It’s been 14 months since sports betting in the United States was forever changed. On May 14, 2018, the Supreme Court overturned the PASPA ruling that effectively made sports betting illegal outside of Nevada (Oregon, Delaware, and Montana were also grandfathered in to allow legal sports betting).
In the time since that ruling, we have sports betting operating in 10 states with six more states currently legal and expected to begin operations soon. Only a handful of states are currently without recent legislation involved directly with sports betting.
The 10 states that currently have sports betting operational:
- Nevada: Legalized in 1949
- Delaware: Began June 2018
- New Jersey: Began June 2018
- Mississippi: Began August 2018
- West Virginia: Began August 2018
- New Mexico: Began October 2018
- Pennsylvania: Began November 2018
- Rhode Island: Began November 2018
- Arkansas: Began July 2019
- New York: Began July 2019
Mississippi, New Mexico, Arkansas, and New York do not have legalized mobile sports betting. As New Jersey has shown, mobile sports betting is the key to a fully mature market and maximizing sports betting revenue. New York is a prime example of this.
The nearest casino that will be eligible to offer legal sports betting will be nearly two hours away from downtown New York City. Instead of traveling that distance to place a bet, New York City residents will instead continue to travel the short distance into New Jersey and place their bets on their phones.
It is estimated that anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of New Jersey’s sports betting handle comes from New York residents. Based on May’s numbers, that means New York bettors accounted for $32-$48 million in handle for the state of New Jersey.
Due to New York’s lack of mobile sports betting, New Jersey was able to pass Nevada in sports betting handle and revenue for the month of May 2019. This was significant in pointing out that Nevada may still be the mecca of gambling in the United States, but when it comes to sports betting, New Jersey is the new king.
However, once (if) New York launches mobile sports betting, New Jersey will most likely fall below Nevada once again and possibly make New York or Pennsylvania (two of the biggest projected markets outside of Nevada) the new sports betting kings.
There are six states with legal sports betting that are still waiting to launch their first legal sportsbook:
- Indiana: Legalized May 2019
- Iowa: Legalized May 2019
- Montana: Legalized May 2019
- New Hampshire: Legalized May 2019
- Tennessee: Legalized May 2019
- Illinois: Legalized June 2019
*Washington D.C. also legalized sports betting in May 2019
All of these states (excluding Washington D.C., which has no current timeline for launch) have aspirations to have sports betting up and running by the start of the upcoming NFL season, which begins in early September. The NFL is the biggest sport for sports bettors, so sportsbooks and states won’t want to miss out on all of that potential revenue.
All of these states will also allow for mobile sports betting. Tennessee is perhaps the most interesting state of the group. There are no casinos in the state of Tennessee, so they became the first state to adopt a “mobile-only” sports betting law.
Of the remaining 34 states in the country, all but a handful (Alaska, Florida, Idaho, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) seem to have a chance to legalize sports betting in the coming years. Maine and North Carolina have both passed bills and are awaiting action from their respective governors. North Carolina is expected to join the legal sports betting party as soon as the end of July. Maine, however, has been put in a rough situation thanks to their governor and will not have any action on sports betting until 2020.
Some experts have predicted that within the next five years, sports betting will be legalized in more than 35 states in the country. The future of sports betting is undoubtedly through mobile and online platforms, with many predicting that over 90 percent of sports betting will be done online within five years. States like New York that neglect to legalize mobile betting will be caught in the Stone Age of sports betting and will only be hurting themselves and their residents.