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Sports Betting Laws: An Update

Written by Casimir Moninghoff

November 6, 2020

As many of you know, Tuesday November 3rd was election day. Many of us voted for President and Vice President of the United States, Senators and House members, and even local officials and judges. Also on the ballot are local measures that you should absolutely never leave blank. Three states specifically had a question on their ballots that was important: Should Sports Betting be allowed. Maryland, Louisiana, and South Dakota all had this question on their ballots, and while it seemed as though it would pass without an issue, as we all know, in politics nothing is set in stone.


Surrounded by Washington D.C., New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia, sports betting is something Maryland lawmakers can not escape. On the ballot was Question 2: Do you approve the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland to authorize sports and events betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education? Voters could answer that they were For the Referred Law (Yes) or Against the Referred Law (No). An earlier piece on discussed the benefits of legalizing sports betting in Maryland and nationwide, and thankfully it seems the rest of the state agreed. This measure passed in every county, with nearly every one reaching 60% favorability or higher. This is a huge step for Maryland as they look to compete with other states and keep money in the state.

Now, many are wondering what the next steps are. Can we place a bet in Maryland on games this weekend? No, not yet. This was done to ensure that sports betting was legalized in the state as a broad understanding. Unfortunately, barring a special session or emergency legislation, Marylanders will have to wait until the 2021 General Session for a bill to be passed with specifics on where sports betting will be allowed (online, casinos, stadiums, racetracks), what companies will be allowed to operate in the state (FanDuel, DraftKings, William Hill), and what sports will the state allow bets on (college, professional, horse racing, e-sports). The hope is that Governor Hogan and the rest of the Maryland Legislature do not allow the Coronavirus to stop them from virtually communicating or socially distancing during the General Session in order to continue to pass laws. Doing so will allow the momentum to continue and not allow this issue to fall down the list of priorities and issues that Maryland is addressing. It will also allow revenue to be generated faster and keep greater revenue in the state versus waiting and not acting on the newly passed measure.


In a similar fashion, Louisiana passed the legalization of sports betting on a broad term. The only difference was that instead the measure being passed by the entire state, it was separated by each parish (similar to counties). The question on their ballots was: Shall sports wagering activities and operations be permitted in the parish of (name)? Fifty-five of the 64 parishes passed sports betting , however; they will also have to wait until 2021 for their state legislature to pass laws addressing: who, what, and where sports betting will be allowed. Also similar to Maryland, I hope that each parish is able to have a framework passed quickly so that momentum from passing this bill will not fade as 2021 begins.

South Dakota

The third and final state with sports betting on the ballot, will also be waiting until 2021 for the first bets to placed. This time, it was a Constitutional Amendment that passed with around 60% voting yes. The measure means that sportsbooks are allowed in Deadwood, South Dakota and that Native American tribes may also open for gaming at their properties as well. The only main difference is that, opposition to sports betting in South Dakota is present. State House speaker Steve Haugaard believes legalizing sports betting will increase gambling issues. Thankfully, the amendment was approved. However, since South Dakota also needs to pass a framework measure in order to actually see revenue generated from sports betting, an opposition to such a framework could present some challenges. Despite this, I do believe that South Dakota will see sports betting finalized in 2021 just as Louisiana and Maryland will as well.

On the Horizon

A clean sweep for all three states with sports betting on the ballot is an encouraging sign as we see the push for nationwide legalization of sports betting. The next big push will be in 2022, when California will be addressing the bill that was introduced as it is on their ballot in the next election.

Featured Image Via: El Magazine

Follow me on Twitter @CaseyMoninghoff


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