Louisiana, Maryland And South Dakota Approve Sports Betting

With Louisiana, Maryland and South Dakota each authorising ballot measures to legalise sports betting, this week has seen a burst of activity among states seeking to expand their gaming bid. Voters in Colorado, Nebraska, and Virginia, meanwhile, got the green light for increased casino gaming.

55 out of 64 parishes voted in favour of legal sports wagering in Louisiana. This included those who gave their backing to Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette, St Tammany, Jefferson, Ascension, Livingston, St Bernard, West Baton Rouge, Plaquemines, St Charles and Terrebonne.

Although that signals a strong go-ahead for those parishes, it is still important to formalise the finer details of how the legislation will shape up. In terms of timing, it is possible that the first legal bets will be made in late 2021, but that could continue into early 2022. Either way, state policy makers would be keen to discourage more spending on sports betting from creeping into neighbouring Mississippi across the frontier.

Turning to Maryland, sports enthusiasts used a referendum to vote by a margin of two to one on legal betting, paving the way for a legitimate sports wagering company by 2021. The proposed structure introduces a 20 percent state betting levy, 19 percent of which would support education and the remaining 1 percent for the minority business entertainment programme in Maryland. Policymakers expect that the state will contribute more than $18 m in revenue annually.

If the state’s legislative efforts go to plan, tourists to Deadwood in South Dakota can also look forward to making a legal sporting wager by late 2021. There, voters provided recommendations by a margin of 58 percent versus 42 percent, opening the way ahead for sports betting at commercial casinos and a dozen tribal casinos in the gold mining town.

What remains unclear is how the legal structure would look, with question marks hanging over the implementation of mobile sports betting that will be confined to commercial venues in Deadwood under current laws. It’s a circumstance that providers of geolocation solutions would be eyeing carefully.

Bill Miller, President and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA), greeted news of the recent legislative moves positively.

In a broader statement on the gaming sector’s current position, he said: “Yesterday, voters in Colorado, Nebraska, and Virginia expanded casino gaming while Louisiana, Maryland, and South Dakota approved ballot initiatives legalizing sports betting. With their affirmative votes, Americans welcomed gaming’s world-class entertainment to their communities along with our new jobs and vital state and local tax revenue.

“Some form of legal gaming is currently authorized in 44 states, and 45 percent of American adults live in states that provide the safeguards of a legal, regulated sports betting market.”