Bill Speros is an award-winning journalist and editor whose career includes stops at USA Today Sports Network / Golfweek, Cox Media, ESPN, Orlando Sentinel and Denver Post.
He is currently a Senior Analyst and sports betting expert, via the Tampa Bay Times, for Gambling.Com Group's sports-betting platforms in the United States, including Bookies.com. His GDC content is syndicated nationally via McClatchy. He focuses on data-driven trends, analysis and offers a perspective not seen elsewhere.
Saturday marked four years since the Supreme Court cleared the way for legal sports betting to spread across the United States. Which states will be next to add sports wagering? Several states are in the process of trying to legalize the practice, or have already given it the green light but are waiting to implement sports betting.
On Thursday, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly signed a bill that legalized sports betting in Kansas. Betting could begin as soon as September. That makes Kansas the 31st state in the nation to allow legal wagering on various sporting events. The money raised will be used by the state to lure professional teams to Kansas, including the Kansas City Chiefs, who play their home games in Missouri. The bill also allows Kansas to potentially profit off bettors in Missouri, which failed to advance sports betting legislation again this year.
The Supreme Court ruling in the case of Murphy vs. NCAA, handed down on May 14, 2018, overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which had prohibited legal sports betting throughout most of the United States starting in 1992.
Once PASPA was overturned, New Jersey began taking wagers almost immediately. Soon the state cleared the way for online betting. Other states, including Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, soon followed. As legal sports betting enters its fifth year of national legality, 31 states plus the District of Columbia have live and legal sports betting.
Here is a look at our hypothetical odds on when bettors in each of these states will be able to make legal online wagers. Some states have legalized sports betting but have yet to implement it and some have implemented it in-person only.
As noted above, Gov. Kelly on Thursday put pen to paper on a bill that legalizes sports betting in Kansas. The hope now is the state will act fast and be ready to go for the start of the NFL season, which begins when the Super Bowl champion L.A. Rams host the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 8.
State lawmakers in Kansas have said the law will go into effect on July 1, putting the state on track to meet that goal. The bill's passage gives the Sunflower State an edge over neighbor and rival Missouri, which once again failed to pass sports betting legislation in its most recent session.
Currently, sports bettors can place in-person wagers in Maryland at brick-and-mortar sites, including at several casinos. But online sports betting in Maryland remains something that won’t happen until after the start of the NFL season. Bettors in Virginia and Washington D.C. can wager online. That should help Maryland speed up its mobile betting infrastructure.
In-person sports betting is legal inside casinos on tribal lands in North Carolina. Statewide mobile wagering was allowed in a bill passed by the state Senate in April. The North Carolina sports betting bill is expected to pass the house when its session resumes on May 18.
Sports betting was approved and signed into law in late 2021. But Ohio sports betting fans in the Buckeye State, home of two NFL and two MLB teams, have yet to wager because of delays in setting up the betting infrastructure. The law dictates that betting must begin by Jan.1, 2023. Ohio is surrounded by states that have legal sports betting, including Indiana and Pennsylvania.
The state's House approved a bill on Thursday that would legalize both in-person and mobile sports betting. That is the good news for Minnesota sports betting supporters. But major differences remain between the House bill and the current proposal up for consideration in the state Senate. The legislative session will break for the summer in two weeks. It is unlikely both sides agree on a compromise bill before that time.
Both the Massachusetts state House and Senate have passed bills that would allow sports betting in the Bay State. But significant differences remain, including the amount of money in taxes raised by the state and the legality of betting on college and amateur events. Both bodies are dominated by Democrats.
While there is general agreement among enough legislators that the time for sports betting in Massachusetts has long since passed, there remains multiple competing interests and agendas. Here is a look at several elements in the House and Senate sports betting bills in Massachusetts.
Where Things Stand On Beacon Hill
A conference committee of three members from each body of the General Court will have to come up with a compromise bill and get it to Gov. Charlie Baker by July 31, when the session ends. Baker, a lame-duck Republican, has said he will sign any betting bill that reaches his desk.
Most sports-crazed residents of Massachusetts over 21 are less than one hour away from a state with legal, mobile betting. Four states that border Massachusetts – New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire – allow legal sports wagering.
Maine became the first state in 2022 to legalize sports betting on May 2. Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill into law that granted four mobile betting licenses to the federally recognized Native American tribes in the state and allowed in-person betting at casinos, retail sports books and OTB sites. Those tribes will likely partner with current providers to operate their mobile books.
The only state that borders Maine, New Hampshire, currently allows mobile sports betting. Maine became the fourth of the six New England states to allow sports betting.
Among the providers expected to be operating in Maine via the tribes: DraftKings, FanDuel, Barstool-Penn and BetMGM. DraftKings, which is based in nearby Boston, and FanDuel operate DFS platforms in Maine. Barstool-Penn owns the largest casino in Maine. And BetMGM has a major casino in Massachusetts and aggressively seeks new markets. While there are no major-league teams in Maine, it is an integral part of the fan base for the Boston Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins and New England Patriots.
Florida remains the only state to have commenced legal sports betting, only to see it taken away by the courts. For 34 days in 2021, Florida sports betting fans were allowed to legally wager on pro and college sports in the Sunshine State via the Hard Rock Sportsbook app and at the Seminole Tribe’s casinos. But the gaming compact that allowed the practice was tossed out by a federal judge in November.
U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled that the “hub and spoke” state-wide sports betting provision violated the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act because betting occurred off Indian property. The case now rests in the U.S. District Court of Appeals. Legislators in Florida won’t consider a new compact with the Seminole Tribe until the current case is decided. Any new compact would not include mobile wagering off Indian lands or casinos.
Sports betting was initially approved when Nebraska voters passed three constitutional amendments in November of 2020 that allowed wagering on “all games of chance” at the state’s horse racing sites, racinos and on tribal lands. The legislation was signed into law by Gov. Pete Ricketts in May 2021. Betting on Nebraska collegiate teams is prohibited. There is no firm date for when betting will begin, and the process has taken longer than most expected.
On-site sports betting began in the Badger State in November of 2021. It remains limited to tribal casinos. There remains little legislation or political will to allow mobile betting any time soon.
The Golden State holds the Golden Ticket for the growth of sports betting in the United States. California is the nation’s most-populous state. But don’t expect sports betting apps to be available there any time soon. A ballot initiative that would allow sportsbooks on tribal lands and at certain horse tracks will be in front of voters in November. These sites are mostly in remote areas. Mobile betting in California remains a far-off dream for bettors and books alike. Given the amount of money at stake for both the state and the books themselves, the push will continue.
Texas seriously flirted with legal sports betting during its 2021 legislative session, but partisan squabbling over non-related issues scuttled its chances. The Texas legislature only meets in odd-numbered years, so there will be no sports betting in Texas until at least 2023.
There was bipartisan support and opposition to sports betting. The make-up of the legislature could be different next year given that this is an election year for both it and the governor. Current Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick oppose any gambling expansion. In Texas, the lieutenant governor is also president of the state Senate and determines what bills go to the floor.