March 2020 Sports Betting Legislation Update
The coronavirus pandemic has shut down the world of live sports, but work continues to be done in terms of the legalization of sports betting. There were close to 20 states that had made some progress in either direction during March, and now is a great time to look at some of the key states.
These 12 states saw significant progress made during the month, even though some of the states saw their sports betting hopes come to an end.
Colorado is still planning to launch sports betting on May 1, despite the possibility that there won’t be any sports to bet on. Lawmakers in the state are continuing to review applications that are coming in, and they have issued more than 30 licenses this month.
Georgia had a pair of sports betting bills passed, but neither was approved by the other governing body. There was a deadline of March 12 for any new law to be passed, and nothing was ever voted on. Sports betting in Georgia will have to wait until 2021.
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Illinois was able to launch legalized sports betting on March 9, but everything is now shut down due to the coronavirus. Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, Ill., took the first official bet in the state, and a pair of other casinos were ready to launch before the industry got shut down. Things should heat up in Illinois when sports come back in the US.
Kansas is one of the few states across the country that is still in its legislative session, but it doesn’t appear that a sports betting bill will get passed. Lawmakers are still trying to approve a new state budget, which leaves little time to discuss anything else.
Kentucky appeared to be ready to legalize sports betting just a few weeks ago, but things have changed in a hurry. A sports betting bill is now currently on life support in the state, and it appears that the issue will have to wait another year.
Sports betting will unlikely pass in Louisiana in 2020 despite hard work from several lawmakers. There are currently two bills still on the table in the state, but concerns over the state budget will likely keep lawmakers from focusing on sports betting.
Michigan, like Illinois, was able to launch sports betting just before the sports world came to a screeching halt. Lawmakers in Michigan will be able to use this downtime to prepare for when sports pick back up.
Maryland will send a sports betting bill to the ballot in November, and the decision will be left up to the residents. If it passes, lawmakers in Maryland will have to spend some time coming up with rules to guide their new law. Most of the language was stripped from the bill to get it sent to a vote.
Massachusetts appeared to be heading in the right direction at the beginning of the year, but there has been very little progress made since March started. Governor Charlie Baker is in support of a new law, but a current bill has sat on the House floor for close to a month with no action taken.
Ohio currently has a pair of sports betting bills circulating through the state legislature. Lawmakers are not currently in session as the state continues to take drastic measures against the coronavirus epidemic. It’s unclear if or when lawmakers will get back together to discuss the sports betting law.
Governor Ralph Northam is expected to sign a new sports betting bill into law in the coming weeks. Virginia lawmakers were able to narrowly pass the bill before the session was ended.
Governor Jay Inslee is expected to sign a new sports betting bill into law soon. Legalized betting can only be done in-person at one of the tribal casinos located in the state.
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