Players want to know when the can start betting on sports in their state
The buzz started mid-morning, almost as soon as we opened for business, with emails, chats and calls to the OSGA toll-free hotline and by afternoon, the questions about sports betting in the U.S came fast and furious. And the big the question on everyone’s mind? “When I can start betting on sports?”
After Monday’s announcement from the Supreme Court that PASPA was dead, the news of regulated, legal sports betting in the United States spread like wildfire. Most players seemed to think that this news opened the floodgates for gambling on sporting events now, but in reality, it may be months, years or never at all for many states.
We do know that New Jersey will be the first state to offer single-game sports betting outside of Nevada. And they should be first. New Jersey spent years and millions fighting the good fight for legalized sports betting in the state. State Senators Lesniak, Whelan and others, as well as former Governor Christie, should all be commended. By Everyone. Because of their efforts and persistence, every state in the U.S. now has the ability to offer sports betting to its citizens. Now it’s just when and if the other 49 states will join in.
Dennis Drazin, chairman and CEO of Darby Development LLC, operators of Monmouth Park, has long been waiting for this, having been at the forefront back in 2012. He went so far as to partner the racetrack with international (and Vegas) betting giant William Hill to build out a sports betting ‘bar’ at Monmouth that will be converted in the coming weeks into Jersey’s first sportsbook. Drazin congratulated supporters at a May 14 press conference, “Their hard work will soon be rewarded, as will the people of New Jersey, who have supported sports betting for more than half a decade." Monmouth Park announced today that they will take their first sports bet on May 28th, Memorial Day.
So outside of NJ, “When I can start betting on sports (in my state)”? is still the top, and yet unanswered, question on players’ minds.
Connecticut, Delaware, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and West Virginia are the states that have either passed or are the furthest along in the process of passing laws to regulate sports betting. And, New York, Pennsylvania, Mississippi and West Virginia, appear ready to move forward with final legislation in the coming months. So, players in those states have some early hope.
Apparently, Mississippi can’t wait to get sports betting into their 30 land-based casinos anticipating that it will mean ‘tremendous things for the coast and state”. Pennsylvania is ready as well, but current bills have a prohibitive 34 percent tax on top of a 2 percent local share for sports wagers made in the state. So far New York has already legalized wagering at its commercial casinos but wants to expand it to other commercial and tribal gaming facilities in the state. And West Virginia is bogged down in their legislation over the sports betting integrity fee that the sports leagues have requested.
Delaware will most likely be the next state to offer single-game betting, partly due to their current parlay, lottery style NFL football wagering pools already in place. In addition, legislation allowing sports betting in the First State, passed in 2008, allows for any type of sports betting. Thus, the First State does not need addition approval from the General Assembly to add other sports, single game bets or proposition bets. Expect to see Delaware offering single-game betting sometime over the summer.
For the rest of the county. It’s wait and see, hold your horses and take a breath. The short list above may be able to be up and running by the NFL football season, barring any unforeseen challenges to state laws from anti-government, Tribal or league interests. Certainly, several states expect to offer sports betting sometime in 2018.
For the rest of the states, some will start operating in 2019 and as many as 30 states may eventually offer sports betting. But players need to keep in mind, that this change in the law, though exciting, will not alter the sports betting landscape in most states in 2018. Each state will have to enact laws, set regulations and then operators will have to get facilities ready to take sports bets. And in some other states where gambling is already frowned upon, like Utah and Hawaii, sports betting will most likely never arrive.
Stay tuned as we continue to examine what the changes in sports betting laws will mean for U.S. players.