Legal Sports Betting Bill Updates: Where Georgia, Arizona & 4 Other States Stand

Legal Sports Betting Bill Updates: Where Georgia, Arizona & 4 Other States Stand article feature image
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Andrew Davis Tucker/Collegiate Images/Getty Images. Pictured: Georgia Bulldog

No state has technically passed a sports betting bill into legalization in 2021, but one state legislature has passed a bill while another five have advanced bills through at least one of their legislature’s chambers.

Here’s where these six sports betting hopefuls stand.

Arizona Sports Betting Bill

Arizona sports betting legislation has marched forward despite opposition – and major political obstacles ahead.

Current Status: Passed House, now in Senate committee

Session Ends: May 28

Key Details: The House advanced a statewide mobile sports betting bill earlier this month despite some members of both party’s taxation and regulation concerns. It faces a stiffer challenge in the Senate, where powerful Appropriations Committee Chair David Gowan has pushed a rival bill that would also permit historic horse racing. The House bill — backed by Gov. Doug Ducey, state gaming tribes, professional sports teams and top sportsbook brands — falls apart if historic horse racing is included, setting up a political collision course that will determine the state’s 2021 sports betting hopes.

Georgia Sports Betting Bill

Georgia — one of the nation’s more politically conservative state legislatures — has advanced sports betting legislation as more challenges lie ahead.

Current Status: Passed Senate, now in House committee

Session Ends: April 2

Key Details: Bills to allow a 2022 sports betting constitutional amendment ballot measure and regulate sportsbooks passed the Senate with bipartisan support earlier this month. The House may not do the same. Anti-gambling conservatives are still skeptical about even voters’ choice to approve sports betting on a ballot measure and could tank the Senate bill. House members already stalled a separate, more expansive House bill, which foreshadows the political difficulties remaining for Georgia sports betting.

Kansas Sports Betting Bill

Kansas lawmakers largely support legal wagering, but licensee allocation could stall further progress.

Current Status: Passed Senate, now in House committee

Session Ends: May 30

Key Details: Top sportsbooks brands such as Penn National’s Barstool Sports, FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM are pushing a Senate bill that allows 12 online sports betting licenses. They oppose a competing House bill that expands wagering to state horse tracks and lottery retailers. The sportsbook-backed Senate bill has made more progress so far, but it still has to clear concerns around the more inclusive House bill or risk dying short of legalization.

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Maryland Sports Betting Bill

Maryland lawmakers are steadily advancing a bill that would permit as many as 15 online and 22 retail sportsbooks following resounding voter support on a 2020 ballot measure.

Current Status: Passed House of Delegates, now in Senate committee

Session Ends: April 12

Key Details: The House advanced its Speaker-sponsored sports betting bill 130-9 earlier this week, giving it additional momentum as it heads to the Senate. Lawmakers have adjusted the bill several times already, and concerns remain about license allocation and other key issues, but nothing seems politically formidable enough to delay the bill’s passage. The final bill should be on the desk of Gov. Larry Hogan, a sports betting supporter, by next month. Legal wagering could begin later this year.

South Dakota Sports Betting Bill

After easily clearing both the House and Senate, South Dakota sports betting is just a signature away from legalization.

Current Status: Awaiting Gov. Kristi Noem’s signature

Session End: March 29

Key Details: The South Dakota Legislature transmitted the retail-only sports betting bill on March 10. Noem has five business days to veto the bill, sign it into law or let it pass without her signature. Both houses passed the bill, a follow-up to a 2020 ballot measure, with veto-proof majorities, basically guaranteeing the bill passes into law. Retail sportsbooks at casinos in Deadwood and certain Native American lands could come by the 2021 football season.

Wyoming Sports Betting Bill

Wyoming sports betting hopes gained an unexpected reprieve this week. The next votes could be even tougher.

Current Status: Passed House, now in Senate committee

Session Ends: April 2

Key Details: Two lawmakers switched their votes on a statewide mobile wagering bill a day after the House killed it, reviving “dead” legislation and sending it to the Senate. Backers must still overcome license allocation questions between commercial sportsbooks and the state’s Native American tribes — on top of arguably the nation’s most conservative legislative body. Wyoming would join Tennessee (another politically conservative state) as America’s lone online-only markets, but it faces long odds in the gambling-averse upper chamber.

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