As local legislative sessions begin nationwide, the U.S. is poised to add several states to the growing list of jurisdictions where sports betting is legal, regulated, and taxed.

Since May of 2018 – when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sportsbooks outside of Nevada – 13 states have launched legal sports wagering industries. Six more states have passed laws to the same effect which are awaiting implementation, but that group could easily grow by double this year as the sports betting gold rush continues in earnest.

Missouri and Maryland have promising sports betting bills circulating through their respective state legislatures. According to proponents of the industry in those states, 2020 could be the year sportsbooks – both of the brick and mortar and online / mobile variety – are approved.

And while the odds might be stacked against sports betting in Ohio at the moment, supporters in the Buckeye State continue to pursue the path to gambling industry modernization.

Momentum Building in Missouri with Several Bills on the Docket

As football fans in Missouri await their beloved Kansas City Chiefs’ first Super Bowl appearance in 50 years, local interest in sports betting has never been higher.

State representative Wes Rogers (D-18) knows that fact well, and as he told the FOX-4 KC news station, the various sports betting bills introduced to begin the 2020 session have broad bipartisan support.

“Sports gambling is pretty straightforward; you let the casinos build the books, you start taking bets, you start generating tax revenue, and then you’re bringing something to the white market which is already rampant on the black market.”

Rogers also revealed his personal preference for comprehensive legislation which allows for both in-person and online / mobile wagering:

“In a really good sports gambling bill, you would include both the brick and mortar sports books at the casinos and the mobile platform.

And that also opens up sports gambling to places in the state where they’re not going to have access to a casino.”

In Maryland, legislators largely agree that a regulated sports betting market will be created sooner or later. Nonetheless, the preferred venue for legal sportsbooks is still a matter of debate as lawmakers decide between casinos or horseracing tracks.

As he told the WBAL-TV 11 news station, state senator Craig Zucker (D-14) backs a casino-based model in which local gambling halls are free to partner with major online / mobile operators:

“This is really sort of the next phase of gaming, when you are looking at millennials and making it more accessible to the modern age of Marylanders.”

Ask state delegate Eric Ebersole (D-12), however, and the proper location for sportsbooks in Maryland should be historic horseracing tracks like the 150-year old Pimlico Race Course:

“This gives people more locations to do it. We also think it will increase our revenue.”

Sports Betting Optimism in the Air Despite Doubtful 2020 Outlook in Ohio

Ohio is bordered by five states, and all of them – Pennsylvania, Michigan, West Virginia, Indiana, and Kentucky – have either launched or legalized sports betting.

In a similar stalemate to Maryland, lawmakers remain divided between two prospective statewide regulatory agencies – the Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) and the Ohio Lottery Commission (OLC).

State Senate President Larry Obhof (R-22) has an ally in Governor Mike DeWine with both supporting the OCCC model.

House Speaker Larry Householder (R-72) prefers an OLC regulatory scheme which would allow non-casino operators like sports bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, and fraternal organizations to offer sports wagering services.

Jonathan Zaun

One of Gamble Online's first dedicated reporters, Jonathan has spent well over a decade reporting on the gaming industry. While breaking legal news is his main area of expertise, Jonathan is an avid blackjack player & strategist who follows professional poker closely.

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