Many states are hoping to get online sports betting operations up and running this year, but there are three that stand about the rest.
Several states are inching closer to making online sports betting a reality in the next year. Of the states that could do it, three notable hopefuls seem closer than ever. We break down each below and examine where they are and what needs to happen before residents can place bets.
Ohio Sports Betting
Ohio residents have had a long wait for sports betting and still have a bit longer to go.
Governor Mike DeWine signed Bill S 316 in December 2021 which will make sports betting legal in the state. According to the parameters outlined in the bill, Ohio sports betting will go live by January 1st, 2023. Legislators and businesses are working together to hammer out the rules and regulations so they can get up and running (hopefully) before that deadline.
That date is the latest sports betting will go live, but at the time of writing there is little reason to believe that a launch date would happen sooner based on where things stand. Thousands of license applications are flooding in, making the review process lengthy. Still, there is a chance that it will roll out this year if all goes well.
Making January 1st the deadline could be seen as a bit of an oversight, as the best time to roll out would have been before the start of the NFL season. The NFL generates the highest number of bids of any sport in the US, accounting for nearly half of all sports bets placed in the country. And Ohio has two great franchises in the Browns and Super Bowl-contending Bengals. By starting at the very end of the season, Ohio is setting itself up to out on millions of dollars in tax revenue.
That being said, the Bengals are quite good and by all accounts could make a deep playoff run this year with Burrow under center. When the first legal sports betting Bengals game takes place on January 2nd, 2023, an MNF game on a national stage, you can bet (pun intended) that the state will take in a sizeable amount of cash.
Ohio Betting Stats
- Median Household Income: $31,078
- Notable Sports Teams: Browns (NFL), Bengals (NFL), Blue Jackets (NHL), Cavaliers (NBA), Reds (MLB), Guardians (MLB; formally the Indians)
- Population: 11.76 million
- Licenses: 67 total, 25 Online sports betting, 42 retail sportsbooks
With a high population and a ton of sports teams that routinely find themselves in the playoffs, you can bet that the appetite for sports betting in the Buckeye State remains high. As for the licenses that stand to be gobbled up, they fall into three categories:
- Type A: State entities such as casinos (Ohio has 11) and racinos (combination racetrack and casino
- Type B: Future brick and mortar sportsbooks
- Type C: Betting kiosks in retail establishments with liquor licenses
Those state entities that apply for Type A licenses will partner with sportsbook operators such as BetMGM or Caesars. Additionally, some will be able to apply for two if it will benefit the state. Type B’s are limited based on the population in each county that they are in. for example, a county with 800,000 can have no more than 5 licenses, and so on. Type C is the cheapest license and will allow bars and restaurants to add kiosks for those interested in placing bets.
An added bonus for those applying for licenses: a half percent of the fee for the license will go to veterans’ services in Ohio. The rest of the tax revenue in the state will find its way into the education system in the state.
Massachusetts Sports Betting
It’s home to one of the biggest online sportsbooks in the county, DraftKings, and the largest state in New England by population. Massachusetts, much like Ohio, has had an uphill battle toward legalized sports betting in recent years.
At this point, the Bay State is almost completely surrounded by states where mobile sports betting has been legalized. Therefore, it is losing a lot of money from those who are hopping state lines to place legal bets on mobile sports books.
This issue, also seen in other states, is even more common in Massachusetts due to its small size and the ease of border-hopping between it and its New England neighbors. Some estimates have Massachusetts residents placing over $211 million in nearby New Hampshire in 2021. That is a lot of money that could have gone to tax-funded programs in the Bay State.
Finally, it seems like both the House and the Senate in Massachusetts are ready to get things done. As of June 7, 2022, members of both houses of Massachusetts Congress are meeting to negotiate around legal sports wagering. This comes after both branches have passed bills authorizing sports betting activity in the state. Now, both houses look to resolve issues with each bill and come to agreements on certain terms.
One notable difference between the House and Senate bills is the inclusion of betting on college sports. While the House is in favor, the Senate’s bill does not allow for it. This topic and others will hopefully be ironed out before the legislative session expires on July 31st.
Massachusetts Betting Stats
- Median Household Income: $84,385
- Notable Sports Teams: Patriots (NFL), Bruins (NHL), Celtics (NBA), Reds Sox (MLB)
- Population: 6.69 million
- Licenses: N/A
Since negotiations are still happening, we can’t be sure how many licenses Massachusetts will see. Considering how hard it has been to get a law passed, one could safely bet the answer will be “not many”.
But hang tight as things come into shape. Mass will likely not benefit as much from the sports betting tax revenue. Some estimate it will only generate $35-65 million. A nice amount, but pennies compared to the billion the state lottery brings in. If all goes well with negotiations, there is a slim chance that Mass sports betting operations are live before the NFL season.
Maryland Sports Betting
In November 2020, voters approved sports betting in Maryland and. Then, in April 2021, Bill H 113 was passed. The bill was signed into law in May 2021, but sports betting is not yet operational. This seems to be a trend in many states.
Maryland, however, is in a unique kind of limbo that just seems never-ending. Stuck in a bureaucratic process that has sports fans endlessly refreshing their browsers looking for updates, the Sports Wagering Application Review Committee (SWARC) has the daunting task of establishing guidelines outlining the process for minority and women-owned businesses to be awarded competitive licenses in Maryland.
The SWARC is still in the process of conducting a study to figure out if accommodations for those types of businesses need to be made. Some believe that the study and subsequent negotiations will be settled before the end of the year, but others worry that the process could spill over to 2023. Here’s hoping the former proves true.
Maryland Betting Stats
- Median Household Income: $87,063
- Notable Sports Teams: Ravens (NFL), Orioles (MLB)
- Population: 6.15 million
- Licenses: 60(!)
Currently, sports betting is legal at retail locations in the state. Maryland has one of the highest numbers of mobile betting licenses available with a whopping 60, creating a highly competitive environment for sportsbooks. There are also 10 Class A licenses for Maryland’s six casinos and 30 for other businesses with physical locations in the state. All of the applicants will be reviewed by the SWARC and pay the fees for each license.
Keep it locked here as more states look to get operations up and running in the next year!