2021 Second-Half US Gambling Update

January 24, 2022 Gambling regulation changes

After a busy first half to 2021, second-half United States headlines continued to be dominated by sports betting news. The momentum towards authorizing and launching this form of gambling among states now seems unstoppable, with 2022 promising a continuation of the trend.

We’ve taken the time to point out all recent changes in each U.S state:

Alabama

In the third quarter of 2021, Alabama’s four dog track owners called for Alabamans to be given a vote to amend the state constitution to allow casino gambling and a state lottery. The argument had support from the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. In early 2022, House Bill 72, sponsored by Rep. Ralph Howard, was submitted to create a state lottery offering sports betting as part of a renewed push.

Alaska

Early in the second half of 2021, Alaska launched a $400,000 gambling expansion feasibility study. It was tasked with examining sports betting, casinos, and other forms of gambling.

Arizona

In the second quarter of 2021, Arizona approved sports betting. However, it was in danger of being derailed by the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe, who sued to stop off-reservation sports wagering shortly before the targeted September 2021 launch. However, an Arizona judge rejected an injunction attempt. Subsequently, Arizonians would go on to wager $775 million in the first two months of legalized sports betting alone.

Arkansas

July 2021 saw the launch of Arkansas’ first sportsbook at the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort. In October, HB 1869, which would create the Arkansas Lottery Keno and iLottery Act, died in the House. On December 30, 2021, the Arkansas Racing Commission asked the Arkansas Legislature to consider authorizing mobile online sports betting in 2022.

California

In August 2021, several California cities banded together to push for sports betting legalization to appear on the 2022 ballot. However, their proposal was not alone, with several on the table, including one from Native Tribes and another from fantasy sports operators, including DraftKings and FanDuel. The stakes are high as market size estimates range from $20-$30 billion annually.

Colorado

In July 2021, Bally’s corporation made a breakthrough into Black Hawk, rebranding Mardi Gras Casino into Bally’s Black Hawk East. There were also 2 other commercial casinos opened under this group.

Connecticut

On May 25, 2021, the Connecticut Legislature approved the largest gambling expansion in the state’s history. Governor Ned Lamont signed HB 6451 into law, allowing online gambling, online poker, and sports betting. Sports betting went live on September 30, 2021, at the Mohegan Sun Foxwoods resorts in partnership with FanDuel and DraftKings, respectively. Online sports betting was soft-launched on October 12, 2021, going fully live state-wide one week later.

Florida

A 30-year deal between the Florida government and Seminole Tribe of Florida to offer online sports betting was approved in May 2021. Although set to go live in October after federal approval, three lawsuits were launched to stop Florida sports betting. A US District Judge threw out the agreement in November.

Illinois

In September 2021, Jumer’s Casino & Hotel rebranded to Bally’s Quad Cities at 777 Bally’s Blvd. In December, developers broke ground on Walkers Bluff Casino Resort, located at 326 Vermont Rd, Carterville, IL 62918, expected to open in 2023.

Indiana

Majestic Star Casino permanently closed its doors close to the end of the first half of 2021. Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana opened soon afterward, located at 5400W 29th Ave. – Gary, IN 46406.

Tropicana Evansville was rebranded to Bally’s Evansville.

Louisiana

After approval in the first half of 2021, Louisiana sports betting officially kicked off on October 6, 2021. The first bet was made at a tribal casino, one of the first 13 of 22 to apply. Four commercial casinos began taking in-person sports bets near the end of the month.

Maine

Maine Gov. Janet Mills vetoed a bill on the last day of June that would allow tribal casinos to offer gaming for the first time. It would have provided competition to the two state-run casinos.

Maryland

After a Maryland sports betting bill was approved at the end of the first half of 2021, there were delays in approving the license applications of the first five casinos that applied. After much frustration, the first sports betting wager finally took place on December 9, 2021, by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.

Massachusetts

In July 2021, the Massachusetts House Committee held a hearing concerning HB 3974 to legalize sports betting. Although the House voted to legalize sports betting, the bill still sat with the Senate State Committee at the end of the year.

Nebraska

Although Nebraska approved casino gambling at horse racing tracks in 2020, it wasn’t until November 2021 that preliminary regulations were released. These were approved by the Nebraska Racing and Gaming Commission on December 17, 2021.

Nevada

In November 2021, the Nevada Gaming Control Board appointed members to the Esports Technical Advisory Committee, tasked with helping to facilitate this betting type. Montbleu Resort was rebranded to Bally’s Lake Tahoe.

In the summer of 2021, Las Vegas was graced by the opening of the luxurious Resorts World.

New Jersey

For September 2021, New Jersey became the first state to surpass $1 billion in sports betting handles. The state would smash its record in October with sports bets of $1.3 billion. On a November 2 ballot, voters rejected the expansion of sports betting to include college matchups but supported expanding charitable raffles.

New York

At the start of November 2021, the New York State Gaming Commission approved nine mobile sports betting operators to complement sports betting at land-based casinos. Mobile sports betting in New York is expected to launch in early 2022.

North Carolina

On July 1, 2021, the Catawba Nation opened the Two Kings Resort temporarily located at 538 Kings Mountain Blvd – Kings Mountain, NC 28086. It started by offering 500 slot machines, which climbed to 1,000 by year-end.

North Carolina sports wagering Senate Bill 588 passed the second and third reading on August 18 and 19, 2021. On August 24, HB631 passed the first reading in the House. It currently sits in the House Chamber after being re-referred to the Committee on Judiciary as of November 4, 2021. After passing the first reading in the House (May 5, 2021), House Bill 954 to authorize and regulate video lottery terminals remains in the House as of September 1, 2021.

Ohio

In December 2021, the Ohio Senate and House voted to approve HB 29 to legalize sports betting. It is to be regulated by the Ohio Casino Control Commission after being signed into law by Gov. Mike DeWine on December 22, 2021.

Oklahoma

In July 2021, the $600 million Choctaw Casino Resort–Durant opened at 4216 S. Hwy 69/75 – Durant, OK 74701

Oregon

In July 2021, DraftKings announced that it would no longer be taking DFS bets in Oregon. This pause allowed DraftKings and the Oregon Lottery to negotiate a sports betting platform partnership.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania saw two new land-based commercial casinos launched in the second half of 2021. Both being part of the Hollywood group, which now brings the keystone state to hold a total of 15 casinos.

South Dakota

On September 9, 2021, four South Dakota casinos in Deadwood started accepting in-person sports betting after being approved by voters in 2020.

Texas

A dispute between an Indian tribe and Texas landed in the lap of the Supreme Court. The Ysleta del Sur Pueblo argued that Texas could not legally limit bingo gaming activities to charitable events.

Washington

On December 20, 2021, Washington HB 1674 and SB 5212 were pre-filed for the first reading in January 2022 to authorize sports betting at racetracks and cardrooms.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers signed an agreement, on July 1, with the Oneida Nation to allow in-person sports betting. On November 30, 2021, sports betting was launched at Oneida Casino in Green Bay.

Wyoming

Wyoming, which approved online sports betting earlier in April 2021, officially went live on September 1, 2021, at DraftKings and BetMGM.

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