The Future of Sports Betting Expansion Appears Uncertain After Reaching 38 States

by Madison Thomas
Sports Betting Expansion

In the comfort of his home near St. Louis, Brett Koenig often experiences the frustration of being unable to bet on sports using his smartphone due to Missouri’s ban on sports wagering. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision over five years ago allowing states to legalize it, Missouri remains among the 12 states where it’s still prohibited.

Koenig, advocating for legal sports betting in Missouri, has started a social media initiative named “Let MO Play.” Since 2018, states that have legalized sports betting have collectively earned over $4 billion in taxes from the $280 billion placed on sports bets. Vermont is set to join the list of states permitting sports betting starting January 11. However, the likelihood of further expansion in 2024 is questionable due to political challenges and conflicting interests among existing gambling entities.

Becca Giden, from the consulting firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming, notes that the remaining states face multiple barriers to legalizing sports betting. According to Chris Cylke of the American Gaming Association, the rapid expansion phase has slowed, with remaining states grappling with competing interests among stakeholders.

The states still prohibiting sports betting include Alabama, Alaska, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. California and Texas, being highly populous, represent significant markets for sports betting, yet their legalization in 2024 seems unlikely. California witnessed the rejection of two sports betting proposals in the previous year, amidst a record $463 million campaign, reflecting deep divisions among stakeholders. Meanwhile, Texas faces legislative and procedural hurdles, despite speculation of increased lobbying following the proposed sale of the Dallas Mavericks.

In Oklahoma, Governor Kevin Stitt’s proposal for in-person and online sports betting faces opposition from tribal groups. Minnesota might be closer to legalizing sports betting, needing a bipartisan Senate agreement amidst competing interests from tribal casinos and horse racing tracks.

Missouri’s efforts have been hindered by legislative disagreements, with around 80 lobbyists representing various interests in the state. The St. Louis Cardinals are part of a coalition pushing for a ballot initiative for sports betting. However, legislative and initiative prospects remain uncertain.

Interest in sports betting in Missouri is evident, with millions of location checks blocked from accessing mobile sports betting sites. Missourians often travel to neighboring states to place bets, as shown by data from GeoComply Solutions.

Georgia’s governor has shown openness to legalizing sports betting, but efforts stalled with the Senate’s rejection of a constitutional amendment. The state’s debate is complicated by the desire to legalize other forms of gambling alongside sports betting.

In Alabama, sports betting legalization also requires a constitutional amendment. Attempts to intertwine sports wagering with broader gambling expansion have not yet succeeded.

This evolving landscape of sports betting in the U.S. continues to be a complex interplay of legislative actions, public interest, and stakeholder negotiations.

Contribution from Kim Chandler of Big Big News, Montgomery, Alabama.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Sports Betting Expansion

Is Sports Betting Legal in All US States?

No, sports betting is not legal in all US states. As of the report, 12 states, including Missouri, Alabama, and California, still prohibit sports wagering, despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling over five years ago that allowed states to legalize it.

Why Hasn’t Missouri Legalized Sports Betting?

Missouri hasn’t legalized sports betting due to legislative disagreements and the presence of legally questionable slot-machine-style video games in the state. Efforts have been hindered by the need to pair sports betting legislation with the regulation of these video games.

What Are the Financial Benefits of Legalizing Sports Betting?

States that have legalized sports betting have reaped significant financial benefits, collectively earning over $4 billion in taxes from more than $280 billion wagered on sports since 2018. This indicates a substantial potential revenue source for states considering legalization.

What Are the Main Obstacles to Legalizing Sports Betting in Remaining States?

The main obstacles include political resistance, conflicts among existing gambling operators, and the interests of various stakeholders like tribal casinos, horse racing tracks, and online gaming companies. Each state faces unique challenges based on its legislative and gambling landscapes.

What Is the Status of Sports Betting in California and Texas?

In California, sports betting initiatives were defeated due to divisions among stakeholders. Texas faces legislative and procedural hurdles, making legalization in 2024 unlikely. Both states represent significant potential markets for sports betting.

How Does Public Interest in Sports Betting Manifest in States Where It’s Illegal?

In states where sports betting is illegal, like Missouri, there is significant public interest, as evidenced by millions of location checks from devices attempting to access mobile sports betting sites. Many residents travel to neighboring states where betting is legal to place their bets.

What Are the Prospects of Sports Betting Legalization in Georgia and Alabama?

In Georgia, legalization efforts stalled but may see progress in 2024 due to a well-funded lobbying effort. In Alabama, sports betting legalization requires a constitutional amendment, and efforts are intertwined with broader gambling expansion proposals, none of which have been successful yet.

More about Sports Betting Expansion

  • U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Sports Betting
  • Missouri Sports Betting Legislation
  • Financial Impact of Legal Sports Betting
  • California Sports Betting Initiatives
  • Texas Sports Betting Legalization Challenges
  • Public Interest in Sports Betting in Illegal States
  • Sports Betting Legalization in Georgia
  • Alabama Gambling Expansion Efforts

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GamblingGuru December 27, 2023 - 8:26 pm

good article, but it seems a bit too optimistic about Georgia, they’ve been dragging their feet for ages on this issue.

EconWatcher December 28, 2023 - 12:04 am

Solid analysis but I think it downplays the impact of tribal casinos in these debates, they’re a major player in states like California and Oklahoma.

BettyBoop89 December 28, 2023 - 1:03 am

I’m from Missouri and this is so frustrating! We’re missing out on so much fun and money, Why are we always behind the curve?

SportsFanatic101 December 28, 2023 - 4:49 am

California and Texas are big markets, it’s crazy they haven’t legalized yet. The potential revenue is huge!

Mike_47 December 28, 2023 - 6:14 am

interesting read, but kinda feels like there’s too much focus on the politics? like, what about the actual sports fans?

LegalEagle December 28, 2023 - 6:42 am

The legal aspects are well covered, but what about the ethical considerations? sports betting isn’t just about money, it has social impacts too.


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