Legalization of sports betting is taking place all over the country. Since PASPA was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States in May 2018, a full 25 states – half of America – have not only legalized sports betting but started operations.
As per Sports Betting Dime, Major players had a strong showing last year and bullish investors are confident that the largest online sports betting operators will dominate competition as the US sports betting market continues to mature.
While the legal and regulatory framework is piecemeal and looks different from state to state, bettors who cross state lines will notice a lot more similarities than differences. Providers like DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM are able to give bettors in legalized states basically the same options and betting experience.
Admittedly, it’s misleading to say “half of America” has legalized sports betting. Yes, 25 is half of 50, but the three most-populous states in the country – California (39.6 million people), Texas (29.7 million), and Florida (21.9 million) – are still on the sideline when it comes to placing legal wagers in-state.
According to SportsBettingDime.com, Florida has legalized both online and in-person sports betting, but Governor Ron DeSantis did so in an expeditious way that has led to multiple court challenges and is inevitably going to hinder launch.
Looking at the revenue numbers, it’s clear that it takes time to build momentum in each new state as it comes online. At least in the early days, state population appeared to have less of an impact than an established marketplace with good business incentives.
Looking at the numbers from July 2021, the biggest betting markets in the country were New Jersey, which started legalized sports betting in June 2018, and Nevada, which was always the exception to the former rule. The Garden State had a total betting handle of $578.7 million in July. Nevada was the second-highest at just over $401.7 million.
By contrast, Pennsylvania – which is the fifth-most-populous state in the US and has 3.5 million more people than New Jersey – had a betting handle of just $304.4 million. Pennsylvania has technically been in operation since November 2018, but it was much slower on the uptake of online betting (as opposed to retail) and it has considerably higher tax rates and licensing fees than other states.
The next states that are expected to join the fray are Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Washington, and Wisconsin. All of those states have passed legislation at least legalising retail wagering (most legalizing online betting, as well) but they are still in the process of getting things up-and-running.
Indeed, there are only seven remaining states which do not have sports-betting legislation at least under consideration: Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Utah. Based on the way things are trending in the country, the massive popularity/demand for sports betting, and the potential it holds to garner tax revenue, it is likely only a matter of time before those states join the party.
Well … six of them anyway. Mormon-dominated Utah will be the last bastion.