Three States Legalize Sports Betting During 2020 Election

Sports betting is becoming increasingly popular throughout the United States, and, while some parts of the country remain steadfast that gambling is a hotbed for crime, others are welcoming the industry with open arms. Louisiana, South Dakota, and Maryland all voted to legalize sports betting Tuesday when they went to the ballot box.

55 of the 64 parishes in Louisiana legalized sports betting, Maryland saw a majority of their citizens vote yes, and South Dakota did as well. While citizens are most likely excited about gambling laws being passed in their states, reports claim that they may have to wait a while before they can place their bet.

One example of this is the state of Louisiana, which faced major pushback from Conservatives when it came to the subject of sports betting. If history is any indicator of what is to come, Louisiana legalized fantasy sports betting in 2018, but still haven’t been able to officially launch due to Republican blowback in the state.’

“This proposition is on track to outperform the 2018 ballot initiative to include more parishes and a higher percentage of the vote statewide,” Richard Carbo, who backed the effort to legalize sports voting in Louisiana said in a statement, “Very soon, parishes across the state will see the benefits of sports wagering, and we can begin to invest in priorities like infrastructure and education.”

Although some in Louisiana are breathing a sigh of relief regarding the passage of sports betting, others have a negative outlook about the concept. Some citizens even claim that millions of dollars were paid to outside organizations to push sports betting on the population. One man from the family forum, which is a family values group, claims that citizens have been lied to.

“Tonight’s results on the sports betting proposition are not surprising. Out of state conglomerates spent $1 million to convince a battered Louisiana that we can gamble our way out of financial woe. Gene Mills of the family Forum claimed in an interview, “Sadly, the Pied Piper orchestrates another alluring melody; for too many, the promised enticements result in unfortunate outcomes.”

Unfortunately for the Pelican state, their lawmakers will not even discuss the idea of regulating sports betting until they are back in session in April of 2021. South Dakota and Maryland face much shorter waiting times and are good to go for the most part. There is some discussion, however, in South Dakota that online sports gambling will become legalized as well, but no official word has been given on that.

Going further into each state’s case, South Dakota is estimating that sports betting could draw in an extra 18 million dollars in state revenue. It is being reported that 19% of that revenue will go to help fund education, and 1% will go towards funding minority businesses. No word on what the other two states will do with their estimated revenue, but it will be interesting to see where that plays out.

This means that sports betting is now legal in 22 of 50 states, and six more have legislation going through congress right now, which could result in over half of American states legalizing gambling by 2021. Not only would that be a major shift from where the country stood on betting only ten years ago, but it should also be a welcomed source of extra revenue for these states.

In the end, opinion on gambling and sports betting has shifted dramatically over the last 30 years and will be interesting to see which state decides to legalize the practice next. Beyond that, one must wonder if the move to legalize sports betting will end up helping these states economically and if it can act as a sort of solution for economic issues caused by the pandemic.


Logan is based in Los Angeles and is an avid poker player having played in tournaments across the globe. He covers both poker & regulatory affairs.