More States May Legalize Sportsbooks Very Soon

Slowly but surely more states will allow sportsbooks.

As 2019 state legislative sessions end, there are some indications that some states may be ready to get into the sports gambling business. Montana, which is allowed by federal law to have a limited form of sports gambling, may go full sportsbook soon. Others state may be joining Montana in getting sportsbooks open. That list might include Iowa. Only seven states have opened up sportsbooks in the 11 months following the Supreme Court of the United States decision that legalized sports gambling. In 2018, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Mississippi, West Virginia and New Mexico allowed sportsbooks to open in casinos joining Nevada. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is so pleased with the handle in the Garden State that he is predicting his state could become the sports gambling capital of the United States. Murphy has a monopoly in the New York City area on sports gambling as both New York and Connecticut have passed on opening sportsbooks. It is an easy drive for downstate New Yorkers and for some in Southwestern Connecticut to go to the Meadowlands which is the home of the NFL’s Giants and Jets and place bets. Sports gambling has not produced the anticipated big revenues in the states that added sportsbooks in 2018.

Sports betting policy is not limited to state governments. Congress may want to put all sports gambling under a federal umbrella and impose laws limiting state powers on sports gambling. Of course that is what uncorked sports gambling in the first place. In 1992, Congress allowed sports gambling in Nevada with some limited forms of sports gambling in Delaware, Montana and Oregon. The Supreme Court overruled the federal law in a case involving New Jersey.  Sports leagues have figured out how to get money out of it by partnering with casinos that have sports books. Gambling is good when it suits sports owners’ needs.

Betting windows are seen at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, N.J., Monday, May 14, 2018. The Supreme Court on Monday gave its go-ahead for states to allow gambling on sports across the nation, striking down a federal law that barred betting on football, basketball, baseball and other sports in most states. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)