April Legal Sports Betting Breakdown: The Key Details In Florida, New York, Arizona & Maryland
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images. Pictured: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
April will go down as the most consequential month for legal sports U.S. sports betting since the Supreme Court struck down the federal wagering ban almost exactly three years ago.
Florida and New York, the nation’s third- and fourth-most populated states, cleared the major logistical and political hurdle to their respective sports betting legalizations.
Both states’ deals came just days after Maryland and Arizona, two heavily populated states with major professional sports teams, passed sports betting bills, which by themselves would have made April one of the most significant months for the American betting industry.
As April comes to a close, here’s where things stand within these major markets and when bettors should expect to place wagers:
Status: Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida announced a groundbreaking compact deal that will expand gaming options, including online and retail sports betting.
State lawmakers and the federal government must still sign off on the deal, a process that will take several months. Additionally, the deal as written currently could be subject to state or possibly federal roadblocks, setting up possible legal challenges that could delay legal sports wagering even longer.
Online Access: Federal law has prohibited tribes in certain circumstances from launching online gaming options in the past, and it appears the Seminole deal faces a similar obstacle. Even if approved, it appears there may not be many (or any) options beyond the Seminole’s Hard Rock digital sportsbook.
Sportsbook Launch Date: Retail sports betting at the Seminole’s casinos as well as potentially other gaming interests could begin near the end of 2021 in a best-case scenario, though that too is subject to legal challenges.
Online betting, if it is permitted at all, could take longer.
Status: New York online sports betting was approved as part of the state’s upcoming fiscal year budget. State regulators recently released a few breadcrumbs about what to expect from perspective sportsbooks, but the participant operators are still undetermined.
Online Access: Regulators must approve at least four sportsbooks, but it seems unlikely they’ll approve many more.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo expects winning bidders to pay back roughly 50% of gross gaming revenue, the highest rate in the country for a multi-operator market, meaning participation could be limited even in a heavily populated state such as New York.
Sportsbook Launch Date: Officials are targeting a launch ahead of the new year’s Super Bowl in February. The selected sportsbooks will have a long road to get to that point, and it’s still too early to tell if that timeline is workable.
The state has a handful of retail sportsbooks (including DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRivers and bet365) between its four upstate casinos and three gaming tribes’ facilities (including William Hill).
Status: Arizona’s gaming tribes and major professional sports teams can open online and retail sportsbooks under a deal approved earlier this month. Unlike other states, there appear few regulatory, logistical or legal hurdles that would prevent a relatively quick turnaround from approval to first bet.
Online Access: The 2021 law permits as many as 20 online sportsbooks, and many of those could launch within the next 12 months. DraftKings and FanDuel have already announced sportsbook deals, and they could quickly be joined by other top brands such as BetMGM and PointsBet.
Sportsbook Launch Date: Early indicators point toward a launch ahead of the 2021 football season. There’s still regulatory and licensing remaining, but officials have so far met every benchmark to have the first retail and even online sportsbooks up and running before Sept. 1, 2021.
Status: Maryland officials approved 60 online and more than 30 retail sports betting licensees to be offered to state casinos, horse tracks, professional sports venues and a host of other business interests.
The massive licensing potential means virtually any interested sportsbook has a path to enter the Maryland market.
Online Access: There will be no shortage of online sports betting opportunities. Bettors can register, deposit and wager from anywhere within state lines without having to complete registration at a brick-and-mortar gaming partner.
Sportsbook Launch Date: Maryland officials are also hoping for a launch ahead of this year’s football season, perennially the most lucrative time of the year for sportsbook operators.
The wide range of licensees, including some that may have limited prior gaming experience, could delay some operators, but many major operators and those partnered with the state’s existing gaming facilities (including Penn National’s Barstool Sports) should launch by the target date.
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