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While the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday opened the door for sports betting to become legal, it might be at least a year before that occurs in most states, a gaming industry expert said.

"Broadly speaking, you're looking at a few distinct waves" in how states will proceed, said Chris Grove, who oversees the sports betting practice of Eilers & Krejcik Gaming LLC, a California-based research firm that serves the gaming industry.

The first wave comprises a handful of states that basically have legal mechanisms in place and were just waiting for a favorable ruling from the high court. This includes New Jersey, West Virginia, Delaware and Mississippi. The next involves a slightly larger set of states whose legislatures are still in session and have sports betting bills pending. California, New York, Illinois and Michigan are among this group.

"The largest group of states will wait until 2019 because they are out of session or almost out of session," Grave said. "That might seem strange because it's so early in this year, but that's how the political work calendar works."

He said about 20 states have considered, or are considering, sports betting, "and I expect that number to balloon." How, and when, states move on this "will be heavily influenced by the actions of neighboring states," he added.

"It may not be as pronounced as with land-based casinos, but many states will act if they haven't already," he said.

To find out where progress toward sports betting stands on a state-by-state basis, USA TODAY attempted to contact the governor's offices of 25 states that have not been currently active on the issue. It also compiled information from across the USA TODAY Network and from data collected this month by Eilers & Krejcik, which contacted the National Conference of State Legislatures to determine whether lawmakers remain in session.

Alabama: State Constitution currently prohibits all forms of gambling, according to Daniel Sparkman, a spokesperson for the governor's office. Asked whether there has been any legislative discussion about -- or a proposal or referendum aimed at -- changing the state constitution, Sparkman replied: "Not to my knowledge and our legislature doesn't meet again until March 2019."

Alaska: Austin Baird, a spokesperson for Gov. Bill Walker's office, confirmed that "there has been no legislative activity on this issue in Alaska."

Arizona: While the legislature did not consider any sports gambling bills in its most recent session, Gov. Doug Ducey called Monday's decision "positive news."

"We have been working on a modernized gaming compact," Ducey wrote on Twitter. "This ruling gives Arizona options that could benefit our citizens and our general fund."

Arkansas: Hasn't considered sports gambling legislation, and Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he is reviewing the Supreme Court's decision and "we will be monitoring this closely."

California: There is a bill active that would authorize the state legislature to permit sports betting if a change in federal law occurred that would allow the state to have sports betting.

Colorado: Title 18 of the state constitution explicitly notes that gambling on sports is illegal, and Jacque Montgomery, a spokesperson for Gov. John Hickenlooper's office, confirmed that the legalization of sports gambling in the state would therefore require "a vote of the People."

Connecticut: Gov. Dannel Malloy issued a statement that said he is prepared to call the General Assembly into a special session to consider legalizing sports betting in the state: "It is incumbent on us to consider the question of legalized sports betting in a thoughtful way that ensures our approach is responsible, smart and fully realizes the economic potential that this opportunity provides."

Delaware: Sports betting of a sort already is allowed but limited to multigame bets on NFL games. "If it is permissible under the (Supreme Court) opinion, full-scale sports gaming could be available at Delaware's casinos before the end of June," Gov. John Carney said in a release.

Florida: "We will review the court's ruling. Any changes to Florida's gaming laws would be made by the Florida Legislature," McKinley Lewis, deputy communications director for Gov. Rick Scott, said in a statement.

Georgia: "There is no pending legislation regarding this, and the next session to debate something like this is in January 2019, when the governor (Nathan Deal) will no longer hold office," said Jen Talaber Ryan, the deputy chief of staff for communications in Deal's office.

Hawaii: There a bill active that would establish a commission that would undertake "an independent analysis of the economic and social costs and benefits" of an array of gaming and wagering in the state, including sports betting. The commission also would determine if gaming would be feasible and what form of gaming would be most appropriate for the state.

Idaho: Has not recently considered sports gambling legislation.

Illinois: There are several bills active, including one that -- with Monday's ruling -- would authorize sports betting in the state to occur with licensees under the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975. This bill also would create the Division of Sports Wagering within the Illinois Gaming Board to issue licenses. Another bill authorizes sports wagering at a facility that is authorized to conduct gambling operations under the Riverboat Gambling Act.

Indiana: State Rep. Alan Morrison, R-Terre Haute, has introduced bills the past few years, but they haven't advanced far enough for a vote. Morrison said he's "very pleased and excited about the decision" and thinks legalizing sports gambling in Indiana has a "fairly good" chance of passing next year.

Iowa: State Rep. Jake Highfill, R-Johnston, said Monday that he will introduce a proposal to legalize sports betting when the legislature convenes in January. Brenna Smith, press secretary to Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, issued a statement saying: "Given the Supreme Court's opinion, the governor will explore options with the legislature next year."

Kansas: Several active bills would allow sports betting, but the bills differ about where such betting would be allowed to occur -- only at racetracks or also at other sites.

Kentucky: Had bills that would have authorized sports betting at horse racing tracks and/or under authority of the Kentucky Lottery Corp.

Louisiana: There is an active bill that would allow sports betting at eligible live horse racing facilities.

Maine: The state has not recently considered any sports gambling legislation.

Maryland: Bills that would have put sports betting to a referendum vote this November did not get through the legislature.

Massachusetts: There is an active bill that, with Monday's ruling, would create a "special commission to conduct a comprehensive study and offer proposed legislation relative to the regulation of online sports betting."

Michigan: Eight current bills would expand gambling, including several that would legalize sports betting and wagers on fantasy sports. Four have gotten votes in committee -- three that would allow Internet gambling and another that would legalize fantasy sports betting -- but none have gotten votes in either the full House of Representatives or the Senate. Four other bills, including three that would legalize sports betting and allow the Michigan lottery to handle those wagers and another fantasy sports betting bill, haven't gotten hearings yet in committee.

Minnesota: Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, has publicly stumped for Minnesota to work under the assumption that sports betting will be legalized, prior to Monday's news. Despite his efforts, the legislature has yet to consider a sports betting bill. The legislature will adjourn on May 21.

Mississippi: Gambling officials have said casinos could be up and running with betting on professional and college sports within 45 days of Monday's ruling. The Mississippi Legislature, unbeknownst to most lawmakers and citizens, legalized sports betting in Mississippi casinos last year by deleting a snippet of law that prohibited betting on any games that occur outside casinos. The deletion was made -- and not announced to most lawmakers -- in a measure dealing with regulation of fantasy sports. Mississippi Gaming Commission Director Allen Godfrey has said the new Mississippi law allows sports betting, subject to regulation by the commission.

Missouri: Several sports gambling bills have been discussed in Missouri, but The Kansas City Star reported that only one of them has advanced out of committee, making it unlikely that any measure will pass before the state legislature adjourns next week.

Montana: Some forms of sports gambling are already legal in Montana, according to the state's justice department -- including fantasy sports leagues and pools in which people bet against one another, rather than the house. It's unclear whether Monday's news will lead to a broader legalization of sports gambling.

Nebraska: The state has not recently considered any sports gambling legislation.

Nevada: Sports gambling is already legal in Nevada.

New Hampshire: Gov. Chris Sununu said in a statement: "Legalized sports betting in New Hampshire? I'll give it 3-1."

New Jersey: The state's law, signed by then-Gov. Chris Christie in 2014, was the basis for the legal battle that culminated in Monday's ruling. Current Gov. Phil Murphy issued a statement Monday saying he will look at enacting a new version of the law "in the very near future."

New Mexico: Has not recently considered sports gambling legislation.

New York: State lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo approved language in 2013 that would allow wagering on athletic events if the federal ban on sports wagering was struck down. But Cuomo said Monday that he's in no rush to move forward and suggested a new law would have to be passed, questioning whether it can be done this year before lawmakers end their annual session next month. "We'll do an economic analysis and a legal analysis, but nothing's going to happen this year because there's literally just a number of days left in the legislative session and this would be a very big issue to tackle," Cuomo told reporters in Manhattan.

North Carolina: Has not recently considered any sports gambling legislation.

North Dakota: Gov. Doug Burgum was among governors who signed an amicus brief in support of New Jersey's case. "I supported New Jersey's appeal based on the principle that without a valid federal law pre-empting state law, Congress can't prevent states from enacting, modifying or repealing their own laws," Burgum said in a statement. "We're not aware of any sports betting legislation being proposed, and the Governor's Office has no plans to propose such legislation. Should such legislation be forwarded to me, I will carefully evaluate it as with any other bill that comes across my desk."

Ohio: "Expanding gambling has not been a priority for this administration, and that remains unchanged," communications director Jim Lynch said.

Oklahoma: The legislature was, at one point in its most recent session, considering language that would legalize sports betting. But the final version of House Bill 3375, which is colloquially known as the "ball and dice," instead focused on the expansion of casino games, and it is immediately unclear whether legislators will renew sports gambling efforts in 2019.

Oregon: The state, via the Oregon Lottery, was offering its "Sports Action" NFL parlay game before the enactment of the law that was struck down Monday, so the game had always been grandfathered in. But the Lottery stopped offering the game in 2007 as the state wanted to get out from under the NCAA's refusal to stage championship events where any type of sports betting was allowed. Now that appears to be moot.

Pennsylvania: In 2017, the state passed a law authorizing sports betting in the state if federal law allowed states to regulate the activity. Now that day is here. But the state's law also called for a $10 million licensing fee and 34% tax rate on this revenue, and those might be tough conditions for potential sports betting operators.

Rhode Island: An active bill would allow sports betting to be operated by the state lottery at existing casinos in the state, but it would prohibit betting on any collegiate sports event in the state or any college sports event outside the state involving any "state college team."

South Carolina: An active bill would amend the state constitution so that the legislature would have the authority to allow gambling, including sports betting and betting on horse racing.

South Dakota: South Dakota's legislative session ended more than a month ago, and Tony Venhuizen, a spokesperson for Gov. Dennis Daugaard's office, told USA TODAY there is no active legislation related to sports gambling in the state. "Governor Daugaard is leaving office at the end of this year, so it will be up to the new Governor and Legislature elected in November to consider this possibility next year," Venhuizen wrote in an email.

Tennessee: "As the Tennessee General Assembly has adjourned for the year, there is no additional legislation under consideration at this time. Additionally, we are still reviewing the Supreme Court's decision in the case," press secretary Jennifer Donnals said.

Texas: Has not recently considered legislation pertaining to sports gambling. A spokesperson for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday's ruling.

Utah: Has not recently considered any sports gambling legislation.

Vermont: Has not recently considered any sports gambling legislation.

Virginia: A spokesman for Gov. Ralph Northam said: "We're reviewing the ruling and would review any legislation should the General Assembly decide to take up the matter. (There is) no active legislation that I'm aware of on this topic."

Washington: The Washington State Gambling Commission said in a statement that legalizing sports gambling would require a vote from the state legislature -- "most likely, a 60% majority."

West Virginia: A bill that became law in March was just waiting for a favorable ruling from the high court. Regulations need to be set, but sports wagering should soon be allowed at licensed casinos in the state.

Wisconsin: "The legislature is not in session and there is no pending legislation on this," said Steve Michels, assistant deputy secretary of the state's department of administration. "Sports gaming is prohibited by the Wisconsin constitution, state law, and is not allowed under the state tribal compacts."

Wyoming: The state has not recently considered any sports gambling legislation.

Contributing: Mark Alesia, The Indianapolis Star; Jon Capbell and Joseph Spector, (Rochester, N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle; Scott Goss, The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal; Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press; Geoff Pender, The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Miss.); A.J. Perez, USA TODAY; William Petroski, The Des Moines Register.

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May 15, 2018
 
 
 

 

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