The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is expected to issue a ruling on Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, better known as “the New Jersey sports betting case,” any day between now and late June. There is a good chance the Supreme Court rules in favor of New Jersey, which could in turn open the door to states across the nation legalizing sports betting.
The case stems from a long-running New Jersey effort to decriminalize sports betting in the state. In 2011, New Jersey voters voted in favor of legalization in a referendum. New Jersey lawmakers then drafted and passed the Sports Wagering Act in 2012 to authorize sports betting at local casinos and racetracks.
The four major professional sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL) and the NCAA sued to stop New Jersey from enacting the law. The sports leagues based their suit on the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), a federal law that prohibits all but a few states from legalizing and regulating sports betting.
New Jersey contends PASPA is unconstitutional under the anti-commandeering doctrine, which limits the power Congress has over the States. Multiple lower court rulings went against New Jersey, but the Supreme Court answered New Jersey’s petition to hear the case. After oral arguments were heard last year, many news articles came out stating that the Supreme Court seems to be leaning towards a decision in favor of New Jersey.
Although the Supreme Court has not yet issued its decision, a number of states have already proposed or enacted legislation to legalize and regulate real-world or online sports betting contingent upon PASPA being stricken down by the Supreme Court or repealed by Congress.
The overall sentiment seems to be that the Supreme Court is likely to rule PASPA unconstitutional, but even if it doesn’t, there is likely enough interest in sports betting among the states to motivate Congress to act if the SCOTUS decision does not strike down PASPA.
This page details all states that have sports betting legislation pending for approval. In addition to states with legislation that is in progress, six states have already fully passed legislation authorizing sports betting and may be able to begin accepting bets shortly after a favorable Supreme Court decision:
States with Pending Sports Betting Legislation
Each of the following states has at least one sports betting bill that has been introduced and remains viable today. Some of these bills haven’t had any action for months and will most likely die before making it any further, but every bill that still has any life left at all is included below.
ACA 18: California State Assemblyman Adam Gray introduced ACA 18 last July proposing a public referendum asking voters to approve or disapprove of permitting the state legislature to authorize and regulate sports betting if there is a change to federal law that would allow the state to authorize sports betting.
In other words, the bill would ask the people if they want to allow the state to authorize sports betting. If the people vote yes and PASPA is stricken down or repealed, California could then begin drafting legislation to legalize and regulate sports betting.
HB 6948: Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed a bill into law last year directing the Commissioner of Consumer Protection to draft sports betting regulations “to the extent permitted by state and federal law.”
The part about sports betting was just a small part of a larger gaming expansion bill. HB 6948 did not legalize sports betting by itself; it simply tasked the Commissioner of Consumer Protection with building a regulatory framework so the state will be ready to go if the federal prohibition is repealed and if Connecticut amends its own laws to authorize sports betting.
More recently, Connecticut lawmakers have been meeting to start the early stages of planning a full-on sports betting legalization and regulation bill. Look for more legislation to come shortly if the Supreme Court rules in favor of New Jersey.
Illinois has a whopping five sports betting bills in play right now. Some of these appear to be companion or placeholder bills that are lacking in detail, but we can see lawmakers have proposed several different visions of regulated sports betting in Illinois.
SB 2478: Creates the Sports Betting Consumer Protection Act. Like others in Illinois, this bill is short on details. It proposes that a state agency be tasked with drafting regulations, determining licensing conditions and establishing a tax rate for sports wagering if PASPA is ended.
HB 4214: This is a placeholder bill with more text to be added. The only information contained in the full text is a line that explains this bill may be cited as the Legalization and Regulation of Sports Betting Act.
SB 3125: This bill amends the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975 and “requires the Illinois Racing Board to adopt rules authorizing sports wagering by organization licensees and inter-track wagering location licensees.”
HB 5186: HB 5186 creates the Sports Wagering Act, which is to take effect when PASPA is repealed by Congress or overturned by the Supreme Court. This bill is designed to boost the struggling horse racing industry as it only permits organizations licensed under the Illinois Horse Racing Act to apply for a sports betting license. This bill calls for a $5 million licensing fee and a 30% tax.
SB 3432: Creates the Sports Wagering Act, continent upon the overturning or repeal of PASPA. This bill calls for a 12.5% tax on top of a controversial “integrity fee” equal to 1% of wagering handle. The integrity feel will most likely work out to take an even larger chunk out of wagering revenue for operators than the 12.5% tax. Together, both taxes put the feasibility of sports betting under this framework at risk.
Indiana has two bills in play. House Bill 1325 was the first bill to show up anywhere in the USA with an integrity fee, but there’s also a bill in the Senate without the integrity fee. Indiana is shaping up to be a key state in the sports betting legalization process if SCOTUS does indeed overturn PASPA.
SB 405: Indiana Senate Bill 405 directs the Indiana Gaming Commission to authorize sports wagering at licensed riverboats, racetrack casinos and satellite facilities within 90 days of a Supreme Court ruling overturning PASPA. SB 405 also calls for a licensing fee of 1% of adjusted gross receipts or $500,000 (whichever is larger), an annual $75,000 administrative fee and 9.25% tax on adjusted gross receipts.
HB 1325: House Bill 1325 was introduced by Representative Alan Morrison at the beginning of 2018. After receiving input from the MLB and NBA, Rep. Morrison modified the bill to include a 1% “integrity fee” to be applied to sports betting handle. This action kicked off the integrity fee debate that is now playing out in legislatures across the nation.
A 1% fee doesn’t sound like much, but it represents a huge chunk of revenue when we consider sportsbooks typically only keep about 5% of total betting handle as revenue before all other expenses. Taking an additional 1% out of total betting handle may end up working out to the equivalent of a 20%+ tax on revenue paid straight to the pro leagues.
HF 2448: House File 2448 (formerly HSB 592) was introduced in January and wants to allow Iowans 21 and over to bet on sports in-person, over the phone or online through licensed casino operators. The bill calls for an initial licensing fee of $25,000, a $15,000 annual renewal fee, a 5% tax on the first $1 million in revenue and 10% after that.
The bill’s authors opted not to include an integrity fee payable to the sports leagues. Not surprisingly, the NBA and MLB have both come out against HF 2448. Sports legal representatives have said they will “continue to work with Iowa legislators” to get the integrity fee put back in, while the Iowa Gaming Association has warned that such an integrity fee may make sports betting an unsustainable business.
Kansas has several sports betting bills in play ahead of the Supreme Court ruling. These bills range in scope from minor placeholder bills to major gaming overhauls.
HB 2533: HB 2533 is a short bill that specifies if sports betting is authorized in Kansas, it may only take place at licensed racetracks.
HB 2752: This bill creates the Kansas Sports Wagering Act and legalizes sports betting at Kansas Lottery-operated facilities, both in-person and online if PASPA is ended. This legislation establishes an initial licensing fee of $10,000, an annual renewal fee of $5,000 and sets a minimum age of 21 to bet. This bill also calls for a 1% integrity fee equal to 1% of total betting handle.
HB 2793: HB 2793 was introduced at the end of March and it too authorizes sports betting at facilities operated by the Kansas Lottery, at racetracks and online. This bill does not call for an integrity fee.
SB 455: Creates the Kansas Sports Wagering Act and appears to be a compromise of sorts that gives the sports leagues some but not all of what they demand. SB 455 calls for a 0.25% integrity fee (capped at 5% of revenue) instead of the 1% uncapped fee desired by the leagues. It also allows the leagues to request certain types of bets be restricted, but gives ultimate decision-making authority to the Kansas Gaming Commission.
SB 22: Senate Bill 22 (formerly BR 155) orders the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to institute a sports wagering system if and when federal law allows sports betting. This bill would authorize sports betting at racetracks and off-track betting facilities. Prospective operators would pay a licensing fee of $250,000.
This bill also calls for a 20% tax on total betting handle, which would almost certainly make every sports betting business in the state completely unfeasible. This bill will need to be changed if Kentucky hopes to attract even a single licensee.
HB 536: This bill requires the Kentucky Lottery Corporation to institute a sports wagering system that would allow wagering on professional and college sports, but prohibit wagers on horse racing. Under the bill, people 18 and older would be able to bet on sports at lottery retailers, horse racing tracks and simulcast facilities.
BR 149: BR 149 is a massive gaming expansion bill that would allow casinos to be constructed in Kentucky with an initial licensing fee of $50 million that would cover the casino for the next 10 years with renewal fees of $6 million per year after that. The bill removes old language prohibiting wagers “where winners are determined by the outcome of a sports contest,” but goes no further into detail on the subject of sports betting.
HB 245: Rep. Major Thibaut’s 2018 bill proposes legalizing sports betting at live horse racing facilities in Louisiana. There are four possible racetracks where this could happen, but the residents of each parish in which a track is located would first be given a chance to voice their approval or disapproval via public referendum. Each racetrack would only be able to offer sports betting if its parish votes in favor of doing so.
SB 266: Senate Bill 266 calls for a statewide referendum asking voters if sports wagering should be allowed in Louisiana. If the public votes yes, license holders will be permitted to offer sports betting “subject to the licensing and regulatory authority of the Louisiana Gaming Control Board and the Louisiana Gaming Control Law.”
SB 398: Senate Bill 398 was introduced in March of 2018 and reads identical to SB 266 but has a different sponsor. Like 266, this one calls for a statewide referendum and will allow local casinos to offer sports betting.
HB 1014: This is a simple, 2-page bill that calls for a statewide referendum for gambling expansion, including sports betting if PASPA is overturned by the Supreme Court. If PASPA is ended and voters approve, the State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission will be able to issue sports betting licenses to those already holding a video lottery or thoroughbred horse racing license.
HB 1346: House Bill 1346 introduced in February of 2018 seeks to permit video lottery operators and horse racing licensees to apply to the State Gaming Control Commission for a sports betting license. This bill sets the initial licensing fee at $300,000 along with an annual renewal fee of $50,000.
Under HB 1346, state revenues obtained from licensing fees would be put towards a problem gambling fund, local impact grants and to the education trust fund. HB 1346 specifically states that wagers may not be made via telephone or electronic device.
SB 836: SB 836 is a companion bill to H1014 with identical text. This one also calls for a referendum if PASPA is overturned and may potentially result in the gaming commission issuing sports betting licenses.
SB 2273: This bill deals primarily with fantasy sports regulation, but includes a section dedicated to regular sports wagering. Section 10 of S 2273 states that if PASPA is overturned, a special commission shall be convened within 30 days to review all aspects of regulation, taxation, consumer protection and other considerations related to legal sports betting. The commission will be instructed to submit recommendations for legislation to the Senate and House within 120 days.
Michigan has had a few sports betting bills come and go over the last two years. The only one that remains viable at this time is HB 4926.
HB 4926: House Bill 4926 creates the Lawful Internet Gaming Act and only mentions sports betting once, but that is all that’s needed for this bill to potentially legalize sports wagers. The bit of text dealing with sports betting reads as follows (emphasis mine):
The division shall not authorize, administer, or otherwise license a person to conduct internet wagering on any amateur or professional sporting even tor contest, unless doing so is consistent with state and federal laws.
In other words, PASPA must be repealed or overturned at the federal level and Michigan must approve of sports betting before this piece of the bill can take effect.
Missouri lawmakers have been busy drafting sports betting legalization bills. Multiple bills are still in play and could change the gambling landscape significantly over the coming year. These bills are all contingent upon the end of PASPA.
SB 767: This bill originally dealt with expanding where video lottery terminals may be placed in Missouri, but casinos were not happy to see SB 767 allow as many as 20,000 VLTs go up across the state on non-casino property So, Senator Hoskins amended the bill to permit sports betting at casinos.
SB 1013: This bill authorizes sports betting at riverboat casinos and online for patrons who first register an account in-person. SB 1013 includes the 1% integrity fee that sports leagues have been requesting. Sports betting operators would also be asked to pay 14% in other taxes and fees, a $10,000 initial licensing fee and annual renewal fees of $5,000.
SB 1009: Also authorizes sports betting online and at riverboat casinos, but calls for lower taxes (6.25%) and does not include the sports integrity fee. While the professional sports leagues back SB 1013, Missouri’s casino operators back this bill.
HB 2406: Companion bill to SB 1009, authorizes sports betting at riverboat casinos and online, calls for a 6.25% tax rate and does not include an integrity fee for the leagues.
HB 2535: Companion bill to SB 1013, authorizes sports betting at riverboat casinos and online, calls for a 12% tax and 1% sports integrity fee.
HB 2320: House Bill 2320 authorizes licensed casinos and licensed fantasy sports sites to apply for sports betting licenses. The bill also authorizes lottery retailers to use sporting events in their games “to the extent permissible under the Constitution of Missouri.” This bill also directs the Missouri Gaming Commission to draft regulations to manage sports betting.
SB 7900: Senator John Bonacic introduced Senate Bill 7900 to authorize sports betting at casinos, racetracks, off-track betting facilities and via mobile devices. This bill strikes a compromise with the leagues by giving them some of what they want, but not all. SB 7900 gives the sports leagues a 0.25% integrity fee rather than 1% and allows the leagues to ask the commission for restrictions on types of bets rather than to have full control over types of bets that may be placed.
SB 2045: Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo revealed a budget plan in January that just happened to count $23.5 million in state revenue coming from sports wagering. That same day, lawmakers introduced SB 2045 that would authorize state-operated sports betting at the Twin River and Tiverton casinos when authorized by federal law / court decision.
SB 2045 would have the Lottery Division regulate sports betting and prohibits wagering on college teams from Rhode Island.
HB 3102: This bill has been floating around since 2016 and although it is technically still alive, it is unlikely to stay that way much longer. HB 3102 wants to amend the South Carolina constitution to permit sports betting in certain locations and submit the proposed amendment to voters in the form of a statewide referendum.