Sports betting is increasingly getting the attention of state lawmakers.
The uptick in legislative activity for traditional sports betting -- think point spreads, totals, money lines and prop bets -- follows dozens of states that have considered laws specifically permitting daily fantasy sports.
New state laws about sports betting had been largely dormant since the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) was enacted. For two decades, PASPA dissuaded states from legalizing sports betting. But that changed in 2012 when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation to permit Nevada-style sports gambling. The NCAA, NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL sued to stop New Jersey's plan. That lawsuit will now be heard by the Supreme Court.
Despite the lawsuit, additional states have recently moved to introduce legislation that would legalize sports betting. Some of the proposals would only be activated if PASPA is repealed by Congress or overturned by the courts. Other proposals are direct affronts to PASPA and might result in additional litigation.
At the same time various state lawmakers are considering sports betting legislation, Congress is too. Representative Frank Pallone, D-N.J., introduced a "discussion draft" in early 2017 that would replace PASPA. Hearings on the bill have yet to be scheduled.
The dual track of proposals -- state and federal -- have increased in frequency since the start of 2017. Below is a synopsis of the newly proposed state laws, with updates to follow.
This file was updated on June 27, 2017.
In July 2017, Assembly Member Adam Gray introduced a constitutional amendment that would allow the state "to permit sports wagering only if a change in federal law occurs." The proposed amendment specifically refers to PASPA's federal sports betting ban being amended or repealed. "All other gaming activities in California are subject to regulations that ensure the safety of consumers," said Gray in a press release. "Sports wagering should be treated no differently."
In July 2017, Gov. Danell Malloy signed a bill that will allow the state to move quickly if the federal sports betting ban is overturned by the Supreme Court or repealed by Congress. The new Connecticut law allows state officials "to regulate wagering on sporting events to the extent permitted by state and federal law." The law designates the Department of Consumer Protection to oversee any new sports betting.
Maryland House Bill No. 989 was introduced on Feb. 9 and calls for the establishment of a task force to "study the implementation of sports gaming in the state." The draft legislation includes the allocation of a "sports gaming license" and the ability to accept wagers on sporting events if the bettor is at least 21 years of age. The proposed Maryland legislation would only come into effect if federal law allowed it.
On Jan. 18, legislation was introduced to amend the state's current gaming control law. Michigan's proposed bill would allow any holder of a casino license to "accept wagers on sporting events." The state's gaming board would be required to "promulgate rules to regulate the conduct of sports betting under this act."
According to Mississippi State Rep. Scott DeLano (R-Biloxi), language in a fantasy sports bill passed in the first half of 2017 would allow the state to offer legal sports betting if the federal ban is lifted.
"We did make modifications to Gaming Control Act that would allow for the Gaming Commission to regulate sports betting if it were ever to be overturned at the federal level," DeLano told the Sun Herald.
In addition to the legislation part of the long-running court case with the five sports leagues, New Jersey has also seen a "nuclear option" introduced. The proposal -- bent on getting around PASPA's ban -- would be a full repeal of "all NJ laws against sports betting," according to State Sen. Raymond Lesniak. A bill to "remove and repeal all State laws and regulations prohibiting and regulating the placement and acceptance ... of wagers on professional, collegiate, or amateur sport contests or athletic events" was introduced late last year.
Bill S01282 "authorizes gambling on professional sporting events and athletic events sponsored by universities or colleges." The New York bill would allow gambling to take place at any authorized racetrack, off-track-betting location or casino in the state. The proposed legislation mandates that all proceeds from any sports gambling be applied to education.
Pending legislation would allow the Oklahoma governor to expand the tribal-state compact and include "sports pools." The expansion would consist of "wagering on the outcome of one or more competitive games in which athletes participate, or on one or more performances of such athletes in such games where all bets are placed in a common pool or pot from which all player winnings, prizes and direct costs are paid." The proposed bill would only take effect if permitted by federal law.
Pennsylvania saw two sports betting bills introduced in 2017. Senate Bill No. 750 would expand current gaming law to allow sports wagering. The Senate bill defines sports wagering as the "business of accepting wagers on sporting events or on the individual performance statistics of athletes in a sporting event or combination of sporting events by any system or method of wagering, including, but not limited to, exchange wagering, parlays, over-under, money line, pools and straight bets." House Bill No. 519 includes the same definition and also provides for applicants to receive a sports betting "certificate" upon approval from the regulatory board.
House Bill No. 3102 would amend South Carolina's Constitution to allow "sports betting on professional sports." Any betting would be "strictly" regulated and limited to "specified" areas. According to a court document from the now-resolved New York daily fantasy litigation involving DraftKings and FanDuel, South Carolina's current definition of gambling "includes betting money on the outcome of any 'game,' regardless of the skill involved in the game."
On March 1, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill titled "Legalizing Sport Pool Betting." The legislation would allow the state's lottery commission "to promulgate legislative rules establishing sports betting." The bill also includes language indicating that is a direct affront to PASPA, finding that "federal law prohibiting sports betting in West Virginia is unconstitutional."