Four years ago, the US Supreme Court made a ruling that is still creating headlines today. By striking down PASPA, it gave every state in the US the right to legalize sports betting if it chose to do so. Industry commentators predicted that 32 would do so by 2023, a number that has already been reached with six months to spare.
New York Triggers A Rush
You will hear lots of talk about domino effects. One state legalizes sports betting and its neighbors see how much money it generates – and worse, see their residents rushing over the state line to place a bet – so they feel compelled to follow suit. That principle went to new extremes a few months ago. When New York launched its online sports betting on January 8th, it generated $48 million in revenue and almost $25 million in tax dollars in the first eight days.
This was when states were struggling most with budget deficits, so we should not be surprised that it triggered something of a gold rush with sports betting getting legal approval and punters suddenly able to use a legal sportsbook in Arizona, Maine, Louisiana, Connecticut, and South Dakota at about the same time.
32 down means just 18 more dominoes to fall. Of course, there are a couple that will not do so in the foreseeable future, but there are others that you might expect to have acted on before now.
The Golden State is squarely in everyone’s crosshairs where sports betting is concerned. If California legalizes, it will be even bigger news than New York was, and could open the floodgates for practically everyone else to follow. Sports betting is going to be one of the big talking points in the run-up to this November’s elections, and the politicians are already starting to nail their colors to the mast. There will likely be two proposals, one relating to gambling on tribal lands and a more general one on commercial gambling.
Massachusetts would be considered another of the big dominos and is now looking increasingly like it is out on a limb in New England. Gambling legislation has been debated ad nauseum, and realistically, it is now a question of when not if. The Governor has been clear about the fact that he wants it to happen and there is general cross-party support. All that stands in the way is debate over certain restrictions that advocates want to have struck out, so there is more discussion ahead. Still, legalization within the next 12 months is a viable aim.
Unlike Massachusetts, South Carolina has the legislation at the ready but a governor who has been outspoken in his opposition to sports betting. The bill, and the will, has wide support, however, and McMaster’s main democratic rival is in favor. Don’t be surprised to see the incumbent having a rethink and softening his stance on the sports betting question as November election time draws gradually closer.