2017 Sports Betting Bill Tracker
With the U.S. Supreme Court announcing on Tuesday that it would hear New Jersey’s appeal to offer legalized sports betting, the controversial form of gambling is garnering more legislative attention than ever.
The topic of sports betting has slowly picked up traction since New Jersey’s legal battle against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) began. In 2012, the state attempted to legalize Vegas-style sports betting but was quickly met with opposition by the NCAA, NBA, NHL, MLB, and NFL. Several lawsuits ensued, leading the state to finally request a Supreme Court hearing after the Third Circuit Court of Appeals repeatedly sided in favor of the leagues.
Even with the odds seemingly against New Jersey, many states started to pass daily fantasy sports legislation. Though not legally considered sports betting, many experts believe that DFS are a precursor to the inevitable legalization of betting on sports. With the newfound optimism that was inspired by NJ petitioning for certiorari from SCOTUS in 2016, many states found themselves ready to introduce legislation that would legalize and regulate sports gambling.
State lawmakers realize that the future of the sports betting industry in the United States will weigh heavily on the outcome of the NJ sports betting case, which is why many legislators have been proactive in introducing new laws. A decision on the case is likely to be rendered early in 2018. You can use our 2017 sports betting bill tracker to keep up to date with the latest legislation in sports betting states.
Representative Frank Pallone (D-New Jersey) introduced a draft bill that would call for a full repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. The Gaming Accountability and Modernization Enhancement (GAME) Act would allow each state to determine which forms of gambling would be permitted within their jurisdiction. This would include sports betting, horse racing, and casino gaming. One point of controversy with the draft bill is that it lumps fantasy sports with gambling. Fantasy sports operators have been adamant about not being included in the same category as gambling, which may raise concerns ongoing discussions continue.
California has taken the approach of proposing a constitutional amendment. ACA 18 would amend Section 19 of Article IV, permitting the state to authorize sports betting in lieu of the repeal of the federal ban. The proposed legislation includes permission for state-tribal compacts to be amended should sports betting be legalized.
CT HB 6948 was passed by Connecticut in early June. The law is part of a larger casino expansion package but includes a provision that would permit the regulation of sports wagering within the state. Legalized sports betting would only be offered if not in conflict with any federal laws, meaning CT will not implement the provision unless PASPA is repealed or amended.
Hawaii is not quite on board with regulated sports betting just yet, but they are open to exploring the possibility. HI HB927 would establish a commission dedicated to researching the impacts of gaming in Hawaii.
Introduced in February, MD HB 989 lays the framework to establish a task force with the goal of studying the impact of sports betting within the state. There are also mentions of sports betting licenses for operators and a 21 or older age requirement for sports bettors. If passed, the law would only go into effect if permissible by federal law.
Michigan House Bill 4060 was introduced in January by Representative Robert Kosowski. The proposed bill serves as an amendment to the state’s gaming control law, which would now allow licensed casino operators to accept sports wagers. The Michigan Gaming Control Board would oversee sports betting regulations within the state.
MS H967 was introduced primarily as a bill to legalize and regulate fantasy sports in Mississippi. There was also language included to authorize sports betting should the federal ban be lifted. The bill was signed by Governor Phil Bryant and became law in March.
The state that started the push for widespread sports betting regulation. NJ S3375 would remove and repeal all prohibitions on betting on professional, collegiate, and amateur sporting events. This particular bill was introduced in June 2017.
NY S01282 would permit sports wagering on both professional and collegiate sporting events in the state. Licensed racetracks, off-track betting facilities, and casinos would be permitted to accept wagers on sporting events. Revenues from sports betting would be allocated to support education in the state.
Proposed bill OK S 857 would alter the gaming conditions in place under state-tribal compacts. With the bill, tribal gaming establishments would no longer be prohibited from offering sports betting at their casinos. S 857 also covers fees and other requirements for authorized sports pools.
The Keystone State has been busy with sports betting legislation, introducing two new bills this year. PA SB No. 750 would expand the current gaming options to include sports wagering. It also notes that all types of wagers would be permitted, including but not limited to parlays, money line bets, straight bets, pools, and exchange wagering. The second bill, PA HB No. 519, includes similar language but also mentioned that applicants will need to be approved by the regulatory board for a sports betting certificate.
South Carolina legislators have taken the path of proposing a constitutional amendment to the S.C. Constitution. SC House Bill No. 3102 would add a provision for betting on professional sports to the existing legal document which already permits casino gaming and pari-mutuel betting on horse racing.
WV House Bill 2751 is the only proposed bill so far that directly references PASPA. The bill states that the federal law is considered unconstitutional in the state of West Virginia. The proposed legislation would legalize sports pool betting and would give the West Virginia Lottery Commission the task of overseeing sports betting regulations.