From California to Texas, sports betting remains illegal in some states. What’s preventing these states from allowing their residents to wager?
In recent years, some states made sports betting legal within their jurisdictions. Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan, New York, and Virginia are among the areas with more progressive laws for wagering.
Since the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in 2018, individual states have had the authority to regulate sports betting, giving way to its legalization. Because of these, they are now reaping the economic benefits while also meeting the public demand for legal betting.
Even large organizations are recognizing the potential benefits of sports betting. One piece of evidence is the recent partnership of ESPN and PENN Entertainment. Through a $2 billion deal, the two prominent organizations launched a sportsbook that will be accessible in at least 16 states.
Nonetheless, there are still several states that are not so accepting of sports gambling. For instance, consider the case of in-person and online sports betting in California, which remains largely forbidden, except some horse race betting and gaming at tribal casinos. Other states, such as Texas, also resist legalization and won’t consider it again until at least the year 2025.
Moral concerns are among the most significant hurdles. States like Texas are famous for being conservative. The potential possible effect on the vulnerable population are major issues. Cultural and religious factors also come into play, as such conservative states wish to keep traditional values intact.
The role of Native American tribes is also indispensable. These tribes operate casinos in many states, including California and Florida. Legalizing sports betting outside tribal facilities would mean competition for their casinos. It could impact profitability and infringe exclusivity.
Public opinion is another deciding factor in the legalization of sports gambling. Take the case of California. In November 2022, two propositions did not garner enough support from the residents of the Golden State. Despite a barrage of record-high ad spending, the ballot measure was rejected by Californians.
“We are arguably further away from legal sports betting [in California] than we were before the campaign,” according to Chad Beynon of the Macquarie Group. Despite such a defeat in California, however, industry experts are hoping to pass a similar measure come 2024.
So, are all hopes lost? Will sports betting remain illegal in some states? There’s no definite answer to this question. We have no crystal ball that can help us guess the future of sports wagering.
According to estimates, sports betting could gather a revenue of up to $7.5 billion if more widely legalized. With such a positive impact on the national economy, many are hoping that states like California and Texas will realize the possible economic impact of sports betting, especially thanks to their large populations and the number of sports fans living in these states.
Americans spend $150 billion annually on illegal sports betting. This is way more than what the industry actually makes legally, so legalizing betting could represent a significant income for some states that don’t currently allow it.
From taxes to permits, there are countless ways by which states could earn money from legalizing sports betting. Many punters are hoping this data could change the tide and make the odds in their favor.