Recently Alaska and Wyoming became two more that introduced legal sports betting bills. Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 in May of 2018, more and more states have legalized sports betting. Sports wagering can bring millions to the state through taxes, which is why it is only a matter of time before all 50 states legalize it.
As of February 18, 2020, there are now 21 states in the U.S., which have introduced sports betting bills this year.18 of those bills would legalize sports wagering in their state. The bill for Wyoming would bring sports betting to the state while Alaska would legalize it and be run by the state lottery.
It is probably that in 2020 only a few states will legalize sports betting. However, even with bills getting into the state legislature, it is a start in getting legalized sports betting in those states. If all of the states that introduced sports betting bills this year passed, there would be 38 states, as well as Puerto Rico and Washington D.C., where sports wagering would be legal.
States With Current Sports Betting Bills
Each of the states below has, at least, one sports wagering bill in their state legislature this year.
- New York
- South Dakota
Of the 21 states that have sports betting bills in their legislation, the three states of Mississippi, New York, and Tennessee already have legal sports betting in place, but they would alter their laws for it. New York and Mississippi would have legal mobile sports betting if their bills pass.
In the bill in Tennessee, it is to have clearer language when it comes to the various responsibilities that the Sports Wagering Advisory Council has.
The Alaska Bill
In Alaska, sports wagering would be only one part of a bigger bill dealing with the state lottery. Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy wants to help diversify the revenue stream for the state.
He recently stated, “In the face of low state revenues, my administration has been actively seeking new revenue sources to diversify our economy. Not only does this legislation have the potential of creating new business opportunities, but the profits generated from lottery activities will also be designated to K-12 education, domestic violence prevention programs, drug abuse prevention programs, foster care, and homelessness.”
There are only five states in the U.S. that do not have a state lottery, and Alaska is one of them. If the bill passes in the Frontier State, not only would sports betting be legal, but there would be a lottery, keno games, multi-state draw games, and instant games would also be legal.
At the request of Dunleavy, both of the chambers of the legislature in Alaska have sports wagering bills, which are HB 246 and SB 188.
The bill to bring sports betting to Wyoming is HB 225, and if it were to pass sports betting, revenue would be taxed to the tune of 16%. Also, access fees would be on the relatively low side. For an initial license to allow sports betting, the fee would be $20,000 and then an annual renewal fee of $10,000.
HB 225 does not have language in it in terms of how many licenses would be available in the state. On top of that, it is pretty open in terms of who could apply for a license. “Qualified gaming entity” means a gaming operator offering sports betting by the use of computers, mobile apps, or digital platforms anywhere in the U.S. follows a regulatory structure of the state in question.
In the Wyoming sports betting bill, there would not be any wagering on college events that are taking place in the state, and that includes any school located in the state.