betting at two casinos.
In Arkansas, betting has been approved in four counties, but the state Racing Commission has yet to launch the apparatus to place wagers. Washington, D.C. approved sports betting in December and it is pending approval from Congress before it can move ahead.
So which state is next? It is yours? Let’s see which states are close, still considering or on the fence regarding legal sports betting:
New York: The state has long had horse racing and residents also can play daily fantasy sports. Despite passing a 2013 referendum that would allow gambling expansion, one would think the Empire State would have been one of first to move forward with sports betting after the U.S. Supreme Court cleared a path in May by overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. In 2018, the N.Y. legislative session ended without passing any law regarding online poker or sports betting. Gov. Andrew Cuomo assisted in its demise by seeking “more study” before approval. Now, Assemblyman Gary Pretlow and his colleagues are watching from the bleachers as neighboring New Jersey is generating millions with sports betting with several New Yorkers taking trains and tunnels to the Garden State to bet on sports. Pretlow plans to reintroduce his sports betting bill in January, which will include an integrity fee for sports leagues. The legislation would allow mobile sports betting, plus wagering at tribal casinos and racetracks and could possibly be approved by April.
Connecticut: The state was forward thinking, passing a gaming package in 2017 pending on a change in federal law. Connecticut sports betting efforts have been partially thwarted by timing — the Supreme Court ruling came five days after the Nutmeg State’s legislative session ended. The calls for a special session went unheard. In the new year, state officials will negotiate with the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes, who operate the state’s two casinos. The tribes feel they have exclusive rights to the state’s sports betting and attorney general feels differently. With new Gov.-elect Ned Lamont, who supports sports betting as a way to fund help for the state’s seniors, plus key legislative defeats and retirements, sports betting has a better chance of approval.
Kentucky: Legislators are looking toward January for passage of a bi-partisan bill that could bring $5 million to $30 million to the state’s coffers. Gov. Matt Bevin in the past has spoken out against sports betting but said he would reconsider since the May high court ruling. Two days after that ruling, the state’s famed racetrack, Churchill Downs, home to the Kentucky Derby, entered into an agreement with Golden Nugget Atlantic City to offer sports betting in anticipation of legislation and gaming license approval.
Missouri: State lawmakers are planning to make another attempt to legalize sports betting after a bill introduced last year to allow sports betting on riverboat casinos didn’t advance. A new bill, to be debated in January, was to include an integrity fee for sports leagues. However, Sen. Denny Hoskins said the new legislation will now include a 0.5 percent fee on operators that would fund the construction and maintenance of cultural and recreational facilities statewide. The legislative session begins Jan. 9.
Ohio: The state’s new governor Mike DeWine wants to stem the tide of Ohioans travelling across state lines to place sports bets in Pennsylvania. He believes a mobile app will help achieve that goal. A placeholder bill sits in the state’s legislature but has yet to move forward. “It’s coming to Ohio whether people want it or not,” DeWine told a local TV station in November.
Tennessee: A recent attorney general ruling calling gambling a “game of skill” rather than a lottery, avoids a change in the state’s constitution. The Tennessee Legislature is expected to address sports gambling, with a bill already proposed. However, Gov.-elect Bill Lee said during a gubernatorial debate that “organized betting frequently develops into organized crime that we don't need in our state.”
Other states that have had hearings or have bills still winding their way through legislatures are: California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina and Virginia.
States with no pending sports betting legalization: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
And don’t hold your breath on Utah, which is so opposed to legalize betting it is written into the state’s constitution.