Sports Betting Legalization Mid-Year Report: Where 9 States Stand in 2021

Sports Betting Legalization Mid-Year Report: Where 9 States Stand in 2021 article feature image
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Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: The Westgate Las Vegas Race & Sports SuperBook.

As we near the midway point of 2021, nine states have already passed laws to legalize sports betting. Here are the key details for all nine and when to expect wagering to begin:

Arizona

Statewide Mobile: Yes

Projected Launch: September 2021

Details: Arizona officials are working toward an early September launch for retail and online sports betting. Top sportsbooks such as DraftKings and FanDuel are partnered with Arizona professional sports organizations and expect to be among the first books to launch.

Arizona’s 2021 sports betting law also allows retail books at stadiums as well as Native American gaming facilities. In total, there are 20 online sports betting licenses available, 10 apiece to pro sports groups and the tribes. Not all 20 will go live this year, but Arizona sports betting should have multiple betting options by year’s end.

Connecticut

Statewide Mobile: Yes

Projected Launch: September 2021

Details: The state’s two casinos, the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort, are expected to open online and retail sportsbooks later this year. The state lottery is also working with a partner for statewide mobile wagering, meaning there will be three statewide mobile betting options.

The Connecticut Lottery can also partner with up to 15 retail betting partners for additional brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. Additionally, Connecticut daily fantasy providers may have to suspend operations this fall as they go through a licensing process.

Florida

Statewide Mobile: Yes (subject to federal approval)

Projected Launch: October 2021

Details: Florida sports betting was approved as part of a sweeping gaming compact struck in April, but it is still awaiting federal approval. The Seminole Tribe of Florida will likely be permitted to open retail sportsbooks at its seven casinos, but it remains to be seen if statewide mobile wagering will be through the Seminole’s Hard Rock Digital Sportsbook.

The compact also permits a revenue-sharing partnership between the tribe, Florida parimutuel facilities and third-party sportsbook operators for additional sports betting options, but that too could face federal scrutiny. In the meantime, DraftKings and FanDuel are pushing a separate constitutional amendment ballot measure that would permit commercial operators to open mobile sportsbooks independent of the tribe.

Louisiana

Statewide Mobile: Yes (certain parishes excluded)

Projected Launch: Fall 2021

Details: Louisiana voters in 55 of the state’s 64 parishes approved legal wagering on a 2020 ballot measure, and lawmakers passed follow-up taxation and regulation bills in 2021. State regulators are now working on rules and licensing measures that would permit each of the state’s 20 total casinos and race tracks to open two mobile and one retail sportsbook apiece.

The state lottery is also permitted a statewide mobile license and can open retail betting kiosks in certain bars and restaurants. Caesars, which operates the state’s lone land-based casino in New Orleans, is among many top sportsbooks expected to enter the market this fall.

Maryland

Statewide Mobile: Yes

Projected Launch: Fall 2021

Details: Maryland’s 2021 sports betting law will allow up to 60 online and 30 retail sportsbooks statewide. Professional sports franchises will join the state’s six commercial casinos as well as off-track betting facilities and a myriad of other business interests that will be permitted to apply for sportsbook licenses.

A committee will begin the licensing review process with hopes of a fall 2021 sports betting launch. Among the many brands expected to pursue Maryland include BetMGM and Barstool Sportsbook, both of which have prior partnerships with state gaming or sports interests.

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Nebraska

Statewide Mobile: No

Projected Launch: Fall 2021

Details: Voters backed a 2020 ballot measure that permits the state’s six racetracks to offer full “Las Vegas-style” casino gaming. Lawmakers passed a follow-up bill that permits retail sportsbooks at these facilities but did not permit online betting.

The 2021 regulatory bill also prohibits bets on in-state college programs when they play in Nebraska. This could be another major revenue handicap in a state where college programs are far and away the most popular.

New York

Statewide Mobile: Yes

Projected Launch: Winter 2022 (online)

Details: New York’s commercial and tribal casinos already accept retail bets, but it wasn’t until April of this year Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers finalized a deal to permit statewide mobile wagering. The nation’s fourth-most populated state and home to its largest metro area, the industry is excited for the new online market’s potential.

Which sportsbooks get a coveted online license remains to be seen. New York regulators are expected to announce criteria for the limited sports betting market by the end of June. The bidding war for what could only be four total customer-facing sportsbook options will likely be the most intense of any in the first few years of legal U.S. sports betting.

South Dakota

Statewide Mobile: No

Projected Launch: Fall 2021

Details: Like its Southern neighbor, South Dakota approved sports betting on a 2020 ballot measure. Online authorization gained little support in the legislature, and lawmakers instead backed a bill that restricts betting to the historic gaming community of Deadwood and tribal gaming facilities.

South Dakota regulators are steadily advancing rules that will permit retail sportsbooks at more than two-dozen casinos, but it remains to be seen which operators will pursue the market.

Wyoming

Statewide Mobile: Yes

Projected Launch: Fall 2021

Details: One of the most surprising 2021 sports betting developments, Wyoming lawmakers passed the nation’s second uncapped, online-only sports betting bill. Like Tennessee, Wyoming sportsbook operators won’t have to partner or “tether” with a retail facility to offer sports bets statewide.

The nation’s least-populated state, it remains to be seen why operators will enter Wyoming, but the favorable business environment could mean at least some top sportsbooks will take bets, possibly before the end of the year.

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