Sports betting fans in Louisiana, Maryland, and South Dakota have plenty to celebrate this month. The 2020 US election resulted in a comfortable victory for those advocating that sports betting be made legal in all three states. It’s not clear yet whether both offline and online sports betting will be permitted. But what we do know is that from 2021, sports fans in Louisiana, Maryland, and South Dakota will be able to place a bet on a sporting event without having to leave their state in order to do so.
25 and Counting
Compared to other notable gambling hubs, like the UK and Germany, America still has a long way to go before sports betting is available to the whole population. As it stands, sports betting is now legal in 25 states, but only active in 19 states, and each state has its own rules regarding how and where a sports fan can place a sports bet. The 6 remaining states: Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, Louisiana, Maryland, and South Dakota, plus Washington DC, have legalized sports betting but haven’t yet begun to offer sports betting to the public.
Online or Offline?
Online sports betting is still a hotly contested topic, with many groups still advocating for a complete ban. In the State of New York, for example, sports betting was legalized in 2019, but it is strictly limited to specific land-based casinos and betting on college football is not permitted. Punters still have to head to neighboring New Jersey to make online bets. In Europe, on the other hand, online sportsbooks are usually offered as a legitimate arm of an online casino, and punters can easily switch from sports betting to table games – you can find them on this link to get a better idea of how it works – hoperfully online casinos in the US will be allowed to follow suit.
The election day wins in South Dakota, Louisiana, and Maryland will bring hope to sports betting advocates in Nebraska, Kansas, Hawaii, Vermont, Ohio, and Massachusetts. These states all have bills put forward that need legislative approval. But unfortunately, there are no guarantees. Bills put forward to legalize sports betting in Alabama, Missouri, Wyoming, Kentucky, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Connecticut, Minnesota, and Alaska all failed to pass.
State by State
Anyone feeling frustrated about the slow speed at which the American betting market is opening up should keep in mind that it has only been two years since the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was overturned. Prior to May 2018, sports betting opportunities could only be found in Nevada. Thanks to the US Supreme Court, it is now in the hands of each state to decide whether or not to open up the sports betting market. Many state legislators are pushing for sports betting to be legalized because they are highly aware that the potential revenue associated with sports betting could inject a much-need boost to the economy of the state. Several betting companies have already seen the value of the stock climb in the stock market since the 2020 election.
Let’s take a closer look at the three states where sports betting has just become legal. We’ll start with Louisiana. The question on the Louisiana ballot was as follows: “Shall sports wagering activities and operations be permitted in the parish of (name)?” Rather than a state-wide vote, the residents of Louisiana voted on whether or not to legalize sports betting in their own parish. Of the 64 parishes in Louisiana, 55 voted in favor of sports betting.
In Maryland, the ballot question looked like this: “Do you approve the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland to authorize sports and events betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education?” The answer to this question was a resounding yes from all of the 24 districts in Maryland. With a new NFL stadium on the horizon, many will be cheering this win and looking forward to the day they can place a bet on the way in to watch a game.
In South Dakota, the Ballot Question was posed as follows: “Authorize sports wagering activities in Deadwood?” Rather than open up sports betting to the entire state, the ballot question for South Dakota focuses deliberately on Deadwood due to the fact that gambling in the state is already restricted to Deadwood’s city limits and the tribal casinos in the area. The vote for sports betting was won by an incontestable majority. Online sports betting however, is unlikely to open up in South Dakota. But at least sports fans will now have the option of heading to one of the casinos in Deadwood if they want to place a bet on a sporting event.