- Several states may legalize in-person or online sports betting in 2022.
- One of the largest markets in the country may legalize sports betting in November.
- A number of bills are scheduled to be discussed by state legislators.
As we count down the end of 2021, we should take a look forward into 2022 and see which states stand the best chance to legalize in-person or online sports betting in the new year.
Before looking forward, let’s all pour out a drink for 2021, one of the most prolific years for sports betting in the United States. Nine states legalized sports betting and 11 launched sports betting in some fashion during the busy year.
Shoutout to Florida for one of the strangest sports betting stories of the years. The state legalized sports betting earlier in the year, launched online sports betting with little to no fanfare in the fall, and were then forced to cease operations after a federal judge’s ruling declared the state’s gaming compact ran afoul of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. But, for several glorious weeks, bettors in the Sunshine State were able to place online sports bets through the Seminole Tribe’s Hard Rock sportsbook app.
New York is set to launch its online sports betting market at the start of January 2022, opening up one of the largest sports betting markets in the country. But what other states are likely to tackle the sports betting question in 2022?
Here are several states that could legalize sports betting in some fashion in the new year.
Which States Will Take Action On Sports Betting in 2022?
California: At least one ballot initiative will appear on the November 2022 general election ballot in California. The major market could have up to four total ballot initiatives for voters to potentially approve in the tail end of 2022. One, sponsored by the state tribes, will allow in-person sports betting at only the state’s tribal casinos and racetracks. It has received the number of necessary signatures to appear on the ballot.
Three others are gathering signatures to appear on the ballot. One, sponsored by several major sportsbook operators, would allow sportsbook operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel to partner with state tribal casinos and offer online sports betting to California residents. A second would allow state cardrooms to offer in-person sports betting at their facilities and the final would give the state tribes a monopoly on online sports betting.
If any are approved by California voters, sports betting would likely launch in California in 2023.
Massachusetts: Massachusetts lawmakers discussed several sports betting bills. Bill H.3977 to legalize Massachusetts sports betting was approved by House representatives in July by a vote of 156-3-1. The bill provided for three types of sports betting licenses for casinos, racetracks and untethered online sportsbook operators, but never came to the Senate floor for a vote. The bill has been sitting in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means since its House approval in July.
But you can definitely expect the state to begin discussions again in 2022, whether it be Bill H.3977 or another from a state lawmaker, and potentially legalize sports betting in the state that houses the DraftKings corporate headquarters in Boston. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) is a big proponent of Massachusetts sports betting and even floated his own sports betting bill for adoption in June.
Baker’s bill, HD 70, proposed to legalize online and in-person sports betting to allow the commonwealth to compete with other states.
North Carolina: Retail sports betting is currently legal in the state, but lawmakers have had discussions on legalizing online sports betting. SB 688, which would legalize North Carolina online sports betting, passed the Senate in August and is making its way through the House. Discussions on the bill can resume when North Carolina opens up its 2022 legislative session again in January.
If approved, the North Carolina Education Lottery would have between 10 to 12 online licenses to distribute. Online sports betting would be taxed at a rate of 8%.
Georgia: Georgia lawmakers nearly approved a sports betting bill earlier in the year. Senate Bill 142 and House Bill 86 were both pushed by Georgia legislators in 2021, which would have legalized online sports betting in the state if approved by Georgia voters, but neither were ultimately approved. The lawmakers are hoping to begin discussion again when the state opens up its legislative session on Jan. 10, 2022, and concludes in March. If a bill is passed, it will have to be approved by Georgia voters in the November 2022 election, so sports betting would likely not launch until 2023.
Arkansas: In-person sports betting is currently legal in Arkansas and lawmakers are hoping to pass a bill in 2022 to legalize online sports betting. The Arkansas Racing Commission is holding a meeting this week to discuss the legalization of online sports betting which would allow state casinos to launch two online “skins” a piece.
Other States That May Take Action
Several other states could have discussions on the legalization of sports betting or the launch of online sports betting in 2022. However, these states are less likely to pass bills than the states we named above.
Here are the other states that may consider sports betting in 2022: