2020 Election Leaves No Doubt About Future Of Expanded US Gambling

poker player showing four aces at table with poker chips

As the dust settles around the 2020 US Presidential election, one of the most concrete, no-doubt outcomes of this cycle is that the gambling industry saw a big mandate play out in favor of expanded gaming.

Five states – Colorado, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, and South Dakota – all had gambling measures on their ballots, and each one passed by a healthy margin.

While none of the amendments in question will directly legalize US online gambling (aka iGaming) in these states, the push to expand the industry is in high gear, and online access is the logical conclusion.

It will likely still be several years before residents of the aforementioned states will be able to play their favorite real-money casino games online, but as the public grows more accepting of legal gambling, that future isn’t as far off as it seemed just a year or two ago.

To learn what was passed and how it affects the online gambling market in the United States, we’ve broken down each ballot resolution with a brief overview of what you can expect if you live in CO, LA, MD, NE, or SD.

Colorado Gambling Ballot Measures – Amendment C, Amendment 77

Colorado Amendment C, which passed by the narrowest margin of all gaming measures in 2020 (51.9% to 48.1%), reduces limitations on charitable gambling.

The resolution, called the “Charitable Bingo and Raffle Amendment,” allows charitable organizations in the state to host Class II-style gaming after any given organization has been in operation for three consecutive years.

The previous mandate restricted their access to these games for their first five years of operation.

Additionally, Amendment C allows such organizations to hire gaming attendants to oversee the amusements, provided they make no more than the state minimum wage. These positions were previously staffed solely by volunteers.

Colorado Amendment 77 is a broader gaming measure, allowing the state to increase single-wager maximum bets at casinos in Black Hawk, Central, and Cripple Creek.

These venues can also add more games to their repertoires, which were previously limited to slots, blackjack, roulette, craps, and poker.

However, to gamble at these venues, you still have to be 21+, and there is no online component as yet.

In order to game at 18 and up over the Internet, offshore US casino sites are still legal for CO residents to use, and those will continue to be your best and most convenient options for the foreseeable future.

Louisiana Gambling Ballot Measures – Act 215

In LA, sports betting was previously legalized via the passage of the “Proposition to Authorize Sports Wagering Activities.”

However, this act did not immediately allow for statewide sports betting. Instead, it provided a framework for the election whereby each Louisiana parish would vote independently on whether or not they would allow sports wagering within their own districts.

Fifty-six of the 64 parishes in the state voted yes, while just eight voted no.

For brevity’s sake, the following parishes are those where sports betting will not be offered domestically:

• Caldwell
• Catahoula
• Franklin
• LaSalle
• Sabine
• Union
• West Carroll
• Winn

Sports wagering will be available in all other LA parishes, though the timelines for that availability will vary.

In the meantime, if you want to immediately bet on sports legally, you can do so at any of the best US-friendly online sportsbooks operating outside of US jurisdiction.

These remain safe and legal to use, and that won’t change anytime soon.

Maryland Gambling Ballot Measures – Question 2

Maryland Question 2 passed by a wide margin, 66.5% to 33.5%. This amendment gives the Maryland Lottery the ability to institute and oversee sports betting in the state.

Those entities allowed to host sports wagering are limited to retailers operating video lottery terminals and horse racing betting venues.

There is no provision for online sports betting in the amendment itself, but it seems likely that the state – now tasked with crafting legislation to regulate the industry – will allow online sports wagering options.

It is also likely that the minimum age to bet on sports in MD will be 18-plus.

That said, it’s important to note that nothing in the ballot measure makes it a crime to use legally licensed offshore sports betting sites for those living in the state, and given MD’s proximity to major sports teams, these overseas books will almost always have better betting lines to choose from going forward.

Nebraska Gambling Ballot Measures – Initiatives 429, 430, 431

Technically, Nebraska had three separate amendments up for the vote in 2020, though they’re all basically saying the same thing, and all three passed by better than 30 points.

The long and the short of it – without getting into each Initiative’s minutiae – is that horse racing venues in NE will soon be able to offer proper casino games (blackjack, roulette, craps, etc.) in addition to the horse racing betting and bingo already on offer.

Again, there is no online component here, but there’s also nothing in these amendments that criminalizes playing offshore casino games for real money at the most reputable international US-centric gambling sites.

South Dakota Gambling Ballot Measure – Amendment B

South Dakota Amendment B garnered favor from state voters by a wide margin (58.5% to 41.5%).

This amendment – called the “Deadwood Sports Betting Legalization Amendment” – allows the tourist destination of Deadwood to host on-site sports betting within the city limits at gambling houses already in operation.

All of the tax revenues from sports betting in SD are earmarked exclusively for the Historic Restoration and Preservation of Deadwood Fund, which will help the area substantially.

Of course, South Dakota is sparsely populated, and per the amendment, online sports betting does not seem to be on the table quite yet.

But if you live in SD and can’t make it to Deadwood to place live bets on your favorite sports, you can still do so legally and safely with any reputable overseas sportsbook.

As you can see, none of these amendments explicitly allows for either online casino gambling or online sports betting, but the writing’s on the wall for both markets to expand to the Internet in due time.

While you may always get more games to choose from – and more sports to bet on (with more favorable odds to boot) – when wagering with offshore USA betting sites, the simple fact that a majority of residents in these states support expanded gaming is very good news.

As online components go live in these states in the years to come, we’ll cover each relevant development so you’ll always know where to place your wagers to get the most bang for buck.

Source: Associated Press