We have watched regulated sports betting sweep across the country like wildfire. The US Supreme Court decided just over four years ago that the decision to allow sports wagers was a States Rights issue, and in that time over half of them have decided to legalize the activity. Just this month, Maine sports betting became the 34th market in the nation. Then a few weeks later, sports betting in Kansas followed as the 35th. This naturally makes us wonder (and probably many of you) about which states will be the next to have regulated sports betting. Maybe even this year!
For the purposes of this article, we will focus just only on those states that could realistically legalize the activity in 2022. States that have already missed their opportunity, such as Minnesota and Texas, have been ignored. Also not included are states where sports betting has been passed but not launched, such as Ohio and Nebraska. We also left out Florida, who passed sports betting but is now mired in legal issues. And remember: Just because a state passes legislation doesn’t mean the path to legal bets is clear. Politics usually get in the way.
There are four states where legislation still has a chance this year. Those would be Alaska, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and California. However, legislators in Alaska have little to no interest in pushing a bill forward this year, and as we mentioned above Minnesota has already missed out as there is no time left in 2022 to resolve the issues that still stand in the way of passing a meaningful law. So, let’s focus on the only two possibilities… even though they are long shots.
First up it’s Massachusetts, where politics reign supreme. There was a time a few years ago when even the governor believed betting on sports would get done sooner rather than later. Since that time, both the state House and Senate have passed bills for regulated sports betting. Yet, a gulf of problems still stand in between. Taxes are always an issue, and the money raised by those taxes can also be an issue. Also at stake, whether or not to allow betting on college sports. With so many competing interests, this may not come together for another year.
Another state with a lot of potential and a lot of problems is California. We know that at least two options for regulated sports betting will be on this November’s ballot. But even if voters pass one or the other, you can bet that a lot of legal wrangling will complicate things. In fact, even if sports bets were to become “legal” in California, it may be years before citizens can actually place a bet locally. Thank goodness Las Vegas is within driving distance!