Since the Supreme Court repealed PASPA in 2018, there has been consistent efforts to expand sports betting as state legislators and operators alike seek to take advantage of a fast-growing market.
2022 has been no different, with three states managing to put pen to paper on bills to bring sports betting to their players. Legislators in Maine, Kansas and Massachusetts managed to put their differences aside to reach legalization, whilst some states were not so fortunate.
Join us at SBC Americas as we look back at some of the biggest legislative efforts to expand US sports betting in 2022.
Maine’s sports betting bill was signed into law by Governor Janet Mills in May, two-and-a-half years after a veto prevented the state from legalizing it.
Bill LD 585 is unique in that it gives tribes the exclusive right to provide online wagering, whilst casinos can provide in-person sports betting. Tribes can choose to operate their own sportsbook or sign an agreement with any of the large sportsbook operators.
Designed to give tribes greater sovereignty and negotiated with the Wakambi Nations, the bill offers a tax rate of just 10% put in place for operators with a four-year mobile deal constant of just $200,000.
Despite the bill being signed over six months ago, sports betting has not yet launched in Maine, with many hoping for a launch by mid-2023.
It was a long road to bring sports betting to Kansas, with a long-running debate between the House and the Senate almost bringing the bill to its knees on several occasions.
A key battle was over the Kansas City Chiefs, with a proposal to move the NFL franchise from Missouri to Kansas almost scuppering the bill.
Despite the Kansas House of Representatives passing the bill 63-50, a lack of consideration for the fund in the language of the bill over recent months and years has caused some to view it as a tool to lure the Missouri-based franchise to Kansas.
However, those issues were overcome, and Governor Laura Kelly enshrined bill SB84 into law allowing both retail and online sports betting to enter the Sunflower State for the first time.
Imposing a 10% tax rate, the market went live on Sep 1, with major operators such as FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, and BetMGM all securing licenses in time for the NFL season kickoff.
Massachusetts’ sports betting legalization was a long, arduous process. Much of the last house session was spent quarreling over the legality of collegiate sports betting, which almost killed the bill entirely.
Both the House and the Senate passed bills, however, the issue of collegiate sports betting divided the two chambers, meaning that debating went long into the early hours of Aug 1, when the house session ended on July 31, to enshrine the bill into law and become state number 36 to legalize sports betting.
It took a compromise, but Massachusetts’ sports betting law stipulates a tax rate of 15% on retail sports betting and 20% for online sports betting. Meanwhile, the bill banned in-state college betting, except for when those teams are in a collegiate tournament.
The state is yet to go live, with the MGC currently going through the process of handing out licenses to untethered operators. The market is anticipated to open in late Jan 2023, just in time for the Super Bowl.
In the eyes of many, the process to bring sports betting to California has been no less than one huge mess.
Split into two camps – Prop 26 which would have given control of sports betting to the Tribes and racetrack, and Prop 27, which would have allowed online and mobile sports betting in California, with the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel waiting in the wings – over $600m was splint on campaigning efforts from both sides.
Despite the astronomical spending, neither proposition gained many friends, instead managing to unite both the Democrats and Republicans in rejecting both bills.
By the time the elections came round, almost everyone was against sports betting in the state, with the final vote showing that neither proposition had even 30% support.
Moving forward, many hope that California will go back into its corner and return for another try in 2024.
Fanatics VP of Government Affairs Brandt Iden told SBC Americas: “I’m hopeful and optimistic that the commercials and the tribes will maybe sit down and try to figure it out that this can be done legislatively.
“But it will take a compromise like we’ve seen in Michigan, Arizona, Connecticut, where tribes and commercials have been able to work together. It would be really disappointing to see us go back to the ballot and 2024 and spend another almost half a billion dollars, if not more, on another fight.”