Sports gambling has been legalized in a handful of countries in 2018, and the District of Columbia is working on its own bill in the 11th hour.
In general, however, the year has largely been a dud for online gaming expansion. Michigan is still flirting with legalization, but the calendar isn’t promising for online gambling in the Wolverine State this year.
As we’ve said many times previously, there is always next year.
We are on to 2019
With states ramping up toward 2019 legislative acts, gambling is expected to be one of the hotter topics. Much of the appetite originates from the May 2018 Supreme Court decision that paved the way for legalized sports gambling in the usa.
Sports betting will consume most of the oxygen in 2019, but online poker and casinos will stay on some countries’ agendas — just as they have for many years.
We got a little carried away after Pennsylvania passed a bill in 2017 and optimistically named 15 candidate says , albeit with the word”candidate” as judiciously as possible. While the subject did surface in at least a half dozen of these, not a single one passed online gambling laws in 2018.
This year, the list of candidates we’ve compiled is more concentrated, as we attempt to separate the contenders from the pretenders.
Where’s online gambling likely to be discussed?
Once again, you can expect to see online gambling bills pop up around the nation in 2019. Legislation has previously been introduced in some of the most-populous US countries, and several of these are likely to take another swing at online casino and/or poker.
What’s more, with sports gambling (and online sports gambling ) a possible topic of discussion in dozens of others, there is a good chance online gambling is going to be thrown into the mix in some new locales.
At this moment, though, only a handful of countries can be considered decent contenders. That announcement is loosely bounded by the caveat that we’ve seen states come out of nowhere and introduce legislation before.
Which countries are real contenders?
In no particular order, here are the five leading candidates for online gambling in 2019:
OPR will take a deeper dive into each of those states in future articles. Use this momentum tracker to keep up with the dialogue.
In the meantime, here is an overall barometer of where each state stands going into 2019.
Connecticut: Trying not to mix sports betting and online gambling
When Connecticut jumped into the sports gambling conversation in the summer of 2018, the state’s two gambling tribes endorsed the idea. They also endorsed the legalization of online gaming . That lead to some discussions about an omnibus approach to growth .
At the end of the day, however, the state chose to punt the issue into 2019.
Unfortunately, it does not look like the two issues will remain entangled. Back-channel chatter indicates the two will be decoupled going forward. It’s sports betting which has the momentum, regardless of the tribes telling the country that online gambling presents the greater opportunity for all involved.
With both tribes on board, however, the two issues may still coalesce if sports gambling legislation runs into any hurdles.
Illinois: Ongoing efforts for omnibus bill
Illinois has taken a stab at legalizing daily fantasy sports (DFS) and online gambling for many years running. Lawmakers have made some recent inroads by combining the two, along with sports gambling in 2018.
But these efforts ultimately fell short every time.
Sports gambling headwinds should drive the conversation forward in 2019, provided the country keeps online gambling and DFS tied to legislation. In that case, Illinois would be a good candidate in 2019.
Michigan: The new California?
Earlier this year, the Michigan House passed an internet gambling and sports betting bill. If the Michigan Senate does the same during the upcoming lame-duck session, then the remainder of this section will probably be moot.
The smart money is on the country falling short, however, just as it has since 2016. It is not in California territory yet, but Michigan does resemble the Golden State when it comes to online gambling.
The likeness isn’t only because of its fondness of introducing but never passing legislation, but also the tribal-commercial casino dynamics that produce a key sticking point. And like their counterparts in California, lawmakers in Michigan may be growing tired over the lack of compromise so far.
There are also several other complicating factors that Michigan will need to address going into 2019:
The requirement for a new bill, and apparently starting the process over from scratchLegislative turnover and a new governor that will require getting new members up to speed on the issueThe loss of online gambling’s winner, Sen. Mike Kowall, in the Senate.New York: Let’s give this another shot
New York’s inability to pass an internet poker bill has been vexing.
Legislation has breezed through the NY Senate on multiple occasions, only to run into an invisible brick wall in the lower chamber. Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, the key lawmaker on gambling issues, has provided a carousel of explanations to explain the Assembly’s inaction.
Together with the state poised to take on sports gambling in 2019, online poker will most likely get another look. Just don’t expect the two issues to commingle. That is something Pretlow is not a fan of performing ; he prefers clean bills.
And like Michigan, New York is losing an internet poker winner , Sen. John Bonacic, to retirement.
West Virginia: Sleeper select that could come through
Whenever someone mentions West Virginia, the words”innovative on online gambling” don’t immediately come to mind. However, it is in fact one of the more progressive states on front. It had been the first to legalize sports gambling in 2018, remember, now poised to take its own industry online in the near future.
Furthermore, West Virginia has taken a look at online lottery and online gaming in the past, such as a relevant bill in both 2017 and 2018.
With the state continually searching for new streams of revenue and job creation, and with its own casinos facing stiff competition from neighboring countries, online gambling could be a good fit. As it has been to date, a fairly conservative legislature will continue to be the principal hangup.
The reticence to”enlarge” gambling could change, however, if lawmakers get a flavor of online sports betting’s consumer protections and earnings.