New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Mississippi and Connecticut have sports betting bills in place
It is widely expected that the Supreme Court will soon vote in favor of New Jersey and Chris Christie in the state's appeal to overturn PASPA (a decision likely by June) and begin to offer sports betting. The only real question is whether it will be a full repeal of PASPA or whether it will be something less.
Analysts I spoke to believe the Supreme Court will not want to step on individual states' rights, so they will be more inclined to simply repeal the existing law and leave it up to the states individually to decide what is best for them. Just creating a new federal law makes little sense. These four states have already passed sports betting bills and New Jersey recently announced that they are in the beginning stages of acccepting applications for businesses and individuals seeking to enter the NJ gambling market.
Here is a breakdown of the four states and there readiness to start taking sports bets . . . if the Supreme Court does overturn PASPA.
Bill: HB 6948
Sponsor: House of Representatives Planning and Development Committee
Signed by Governor: July 10, 2017
Connecticut is ripe with gambling, which includes two large tribal casinos (Foxwoods an Mohegan Sun), a state lottery, horse racing, greyhound racing and jai alai. Connecticut is one of 5 states to have already passed a bill to offer sports wagering if the Supreme Court overturns PASPA, as Governor Malloy signed the bill, H 6948 almost immediately. The bill doesn't go into great details although it asks for sports betting to be offered at the horse racing facitliites. The location of Connecticut leaves the state no real choice but to allow sports betting since all surrounding states plan to legalize sports betting as well. The only question seems to be at which facilities it will be offered and how it will be taxed. A bill has been introduced in the state to legalize DFS although it is still pending.
Bill: MS HB 967
Sponsor: 4 Republican and 2 Democrat House Representatives
Signed by Governor: March 13, 2017
Mississippi is a conundrum. The state has no lottery and no horse racing, the two most common forms of gambling in the U.S. But the state has numerous casinos, including commercial and Tribal, and it was one of the first states to legalize DFS. Ironically the language of that DFS bill also allows the state to offer sports betting if PASPA is repealed. So, in better words Mississippi already has a bill to allow for sports betting. Actually, the bill didn't legalize sports betting per se, it just took out a passage in the law that prohibited it. Mississippi was also one of 20 states to submit an amicus brief in favor of New Jersey. So, it seems clear that Mississippi will have sports betting at some point,, although the timeline for that is uncertain.
Sponsor: Sen. Ray Lesniak
Signed by Governor: January 12, 2012
If PASPA is overturned American voters can thank New Jersey and legislators like Ray Lesniak. New Jersey has had casinos off and on for decades in Atlantic City and in the 1980s built the city around boardwalk casinos. Because of the casinos New Jersey was given the option to opt into PASPA, but they didn't reply in time and consequently were banned from offering sports betting for good. There was no issue until the recent recession and New Jersey decided it wanted to introduce sports betting at the casinos and racetracks to help boost attendance and revenue. The state held a referendum which passed with 65% support and Governor Chris Christie signed the sports betting bill into law. The sports leagues sued New Jersey and the district court told New Jersey they couldn't offer sports betting due to PASPA. New Jersey appealed that decision and were shot down, but on a second appeal, SCOTUS decided it wanted to hear New Jersey's arguments, which it did in December 2017. Indications from the hearing are that SCOTUS will likely side with New Jersey. It's for this reason many states now are gearing to offer sports betting in their states.
Bill: HB 271
Sponsor: Rep. Jason Ortitay
Signed by Governor: October 30, 2017
Gambling opportunities are rife in Pennsylvania. Aside from the lottery and numerous horse racing tracks in the Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Erie areas, the state keeps building new casinos both commercial and at the race tracks. The state has put forward a bill to consider the legalization of DFS and they have passed a sports betting bill. The bill was singed into law by Governor Tom Wolf in October of 2017. The bill authorizes any place with slot machines to offer sports betting at a license fee of $10 million and there is a call for a 36% tax on sports betting revenue. Most pundits consider the fee and tax ridiculous and it is doubtful many casinos will opt in, thus requiring a change to the percentage. The law will also authorize online sports betting in conjunction with an online gambling bill that was recently passed.
For a complete look at all 50 states and their stance and readiness for sports betting, click here.
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