With spring on the horizon, it’s time to turn attention to the progress being made by states that could add online sports betting through legislative sessions this year.
Any state that adds sports betting in 2023 will join the more than 30 others (including Washington D.C.) that have some form of wagering (whether it be retail-only, or retail and online).
U.S. Betting Report put together a list of where each state that’s debating wagering and mobile sports betting apps stands as the clock ticks on the 2023 legislative calendar.
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Georgia Debating Multiple Wagering Bills
A trio of bills legalizing sports betting have made various steps in both chambers of the Georgia legislature this session, giving fresh hope the Peach State could join the wagering fray soon.
Between HB-380, SB-57 and SR-140, there’s no shortage of legislative options, with each piece offering slightly different verbiage but with a similar aim.
The lone bill in the House would slap a 20% tax rate on online-only wagers, with funds going towards the state’s education system, while the others include a mobile-and-retail bill and a ballot initiative.
SB-57, which is the only one of the three to pass its first committee hearing (clearing the Economic Development Committee by an 8-1 margin last week), allows both options of wagering and a similar tax rate as HB-380.
Both bills are built out so they don’t require a ballot initiative, which would allow them to go into place before the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons kick off their season this fall.
The third and final piece of legislation working its way through the Georgia legislature is a ballot initiative, in SR-140, which would amend the state’s constitution to add sports betting and raffles by nonprofit organizations to the existing state lottery system.
So far, the senate resolution has been read once and has not made it out of any of the committees in the state senate.
Georgia’s 40-day legislative session for 2023 runs through March 30.
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Kentucky Tries Again On Sports Betting
So far, a single piece of legislation regarding Kentucky sports betting has made its way through the legislature in Frankfort.
HB-551, which has the support of 12 House members split evenly among the two political parties, was filed by Republican Rep. Michael Meredith.
The legislation differs from past pieces, in its sole focus on legalizing sports betting, with no mention of daily fantasy sports or online poker.
The bill would let the state’s nine horse tracks partner with up to three operators apiece, so long as they pay a $50,000 licensing fee and an annual charge of $500,000.
The legislation was introduced in the state house Feb. 22 and is slated to go before the House Licensing, Occupations & Administrative Regulations committee at some point this week, though a time and date have not been released as of Monday morning.
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Missouri Narrows Its Focus On Sports Betting
A pair of sports betting bills have cleared their first hurdles in Missouri’s two legislative chambers, while a third failed before it ever got going.
Both HB-556 and SB-30, which are sports betting-focused pieces of legislation, are still alive in their respective chambers, while SB-1, which would have legalized sports betting and video lottery terminals, died in its first committee.
HB-556 is sponsored by Rep. Dan Houx and co-sponsored by Democratic Rep. Keri Ingle and Republicans Dave Hinman and Adam Schwadron.
The legislation passed its first hurdle last Thursday, when the House Emerging Issues committee passed the bill along to a full House vote at a later date.
No further action has been unveiled on the bill, though we’ll probably know more about HB-556’s fate in the coming days.
In the Show Me State’s other chamber, a pair of sports betting bills faced divergent outcomes last week, with SB-1 dying in committee and SB-30 making its way onto the full Senate floor for a vote.
The first legislation (SB-1) was sponsored by Sen. Denny Hoskins of Warrensburg and would legalize online and retail wagering, in addition to video lottery terminals.
The addition of the latter was a poison pill for the state’s riverboat casino operators, who combined to chip in nearly $2 billion in revenue to the state during the 2021-22 fiscal year.
As a result, SB-1 did not clear its first vote in the Senate Appropriations committee, while SB-30, which is a wagering-only bill that legalizes sports betting at the state’s casinos and mobile betting across the state, breezed through the same committee as SB-1.
Lawmakers in Jefferson City have until May 30 to pass either of the surviving sports betting bills, giving them plenty of time to avoid a similar result as last session, when the state Senate shot down wagering at the last minute.
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Minnesota Set To Debate Bill This Week
A historic blizzard upended the schedule for Minnesota’s lone sports betting bill in the state’s legislature last week.
Now, HF-2000 and its senate companion bill (Senate File 1949), which would legalize mobile and retail sports betting in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, will go before the House Commerce, Finance and Policy Committee this week.
The bill would pave the way for mobile and retail wagering, allowing the state’s 11 Native American tribes that have existing casinos exclusive access to sports betting licenses.
The legislation features similar verbiage to HF-778, which failed to clear the state Senate after passing the House by a 70-57 margin last year, such as a 10% tax rate and the number of licenses available (11).
Whether last year’s objections over professional sports teams not getting licenses pops up again this cycle remains to be seen.
Lawmakers in Minnesota have until May 22 to get sports betting legislation across the finish line.
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North Carolina Could Make Waves In 2023
The 2023 legislative session in Raleigh is expected to be a busy one, especially when it comes to sports betting legalization.
Though no bills have been filed in either chamber as of Monday morning, Gov. Roy Cooper has expressed his hope such legislation can clear the finish line in 2023.
Cooper told reporters last week he’s hopeful this year’s session will have a different outcome than a year ago, when the House voted down SB-688, by a 51-50 margin after the legislation cleared the Senate.
Now, North Carolina lawmakers must present a sports betting bill that can garner enough support from Democrats and Republicans alike to clear both chambers of the legislature, unlike previous pieces of legislation.
They’ll have plenty of time to do so, as the state’s legislature is in session until July 28.
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Biennial Texas Legislature Takes on Wagering
The Lone Star State’s biennial legislative session is back in Austin, giving lawmakers hope 2023 is the year to get sports betting on the ballot.
So far, a handful of bills have been volleyed into the legislative process to legalize Texas sports betting, including SB-715 and HB-1942.
The lone legislation in the state Senate is sponsored by Republican Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, who is from Brenham and has the support of Lt. Gov. Mike Patrick, an outspoken opponent of wagering in the past.
SB-715, or the Texas Sports and Entertainment Recovery Act, slaps a 10% tax rate on mobile-only wagering in Texas, with sports organizations being the only ones that would receive licenses as part of the bill.
The bill tags a permitting fee of $500,000 and a $25,000 application charge on any “sports entity” that applies for license, with members of the Texas Sports Betting Alliance backing her bill.
Members of said alliance include former Gov. Rick Perry, as well as the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, the Houston Astros, San Antonio Spurs, PGA Tour and DraftKings.
HB-1942 is sponsored by Republican Rep. Jeff Leach and allows the state’s sports teams and race tracks to apply for wagering licenses.
As part of Leach’s bill, entities would pay a “permitting fee” of $500,000 and an application fee of $25,000. As part of his bill, sports teams, sports facilities and Class 1 race tracks would be allowed to apply.
Both pieces of legislation would put sports betting on the 2023 ballot in Texas, allowing voters in the state to have the final say.
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