First Half of 2021 US Gambling Update

July 6, 2021 Gambling regulation changes

The first half of 2021 has seen a flurry of House and Senate Bills aimed at amending State Constitutions as gambling laws continue to evolve. Sports betting continues to dominate the floor of many legislatures, followed by internet gaming, among others.

The progress towards the liberalization of gambling in the US is dotted with setbacks and delays. While some Bills have passed, others have died, so the only certainty is that gambling will continue to polarize opinions.


Alabama online casinos, a state lottery, land-based commercial casinos, and sports betting currently remain illegal, making it one of the most conservative. In March 2021, Alabama Sen. Del Marsh [R] sponsored SB214. If adopted, the Bill would have introduced a state lottery and authorized the start of negotiations into a gambling compact with the Porch Creed Indians. Unfortunately, it died in Chamber. HB161 and HB200 to authorize sports wagering and casino gambling also died in Committee at the start of February 2021.

Alaska is another state that remains one of the most restrictive for gambling laws. SB77 proposed to allow online ticket sales and activities related to charitable gaming but was withdrawn at the end of April 2021. HB46, introduced by Representative Thompson, proposing to establish a state lottery, was also withdrawn at the start of May. Alaska currently only permits Class II tribal casinos and charitable gaming, which doesn’t seem likely to change in the near term.

The Arizona State Legislature approved HB2772 and SB1797 to allow fantasy sports betting in April 2021. The Bill will also allow tribal casinos to expand beyond offering blackjack and poker. They will now be permitted to offer other games like roulette, craps, baccarat, and more. Furthermore, sports betting (including mobile sports betting) can be offered by the 10 tribes and 10 professional sports teams.

On January 29, 2021, HB6301 was introduced to allow Internet gaming, Internet keno, and sports wagering in Connecticut. It was referred to the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Security, where it currently sits.

On December 28, 2020, HB392 was filed by Florida Sen Jeff Brandes to authorize sports wagering. But, unfortunately, it died in the Regulatory Reform Subcommittee on April 30, 2021. HB1317 was a similar bill that died the same day.

HB86 (Georgia Lottery Mobile Sports Wagering Integrity Act), a Georgia House Bill sponsored by six members, was introduced on January 14, 2021. It would allow the Georgia Lottery Corporation to provide sports wagering in the State. It has been postponed and recommitted several times, the last time being March 31, 2021.

The Hawaii State Legislature deferred SB1231 and HB359 to permit limited casino gaming. A decision on a single integrated resort property was deferred on February 18, 2021. On January 22, 2021,  HB363 & SB561 ‘Gambling, Hawaii Lottery and Gambling Corporation’ were introduced and referred to the JDC and WAM on January 29, 2021. HB772 introduced on January 25 to grant a Las Vegas-style casino and establish the Hawaii Gaming Control Commission was deferred on February 10, 2021. HB736 (licensing a digital sports betting platform) and HB383 (concerning poker) were deferred the same day.

Illinois House Republicans sponsored HB3142 to introduce internet gaming. It was referred to the Rules Committee on March 27, 2021, where it remains.

Indiana proposed Senate Bill 267 to authorize video gaming terminals on January 11, 2021. It was then referred to the Committee on Public Policy, where it currently sits.

On March 5, 2021, Iowa House File 755 was introduced to authorize sports wagering on electronic sports events (esports). On April 15, 2021, it was referred to the State Government.

SB84 to authorize sports wagering under the Kansas Expanded Lottery Act passed on March 3, 2021. HB2199 to authorize sports betting was introduced in the House, but it failed to gain traction. The Senate introduced Senate Bill 262 to introduce electronic gaming machines at a Sedgwick county racetrack. However, it died in Committee on March 29, 2021.

Kentucky House Bill 241 (allowing pro and college sports betting, fantasy sports, and online poker) was introduced on January 9, 2021. It was sent to Committee, where it currently sits. On February 22/23, 2021, Kentucky House Bills 528/531/594 proposed to expand casino gambling, including authorizing casino gambling. They are also currently sitting with Committees.

On June 21, 2021, Louisiana Senate Bill 247 and House Bill 435 were signed by the Governor containing the provides of sports wagering regulation. It went into effect on July 1, 2021, roughly 8 months after voters in 55 of 64 Louisiana parishes approved sports betting.

Maine introduced SB453, an Act to legalize sports betting, on April 12, 2021, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Baldacci. It was approved by the subcommittee and since been recommended back to the Committee on June 3, 2021.

SB2365 to establish sports wagering in Massachusetts was referred to the Committee by the Senate on March 28, 2019. It has been replaced by SD177, scheduled for a hearing on June 17, 2021, with no further update.

Michigan introduced House Bill 4005 (SB0396) to allow historical horse racing on January 26, 2021 and referred it to Committee. Furthermore, Senator Jim Ananich introduced Senate Bill 0397 on April 28, 2021, to allow video lottery terminals at horse tracks. It, too, was referred to Committee on May 18, 2021.

Minnesota introduced HF767/SF410 (which was referred to State Government Finance and Policy and Elections on January 28, 2021) to authorize and regulate sports betting.

A Mississippi partisan Bill (SB2732) that would legalize online sports betting died in Committee on February 2, 2021. On the same day that it died, HB41 proposing to authorize the lottery board to allow video lottery terminals also died. February was not a great month for Bills as SB2396, sponsored by Sen. Scott DeLano, to legalize online betting, also died in Committee on February 2, 2021.

Missouri Senate Bill 19 (to establish the Missouri Video Lottery Control) went through the first reading on January 6, 2021, and the second reading on January 14, 2021. It was then referred to the Appropriations Committee. Other Bills (SB18/SB217/SB256) to authorize sports wagering died in Committee. Finally, a proposal (HJR28) to authorize excursion gambling boats near rivers, prefiled in December 2020, died in Committee.

Montana HB548, prefiled November 10, 2020, and signed into law April 11, 2021, adds Cee-Lo to the list of authorized patron dice games. A proposal (SB189) was drafted in September 2020 to authorize historical horseracing gambling died on April 29, 2021.

Nebraska proposal HR3335 (Greyhound Protection Act) was introduced into the House, continuing a trend of States moving to ban greyhound racing. It was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary on May 19, 2021.

New Hampshire House Bill 626, authorizing historical horse racing, was signed into law by Governor Chris Sununu on June 8, 2021.

On January 7, 2021, New York Sen. Addabbo introduced Assembly Bill A1257 to regulate sports betting and mobile sports wagering. It remains in Committee along with its sister Bill S1183.

In April 2021, HB631 and SB688 to authorize and regulate sports wagering in North Carolina were introduced. Both are currently sitting with the Committee. Furthermore, HB954 to authorize and regulate video lottery terminals was also referred to the Commerce Committee on May 12, 2021.

On February 2, 2021, ND3032 to authorize sports betting in North Dakota was introduced. It made it to the second reading, where it died in Chamber on March 3, 2021, by a slim margin against 24-23. A Bill (ND2314) that would have authorized online gaming and online sports betting by tribes died in Chamber on February 10, 2021. Concurrent Bills ND3012 and ND1389 to license and regulate live poker introduced in January died in Chamber on March 30th, 2021.

Ohio Senate Bill 176 (to legalize and regulate sports gaming) was introduced on June 5, 2021, and passed on June 16, 2021. It was introduced to the House on June 17, 2021, and referred to the Finance Committee on June 22, 2021.

Oregon House Bill (HB2127) to regulate sports wagering was introduced on January 11, 2021, and was referred to the General Government House.

South Carolina Joint resolution H3395 was prefiled in the House on December 9, 2020. It was referred to the Committee on Judiciary on January 12, 2021. It would permit parts of the state to offer sports betting, pari-mutuel horse racing, casinos, electronic devices, or gaming tables in one location or a specified area.

On February 2, 2021, South Dakota representatives sponsored HB1211 and HB1231 to authorize, regulate and tax sporting events. The Bills were deferred later that month.

On February 25, 2021, Texas HB477 underwent its first reading before being referred to State Affairs. If approved, it would be a step towards authorizing casino gaming in select coastal areas in Texas. SJR39 was filed on February 23, 2021, to amend the Constitution to legalize sports betting in Texas but died in Committee. HB770 to regulate poker clubs in select counties was introduced and sent to Calendars by the Committee.

Texas Sports Betting HB1121 was filed on January 14, 2021, and was referred to State Affairs on March 4th, 2021. HB2070 and HB2257 relating to sports wagering were filed in February 2021. However, the first was left pending (failed to receive a hearing) on April 14, 2021. The second was referred to State Affairs in March 2021. SJR49 to amend the Texas Constitution to authorize and regulate casino gaming at destination resorts and authorizing sports wagering was filed on March 9, 2021. It was referred to State Affairs on March 18, 2021. On March 11, 2021, SJR41 proposed to amend the Texas Constitution to authorize the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas to conduct gaming was referred to State Affairs.

Vermont introduced S77 on February 11, 2021, a Bill to authorize mobile and lottery-based sports betting. It was referred to Committee the same day.

Washington Sen. Curtis King sponsored SB5212 to authorize sports wagering at cardrooms and racetracks on January 14, 2021. There was a public hearing in the Senate Committee, but the Bill died on February 4, 2021.

The Wyoming Gov. signed online sports wagering into law on April 5, 2021. HB0133 and SF0056 were approved earlier in March by the House and Senate, respectively.


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