Last Updated Jul 27, 2021, 13:22 PM
Weekly News - 06/11/2021
THIS WEEK IN SPORTS BETTING
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June 11th, 2021 Weekly Report
Some surprising potential additions to the list of states with legal sports betting are in the mix, including North Carolina, Illinois, and Wyoming. It’s an exciting time for sports bettors all over the country as legislative sessions come to a close for the summer, and lawmakers scramble to put betting on the books and start raking in some much-needed tax revenue. In some cases we’re seeing states look to expand their existing sports wagering bills or get the process legalized for the first time.
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NORTH CAROLINA INCHES CLOSER TO LEGAL SPORTS BETTING
In 2019, NC voters said Yes when this question was presented through SB 154: should horse and sports wagering be allowed on tribal lands? Though the agreement was signed into law by Governor Roy Cooper, effectively allowing lawmakers to draft a sports betting bill, there’s a specific quirk to how tribal compacts work in this country that continued to delay sports wagering in the Tarheel State.
IGRA, or the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, authorizes states and federally recognized tribes to come to agreements regarding gambling: these agreements can be separate from state law. Typically, if a state wants to expand into the world of online sports betting, tribes are included in the deal, as gambling revenue is one of their most important federally protected resources. However, before tribal compacts can simply be amended and changed, the U.S. Department of the Interior has to have their say.
The EBCI (Eastern Bank of Cherokee Indians) in North Carolina secured approval from the Dept. of the Interior to offer sports betting in March 2021, almost 2 years after voters agreed to the practice. Now, lawmakers are attempting to get a framework passed before the NC session ends in July.
One representative has already pulled his bill (Representative Sains’ HB 631) in order to put the legislative momentum behind a companion bill in the Senate, SB 688. All signs point to the bill passing, but whether it can do so in time to become law before the end of 2021 remains to be seen.
ILLINOIS’ COLLEGE BETTING BAN MIGHT GET LIFTED
Though the take was not disappointing, lawmakers in Illinois are looking with a keen eye towards states who allowed for in-state college bets during March Madness. It’s looking like a cool $200 million+ could have been bet on teams like Loyola or the Fighting Illini, had the practice been allowed in the state.
Illinois’ sports betting bills were put on the books in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic immediately impacted the in-person registration requirement, prompting Gov. Pritzker to temporarily suspend the requirement to visit a casino and sign up. This was a smart move, as it enabled the state to pull in more gambling revenue than it would have if folks were still required to venture out. Now that in-person requirement is back, but lawmakers are again wondering how they could improve their revenue share with sports wagering., and looking to other states that allow limited bets on their in-state colleges.
Enter House Amendment 1, which is an attempt to remove the ban against bet on in-state college teams. The Amendment will allow for certain types of wagers to be placed on favorite collegiate teams in Illinois, removing an earlier restriction built in to SB 690. This amendment passed the IL House earlier this month, and is expected to roll its way through the Senate relatively quickly before awaiting the governor’s ink. However, with the session ending soon, House Amendment 1 will have to secure Senate approval and be signed in pretty short order.
WYOMING GAMING COMMISSION APPROVES REGULATORY STRUCTURE FOR SPORTS WAGERING
Representative Tom Walters (R)‘s HB 133 almost didn’t get considered by the Wyoming legislature, but was given a second look once lawmakers realized that they needed to include Wyoming-area tribes in the discussion. He was lucky to get the bill reconsidered, something that rarely happens so quickly in state legislatures. Now that that HB 133 has secured legislative approval, sports wagering is well on its way in the Cowboy State.
Interestingly, HB 133 is a so-called “online-only” bill. It doesn’t make any provisions for in-person gambling, instead creating a licensure process for “at least five” operators to offer mobile apps and desktop websites. Another interesting caveat of HB 133 that sets it apart from most states is that it’s an 18+ bill, meaning that Wyoming-area bettors in some cases will be able to place bets on their high school lunch break.
Governor Mark Gordon signed HB 133 into law in April, but there’s still the process of regulating and licensing. The bill was more successful than initially expected, largely due to concerns of lost revenues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The next step was to hand the bill off to the Wyoming Gaming Commission to figure out how to facilitate the application process and get sports betting rolling in earnest.
The Wyoming Gaming Commission met on June 8th to smooth out rulesets and put together their licensing framework, but there’s still a question on everyone’s mind: scheduling. Typically speaking, states allow for about three months of the application process before going live with betting. The text of HB 133 sets a September 1st deadline for rules to be finalized, but add 90 days to that, and it becomes apparent that bettors in Wyoming might not get to bet on the start of the 2021 NFL season as was previously hoped.
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.