In the early years after PASPA’s repeal, a lot of states legalized sports betting without much controversy or resistance. Year by year, more have been added to the list of states with legal betting, to the point where some people could legitimately question whether critical mass has been reached (except, of course, for the states still in the process of legalizing betting). At some stage, we will reach a point where all of the markets that are going to legalize sports betting will have done so. But has that point been reached yet? It seems highly unlikely.
As we look towards 2023, it is clear that there are going to be some new markets for sportsbooks to enjoy – the likes of Ohio and Massachusetts are getting ready to open their platforms, so even if there is no further legislation passed, there will be states added to the list of markets with live betting permitted. But there will probably also be new legislation passed, so now is as good a time as any to look at where that may happen, and where it is unlikely to do so, in the coming twelve months.
New legislation ready to be ratified: Florida
To word it very carefully, Florida is the largest state in the USA by population to have passed sports betting in some form. An agreement was reached in 2021 between the state and the Seminole Tribe to run legal sports betting in the state, but this was then frozen by a challenge in federal court. Since then, there has been no movement in the Sunshine State, but Hard Rock actually ran a sports betting app for a matter of days until ordered to stop. If the federal court system can deliver movement in 2023, then Florida could become the largest betting market in the union.
New legislation before state congress: Missouri, possibly Vermont
In Missouri, a bill has already been filed to be debated in the state Senate in the New Year, and with the discrepancy between the Show Me state and its neighbor Kansas having caused no shortage of envy, there is some incentive to get it done. Legal sports betting in Missouri by the end of 2023 would be no surprise. In Vermont, the only challenge to it happening seems to be the state’s tendency to move slowly on everything. There is an exploratory committee in place, and little organized opposition to legal betting. 2023 might be the year when Vermont sports betting fails to not happen.
New legislation could be presented: Texas, maybe California
There are definitely people who want to get sports betting passed in Texas, but there is a long road ahead of them to make it happen. A dedicated lobbying group is in the process of writing draft legislation, which could then be presented early in 2023. What we don’t know is whether it would pass, or even be given time. Meanwhile, California saw two separate propositions fall on Election Night in 2022. It may well seek to present new propositions to the public in 2024, and if that is the goal then interested legislators would be well advised to start working on the legalese right now rather than rushing it, which may have contributed to the failure this year.