States That Considered Sports Betting in 2022
Almost all state legislatures have wrapped up their 2022 legislative sessions. Movement on legalizing sports betting continues in one state still in session, Massachusetts. However, less progress was made by proponents of sports betting overall than was initially expected as only two states legalized sports betting this year – Kansas and Maine.
Legalized Sports Betting
On May 12, 2022, Governor Laura Kelly signed Senate Bill 84 into law, legalizing sports betting in Kansas. NCPG testified in Kansas in writing and in person and successfully had amendments focused on problem gambling included in the legislation. Thanks to NCPG’s advocacy, Kansas’s legislation includes 2% of tax revenue from sports betting for problem gambling services, treatment, research, and the creation of a state helpline. The legislation also includes common-sense advertising restrictions, self-exclusion, a ban on operators issuing lines of credit to bettors, and the requirement that betting apps include tools to assist players in making responsible decisions. The state’s regulators expect sports betting to launch in late 2022. More information on the legislation can be found here.
Governor Janet Mills signed LD 585 into law on May 2, 2022, legalizing sports betting in Maine. The law was part of a larger package on tribal rights in the state. The law gives sports betting exclusively to the state’s Native American tribes and grants broad power to the state regulator to decide what sports betting will look like in the state. The legislation includes 1% of tax revenue from sports betting for problem gambling services. The state regulator does not expect sports betting to launch until 2023.
On August 10, 2022 Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed House Bill 5164 into law, legalizing sports betting in the state. The Massachusetts legislature initially passed sports betting legalization bills months ago in both the House and the Senate. However, they looked very different from one another. House Bill 3993 passed in 2021 and took a more conventional approach to sports betting. Senate Bill 2862 passed in April 2022 and was much stricter on player protections and problem gambling. A conference committee made up of members from both chambers met and worked out the differences between the two bills, agreeing on a compromise bill that passed both chambers in the early morning hours of August 1, 2022. The compromise bill requires sports bettors in the state to be 21, instructs the state gaming commission to promulgate advertising rules, creates an annual research agenda to inform the commission, bars betting on colleges in the state (except when a part of a tournament), and devotes money to problem gambling. The Massachusetts Council on Gaming and Health is the lead advocate for problem gamblers to the Massachusetts legislature.
Tried but Failed to Legalize Sports Betting
Alabama introduced SB 294 to legalize sports betting in the state in early March. The bill had a hearing on March 9th and NCPG, in coordination with the Alabama Council on Compulsive Gambling, testified in writing in support of including an amendment to the legislation that focused on problem gambling. The bill did not make it any further in the legislature and died when the legislature adjourned in early April.
A sports betting legalization bill was introduced in Alaska in 2022. NCPG monitored the legislation and was prepared to advocate for problem gambling provisions, but the bill did not make any significant progress and died with minimal consideration.
A sports betting legalization bill was introduced in Georgia in 2022. NCPG monitored the legislation and was prepared to advocate for problem gambling provisions, but the bill did not make any significant progress and died with minimal consideration.
A sports betting legalization bill was introduced in Hawaii in 2022. NCPG monitored the legislation and was prepared to advocate for problem gambling provisions, but the bill did not make any significant progress and died with minimal consideration.
Two relevant pieces of legislation were introduced in Kentucky in early 2022. The first bill would have legalized sports betting in the state, the second would have put $225 million the state won in a court settlement with an online gambling website, PokerStars, into an account, with interest from the account used exclusively for problem gambling services, treatment, and research. The problem gambling funding bill passed the House in early April with its principal amount reduced to $50 million but died, along with the sports wagering bill, in the Senate on April 14th. NCPG worked in concert with the Kentucky Council on Problem Gambling to assist in advocacy in the state for the problem gambling funding legislation.
A sports betting bill in Minnesota died after the legislature adjourned on May 22nd. The state looked poised to legalize sports betting until a Senate committee added sports betting licenses for horse racing tracks in the state. This was a non-starter for some Senators and an agreement could not be reached before the session concluded. Lawmakers will surely make another pass at sports betting in 2023. NCPG submitted written testimony in Minnesota and worked closely with the Minnesota Alliance on Problem Gambling, who led the charge in the state for ensuring the legislation included resources for problem gambling treatment and services.
Missouri was on the cusp of legalizing sports betting when the deal fell apart after a Senator tried to include the legalization of Video Lottery Terminals (VLTS) in the state. VLTs function like slot machines and are currently found in convenience stores in the state. VLTs operate in a legal gray area, and other gaming entities in the state oppose them given that they are not regulated and may poach customers from other gaming establishments. However, some Senators felt VLTs must be legitimized in law before sports gambling is legalized in the state. This disagreement ultimately killed the bill in Missouri. NCPG testified in Missouri in writing and in person and was successful in ensuring amendments that focused on problem gambling were included in later iterations of the legislation. NCPG hopes to pick up where we left off in 2023 in Missouri should a sports betting bill be re-introduced.
Senate Bill 688 would legalize sports betting in North Carolina. It passed the Senate in 2021, and passed multiple House committees in 2022, but failed by only one vote on the House floor in June. The legislature adjourned for 2022 at the end of June without any further action on the sports betting bill, thereby ensuring the bill will not become law in 2022. The most recent version of the bill did include voluntary self-exclusion, advertising guidelines, and $1,000,000 a year for problem gambling education and treatment. NCPG closely monitored the legislation and submitted testimony to relevant House members while the bill was under consideration. NCPG is prepared to build off that advocacy should the bill be introduced again in 2023.
A sports betting legalization bill was introduced in South Carolina in 2022. NCPG monitored the legislation and was prepared to advocate for problem gambling provisions, but the bill did not make any significant progress and died with minimal consideration.
The Vermont legislature introduced a bill to legalize sports betting in April 2022. The bill had a hearing in the Senate Committee on Development on April 15, 2022. NCPG testified virtually at the hearing and submitted comments on how the responsible and problem gambling provisions in the bill could be strengthened. However, the legislation died when the legislature adjourned for the year on May 12th. We believe our comments will be used for future iterations of the bill if re-introduced in 2023.
Still Up in the Air on Legalizing Sports Betting
California, unlike most states, requires a constitutional amendment through a ballot initiative to legalize sports betting. Currently, tribes in the state and gambling operators are competing against each other on dueling ballot initiatives. The tribal initiative would only allow retail sports betting at tribal casinos, while the operator initiative would allow mobile sports betting throughout the state. Which initiative (if any) will win out in November remains to be seen. NCPG is neutral as to legalized gambling and does not prefer one amendment over the other or the status quo. NCPG does support and will advocate for problem gambling funding and provisions in any law that passes in the state legalizing sports betting.
Please email Government Relations Manager Cole Wogoman at ColeW@NCPGambling.org
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