Jul 01, 2021
Weekly News - 05/21/2021
THIS WEEK IN SPORTS BETTING
|Best US Sportsbooks · Weekly Update|
May 21st, 2021 Weekly Report
Legal sports betting news has been especially busy this week, with spring bringing some big moves.
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MARYLAND RAMPS UP SPORTS BETTING LEGALIZATION, LICENSING
HB 940 has been getting a lot of attention in Maryland in the past few months. THe House Bill has been amended quite a few times, and is one of the most focused and expansive sports betting bills seen in the U.S.
The bill is focused because it has had a great deal of attention from lawmakers, whom have amended the bill to make it more equitable. HB 940 is expansive because it offers 100 sports betting licenses, of which 60 are mobile licenses-- the most we’ve seen in a state so far.
In 2020, sports betting was being seriously considered in the Free State to the point that both the Legislative Black Caucus and the Maryland Departments of Transportation and the Lottery all took considerable effort to study and amend available legislation. Of these bills, HB 940 became the front runner, with language added not only to make Maryland the most competitive betting market in the U.S., but also granting special consideration to bringing in minority and female business owners.
In HB 940, now signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan, are provisions for grants for minority and female business owners in addition to hiring recommendations and goals to keep the sports betting scene equitable and accessible to all. House Speaker Adrienne Jones has lauded the bill for “(opening) up opportunities in the industry of sports betting to minorities and women”.
The law isn’t expected to take effect just yet, as there is a final period to allow Governor Hogan the last minute opportunity to veto bills and finalize details. However, everything is mostly in place, and we’re expecting Maryland to have access to betting by the time the NFL season begins in earnest in early September.
NEBRASKA’S BETTING BILL AMENDED, HEADED TO GOVERNOR
Nebraskans voted in 2020 to amend their constitution, supporting a legal and regulated sports betting framework in the state. However, the way this process works is as follows: voters agree to amend the constitution, then lawmakers have to put together a working framework for said amendment, which is signed into law. Nebraska seems to have finished with step two after some recent changes to the text of the front-running bill made it a bit easier to pass.
LB 561 is the bill on the way to Governor Pete Ricketts’ desk. The bill was able to pass the NE “Senate” since a recent change to the controversial bill added a ban on bets on in-state collegiate teams. (“Senate” is in quotes because Nebraska’s legislature is the only unicameral one in the country: having only one chamber, all members are called “senators”. The proper name for the body itself is simply the Nebraska Legislature.)
Famously, Warren Buffet himself has come out in support of the collegiate ban, and it looks like it will stand as LB 561 makes its way to Governor Ricketts. The governor has until June 2nd to sign or veto, with the expectation that he’ll probably sign.
Still, some lawmakers are unhappy with the current provisions of the bill: Nebraska, having no professional teams of its own, thrives on collegiate sports. Many argue that folks wanting to bet on college ball will simply hop over the border to Iowa or Colorado, leeching valuable revenue from the state. Whether the bill will get the OK, be amended in the future, or not pass will soon be decided.
LOUISIANA’S HOUSE BILL GETS APPROVAL, SENATE TO DECIDE ON SPORTS BETTING
There are three bills that need to pass in Louisiana before the Pelican State can go live with sports betting, one of which is the keystone to legalize the process. HB 697 gives the lottery the ability to offer sports betting, while SB 202 gives the Louisiana Gaming Control Board the ability to issue licenses and SB 142 giving authority and oversight to the LGCB and the state police. All three bills have to get approval in order for sports betting to become a reality in LA.
New Year’s Day, 2022 is the deadline for operators to apply for sports betting licenses under the framework established by HB 697. Not every parish will have access to legal bets if everything passes and is signed into law: only those parishes that voted to legalize sports betting in an earlier referendum will be able to get online with legal sports betting apps. This is going to be a logistical challenge for operators, as they’ve previously only had to track people’s location by state, not by county/parish lines.
Whether or not all three bills will make it through to the governor remains to be seen, but there is support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and a majority of the Louisiana public. Logistical challenges aside, it’s expected that sports betting should be live in LA sometime in 2022.
MASSACHUSETTS’ 2022 BUDGET LIKELY TO INCLUDE BETTING REVENUE
Massachusetts is feeling the pressure as states all throughout the northeast are getting on the legal sports betting bandwagon. They’ve been attempting to legalize sports betting in some form since around 2019, with Gov. Charlie Baker (R) himself sponsoring a bill to regulate wagering. Though bills are having some difficulty making their way through the MA General Court (which is the name for the legislative assembly in the state), there is still a chance for legalized sports betting in the Bay State.
The most recent beacon of hope on Beacon Hill comes in the form of the not-yet-finalized Fiscal Year Budget for 2022. Several amendments have been proposed to include sports betting legalization as a source of much-needed revenue for the commonwealth-- namely Amendment 713, which sets up a licensing structure and requirements to offer legal bets.
With vocal support from Governor Charlie Baker and a clear push from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to get sports betting on the books, it’s expected that we’ll see the practice go legal in MA by 2022. However, what that might look like remains to be seen, as there isn’t a single bill that’s been able to get enough support or discussion in the General Court to be a serious contender for actual legislation. Still, efforts from Senator Bruce E. Tarr and others continue, and we’re hoping for a fleshed-out betting framework to go live sometime next year.
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.