Last Updated Oct 27, 2022, 6:41 AM
Weekly News - 05/07/2021
THIS WEEK IN LEGAL SPORTS BETTING
|Best US Sportsbooks · Weekly Update|
May 7th, 2021 Weekly Report
Legal sports betting news has been especially busy this week, with spring bringing some big moves.
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MISSOURI’S SPORTS BETTING BILL NOT GOING ANYWHERE
Senator Denny Hoskins will again miss the mark on getting sports betting legislation on the table in Missouri. His SB 98, which in the early days of 2021 seemed like it was gaining a good bit of momentum, is likely to die on the floor of the MO General Assembly.
Concerned parties still aren’t convinced that Missouri has the votes or the manpower to pull off a legalized sports betting framework. One of the main voices in that chorus is Mike Leara, leader of the Missouri Gaming Commission. Leara is on record saying that the MGC doesn’t have the staff to handle a more robust betting framework in the Show-Me State.
Meanwhile, Senator Hoskins continues to beat the drum for legal bets. In Missouri, there are physical casinos (borne out of old-style riverboat gaming, often on barges) and the lottery, which includes Video Lottery Terminals or VLTs. These VLTs in particular have an issue with “gray machine” gambling: essentially, unlicensed and illegal VLTs that are hard to regulate.
Illegal gambling is what Hoskins is trying to curb, and his disappointment was made known after the Senate failed to move his bill forward this week. “It seems the proliferation of illegal gaming in Missouri is (...) an outcome that is preferable to regulation”, the senator said on record. As the MO Senate’s session ends on May 14th and the bill was not moved forward for discussion this week, the signs point to the bill collapsing.
However, that’s not the end of the line for sports betting in Missouri: the ball is rolling, and support for a legal framework will only grow. Hoskins and others will continue to lead the charge to regulate and expand legal gambling in Missouri, but 2021 probably isn’t the year that it will happen.
ALABAMA’S CONTROVERSIAL WAGERING EXPANSION MOVES TO HOUSE
Let’s head down the river and through Mississippi to Alabama, one of the most notoriously conservative legislatures in the U.S.-- there isn’t even a state lottery. However, it’s a new century, and new sources of potential revenue are looking attractive all across the country. With the repeal of PASPA in 2018, yet another stream of potential revenue for states opened up, and even Alabama is attempting to get in on the practice of sports betting.
Most recently, Senate Bill 318 was proposed by three Republican senators in the Alabama Legislature. Initially lottery-only, the bill was amended to include sports wagering and retail casinos, passing 23-9 in mid-April. If the bill can pass the Alabama House by a three-fifths majority, it then goes to the voters-- all constitutional amendments must pass by more than a simple majority before going to the public for a final vote.
Unsurprisingly, there’s a lot of pushback on legalized betting and expanding gambling, and it’s from multiple sources. One of the more prominent opponents is the Alabama Citizens Action Program (ALCAP), a religious organization opposing gambling in the state. Their concerns are as you’d expect: executive director Joe Godfrey cites concerns about “online sports betting and all of the evil that will accompany such activity (such as increased crime rates, prostitution and human trafficking)”. Those claims haven’t been reinforced in other states with a legalized framework, but will still be considered by AL lawmakers.
Additionally, the constitutional amendment would effectively repeal a former law allowing for electronic bingo, which is one of the only sources of gambling revenue in the state. Electronic bingo machine operators aren’t happy with the law, but could potentially be amended to include the practice.
Proponents of the expanded gambling bill claim that a great deal of potentially taxable income is going over the border to Georgia with folks buying up lottery tickets there. The Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PCI) is interested in this bill, since it allows for the governor to renegotiate the tribe’s compact and grant them access to another source of wagering revenue.
The ability for tribes to conduct gaming on their own lands is federally protected, and if Alabama does move forward with an expanded gambling bill, the PCI and others must be given a seat at the discussion table. May 17th is the last session of the AL legislature for this year, so if the House doesn’t vote SB 318 forward, it’ll be another while before we see any mention of sports betting in the Yellowhammer State.
OHIO’S POTENTIAL BETTING BILL OFFERS 40 LICENSES, HAS MOMENTUM
Ohio Senator Kirk Schuring hit the ground running with his proposal for sports betting, and it’s looking like it just might see the light of legalization. On Thursday, the details were announced for Senate Bill 176, which has bipartisan support in the legislature and has a good chance of passing. The bill provides for two types of sports betting license at a cost of $1 million, with 10% of the revenue going to education in Ohio.
The so-called “Type A” licenses would go to existing facilities, most likely being awarded to the 11 racinos and casinos in the state and potentially extending to other interested parties with the ability to pay out their own prize winnings. Essentially, this refers to well-known national brands like FanDuel, DraftKings, whom could choose to partner with an existing gambling location in the Buckeye State.
“Type B” licenses could include physical locations at pro sporting venues like the Rocket Mortgaga FieldHouse, home to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Twenty of each type, A and B, will be made available in Ohio, so it’s likely to be one of the most competitive markets in the country. There hasn’t been a definitive movement with the bill just yet, but all signs point to sports betting coming to Ohio by the end of 2021.
CANADA REPEALS LAW PUNISHING SINGLE-GAME SPORTS BETTING
In a move similar to the 2018 overturning of the U.S. act barring sports wagering (PASPA), Canada voted on Wednesday to overturn a previous law forbidding single-game wagers. Previously, sports betting operators in Canada were only allowed to offer parlays, which you may already know are multiple-game wagers where your payout is determined by the overall odds of all your picks to win, not just the outcome of a single match.
Offshore operators were a notorious problem with the U.S.’ friendly northern neighbor. Canadians, instead of having limited access to bets, would instead sign on with offshore, illegal sportsbooks not based in the country.
Typically speaking, prosecutors go after the operators and not the users of these apps, so it was mostly flying under the radar: an offshore operator could smell trouble and simply close up shop without attracting too much attention from Canadian authorities. Then, they just rebrand their site and keep operating these notoriously unreliable services.
Now, with the passing of C-218, the Safe and Regulated Sports Betting Act, bettors in Canada can access a more wide and flexible range of available bet types, including single-game wagers. This act was passed with multiple intentions: not only to curb offshore gaming, but to bring in revenues comparable to those we’re seeing in the States.
Last step in the Canadian legislative process for the bill to become law is for it to receive Royal Assent, which is given not by the Queen of England, but instead by the Governor General or one of the Governor General’s deputies. It’s comparable to a governor’s signing a bill in the U.S., and is expected to happen by the end of the week. Congratulations, Canada: you just secured a ton more revenue for yourself while making a lot of bettors happy.
Written by Chris Altman, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert.
Chris Altman is a traveling writer and content expert with almost a decade of experience. In his spare time, he enjoys gardening, tinkering, and occasionally writes short stories about dogs and space. On a good day, you’ll find him slung over a laptop keyboard in whatever establishment has the best chicken wings.