Several States To Leave Sports Betting Out To Dry

USA flag on football field

This is a very important time of year for states. It is the time when legislative sessions come to a close and all pressing matters are dealt with. For those states pursuing legal sports betting, this is the time for something major to happen. If not, these states will need to wait a year before anything can happen.

West Virginia, Indiana, Mississippi, Maryland and Kentucky have already adjourned for the year. West Virginia successfully passed a sports betting bill and are ready to launch pending the outcome of the New Jersey SCOTUS case (which will resolve the PASPA dilemma). West Virginia also set a precedent for other states to follow. Indiana has a chance to pass something with a special session (sort of like extended time), but this may not happen.

If the PASPA case is resolved before the special session begins Indiana could have a chance. Mississippi and Maryland are dead in the water right now. Mississippi claims they can launch sports betting, but they are relying on previous legislation that may be called into question in the event they try to do so. Kentucky has addressed sports betting before over the last 2 years but has nothing to show for it.

Several other states face the end of their legislative sessions soon. These include Iowa (April 17), Iowa (April 17), Kansas (can introduce sports betting through veto session starting April 26), Connecticut (May 9), South Carolina (May 10), Missouri (May 18), Oklahoma (May 25), Louisiana (June 4) and Rhode Island (June 30). Some of these states have yet to even begin preliminary discussions regarding sports betting. Oklahoma decided to remove any sports betting language from a current bill, meaning they are wanting to take a step back.

Iowa has a House bill, but their time is up. Kansas is an interesting case where lawmakers held debates on the matter. Now it appears they will hold off on sports betting, however it could be brought up again during their veto session. Connecticut is arguably the closest state to passing, but now they have stalled and don’t look to be making any moves towards getting something done. Missouri has a total of 6 sports betting bills on the docket and with the time they have left it could mean they make some progress on one of those bills.

The endearing thing about the Mountaineer State is they denied the major sports leagues their wishes regarding sports gambling. The MLB and NBA have been pushing for certain things and West Virginia refused to appease them. Now, with the legislative sessions coming to end, the leagues have more time to work their way into states and make their version of sports gambling seem more attractive. By the time the new sessions roll around it is possible other leagues like the NFL and NHL will have joined the crusade. If this happens, states may lose their negotiating power. It will be harder to repeat what West Virginia did.

In any case, legal sports betting looms on the horizon. Both brick-and-mortar and US based betting options will be born out of this SCOTUS decision. For those states who got their legislation passed early, they’ll be the pioneers. All other states will bide their time and take note of what they can do to make something happen.