Several States Make Moves On Legal Sports And Mobile Betting As NFL Season Jogs On

November 5, 2021

By a Biometrica staffer

A number of states are gaining ground on legalizing sports betting, while others that have already done so are seeing soaring revenues. Here is a round-up of recent news on the casino, gaming, and sports betting front:

Iowa saw a record $280.9 million revenue from sports bets in October, the state’s Racing & Gaming Commission said Thursday, Nov. 4. The previous record was only set in September, with last month’s revenues beating that number by about $70 million. Experts say that five weekends of professional and college football were behind the surge in sportsbook revenue. The total for the fiscal year beginning July 1 now stands at $689.3 million, with the state having netted around $1.81 million in tax revenues so far.

The New York State Gaming Commission is set to meet on Monday, Nov. 8, on the issue of awarding mobile sports licenses. It is not clear yet who the recommended operators or platform providers are, though some reports say “at least two groups that have a total of nine operators between them have been given paperwork tied to their selection.” Also expected to come up are the public comments on the rules regulating mobile sports betting.

Similarly, lawmakers in Mississippi are working on a mobile betting app bill to boost its regional competitiveness. Neighboring Louisiana has already opened up its first sportsbooks and hopes to have mobile sports betting up and running by the end of the year, putting gaming operators in Mississippi on edge as they worry about losing out on revenue. The draft bill will focus on protecting brick-and-mortar casinos in the state.

Racing & Gaming Commission of Nebraska, on the other hand, has announced that a final draft of casino regulations will be released in a week’s time, on Nov. 12. Voters in the state approved a measure to legalize casino gambling at horse racing tracks last year, and since then the commission has spoken to consultants, the gaming industry, and the public. A public hearing on the proposed rules will be held on Dec. 17 and tracks will likely not be able to apply for licenses until early in the new year.

The state gaming commission in Maryland approved on Thursday, Nov. 4, the sports-waging operators that are partnered with five casinos that are still waiting for their licenses to be awarded by the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission. This delays the launch of sports betting in the state, which advocates are hoping will still happen in time for the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl in the first few weeks of 2022.

North Carolina is still pushing its own legislation on legalizing sports betting, with a bill from the state Senate re-emerging in the House on Thursday after a committee approved its passing. It now will have to move through three other House committees before the overall chamber can vote on it. The Senate approved the measure in August. Experts say that sports betting is already occurring in the state and not legalizing it is depriving the state of valuable tax revenue.

In Arizona, Friday, Nov. 5, marks the first time a sportsbook at a tribal casino in the Phoenix area goes live. The Vee Quiva, a Gila River Indian Community casino, will open the BetMGM sportsbook at 9:30 am. The first sportsbooks in the state opened earlier this year, in September, but this will mark the first time in Phoenix that a sportsbook is open at “an operating casino where gamblers have other gambling options.”

Residents in Minnesota will have to wait until at least the next session to see any movement on legal sports wagers, however, with some lawmakers saying they are committed to reintroducing bills on this front when they get a chance.

Meanwhile, a top State Senator in Missouri is hoping that pressure from professional sports teams in St. Louis and Kansas City to legalize sports betting could help ban the illegal slot machines that have become increasingly popular at gas stations and liquor stores. The debate over these issues has been going on for three years now but has not yet come to a final vote.