Since the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, legal online sports betting has grown significantly. Before the PASPA was repealed, Nevada was the only state in the US with legal sports betting. With the PASPA gone, states had the right to legalize sports betting. In the four years since, over half of the states in the country have passed legislation for legal sports betting. Many states also allow online sports gambling through their websites or mobile applications.
While there is already a very exciting online sports betting market in the US, experts and bettors are always looking for the next big launch. So which states could be next in line for legalization? Maryland, Ohio, Kentucky, Florida, Massachusetts, Texas, and California are all states where sports gambling is not legalized yet or not completely legalized. We’ve taken a look at the current situation in these states to see what the future of online sports betting could look like across the US.
Sports betting in Maryland was put on the ballot with a simple yes/no choice in 2020. With a 67% yes rate, the state legislature moved forward to legalize online and retail sports wagering in April 2021 with HB 940. This allowed several retail sportsbooks to open in December 2021.
The problem has been that while legal sports betting has launched, Maryland’s regulations have slowed down online sportsbooks from going live. Experts predict that online sports betting won’t be available until late 2022 but possibly not until 2023.
With two major professional teams, the Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore Orioles, and a power five college team, the Maryland Terrapins, legal sports betting should be very popular among Maryland residents.
Legal sports betting came close to legalization in 2020, but the Ohio Senate proposed too many changes to the initial bill. Another attempt was made to legalize sports betting in the summer of 2021 but once again came up short. However, HB 29 was passed by the legislative branches of Ohio and was signed soon after by Gov. Mike Dewine in December of 2021.
With HB 29 now in law, sports betting is legal in Ohio. It is just a matter of setting up the regulatory process in the state to allow for sportsbooks to start operating online and in person. The Ohio Casino Control Commission is in charge of setting up the regulations for the state. A deadline was set to have legal sports betting ready to go by January 1st, 2023, but it could happen sooner.
Ohio boasts many professional sports teams, with the Cleveland Browns, the Cincinnati Bengals, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Cavaliers, Columbus Blue Jackets, many college teams, and power five team Ohio State. Once legal sports betting is available, Ohio residents will have no shortage of options for local bets.
Legal retail sports betting and online sports betting have yet to see much progress in Kentucky. There have been several bills introduced to the state’s legislature in the past, with Rep. Adam Koeing’s bill coming the closest, but there has yet to be one that had enough support to make it to the governor’s desk.
HB 606 is currently being discussed by the state’s legislatures. Still, it remains to be seen if it has enough favor to pass the state’s representatives as many have anti-betting sentiments among that state’s legislature.
While Kentucky does not have any major professional sports teams, it boasts two prominent colleges in the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky. There is also the world-famous Churchill Downs Racetrack for horse racing. There is plenty of reason to believe sports betting would have lots of success in the state.
Legal sports betting in Florida has a complicated history and actually had legal online sports betting at one point. Due to several court hearings, Hard Rock pulled its sportsbook app on December 4, 2021, so the app was only live for one month before being removed. Hard Rock had launched following agreements with the Seminole Tribe. The Seminole Tribe is currently filing appeals to many of those court rulings.
FanDuel and DraftKings are also making a play to get sports betting legal in the state. The two companies have collaborated on a ballot initiative that may feature on the Ballot in November 2022. If it gets on the ballot and passes, sports gambling will likely be available in 2023.
With double-digit professional sports teams in the state and multiple power colleges, there is every reason to believe sports gambling in Florida would be incredibly successful.
Sports betting is not legal in Massachusetts at the moment. Two different bills, H3993 and S269, both looked promising in 2021. Unfortunately, both bills couldn’t pass, even after the legislative houses passed one.
There is some hope that legal online sports betting could happen soon as any prominent lawmakers have publicly supported legal sports betting. Massachusetts’ Gov. Charlie Baker has also said that he would happily sign it if a bill reached his desk.
While Massachusetts does not have many prominent college teams, it boasts some of the most successful professional franchises of any state. The New England Patriots, the Boston Red Sox, and countless others play in the Bay State. Many state residents have dubbed the capital Boston, where all its professional teams reside, the city of champions. With that, the potential for a very successful legal betting market is there.
Texas has had many discussions about legalizing sports wagering throughout the last four years, but nothing has ever come to fruition. HB 2070, SB 736, and HB 1121 were all discussed in 2021, but nothing ever came of the big legislative push.
There are no bills or other ballot measures on the horizon to legalize online sports betting in Texas. However, many professional teams in the state, like the Dallas Cowboys, are strong supporters of online sports betting.
Being the second most populated state in the US, Texas would immediately become one of the largest legal online sports betting states if wagering was legalized. With two MLB teams, two NFL teams, one NHL, three NBA teams, and many more major college teams, very few states can rival Texas for sports fans.
There is no legal sports betting in California at the moment, but there have been multiple legislative attempts to get sports betting legal. These have included tribal initiatives and the failures of SCA – 6 in 2019 and ACA -16 in 2019.
Several ballot measures are up for possible addition to the next election. A tribal initiative is due to go to the ballot in November 2022. Three other initiatives are also trying to get on the ballot. Sports betting would be legal in California relatively quickly if any passed on the ballot.
As one of the largest states in the country, California has more major professional sports franchises and colleges than any other state. There is a solid argument that California would have the most lucrative betting market in the entire country if legal retail sports betting or online sports betting were to become legalized.