Ever since the PASPA sports betting law was overturned in May 2018, state after state has been toying with the idea of legalized sports wagering.
To date, some 20 states have already passed laws to regulate the popular pastime within their borders, and a few of those states have also gone a step further and expanded other gambling markets at the same time.
Still others are using sports betting – particularly legal online sports betting – as a test bed for what’s sure to be a gradual move to iGaming (i.e. online casino gaming) in the future.
While these things take time, the wheels are in motion, and the gambling landscape in the US is changing at an unprecedented rate.
To that end, in the 2020 general election, five states had constitutional amendments on the ballot that dealt with expanded gambling within their borders. The states that had gambling-related ballot measures presented to their voters this year were:
- South Dakota
In Colorado, there were two such amendments, and both passed.
Colorado Amendment C was narrowly approved by a margin of about three points (51.9% to 48.1%), while Colorado Amendment 77 was more popular, passing 60.3% to 39.7%.
Amendment C – the “Charitable Bingo and Raffle Amendment” – reduces the wait time for charitable organizations to offer limited gambling amusements like bingo, pull-tabs, and raffle-style lotteries from five years to three years.
The amendment also allows for these charitable organizations to hire assistants and managers to helm these gambling amusements as long as they make no more than the Colorado minimum wage.
Before Amendment C was passed, such attendants had to be unpaid volunteers to comply with state law.
Amendment 77, meanwhile, allows for the state to increase its single-wager limit on popular gambling games in various casino districts within the state. These include venues in Cripple Creek, Central, and Black Hawk.
Amendment 77 also gives these retail gaming outlets a wider berth when it comes to casino game selection. This means that they will no longer be limited to blackjack, poker, roulette, craps, and slots.
That said, there is no allowance in either amendment for these games to take place over the Internet.
While it is conceivable that Colorado – in crafting legislation going forward – could make online casino gambling legal, that may take another voter referendum.
In either case, it is unlikely to happen before November 2022, which means that your best option for gambling online in Colorado will remain the reputable, legitimate overseas casino sites you already know and love.
Louisiana’s gambling measures in 2020 had to do with sports betting legalization.
While the state had already technically legalized single-game sports wagering (i.e. traditional sports betting), it left it up to each individual parish to determine for itself whether or not sportsbooks would be allowed to operate within their borders.
Of the 64 parishes in LA, 56 voted to approve sports betting. Only the parishes of Caldwell, Catahoula, Franklin, LaSalle, Sabine, Union, West Carroll, and Winn voted to restrict access to the pastime.
In the rest of the state, domestic brick-and-mortar sportsbooks will be allowed, though they are expected to take quite some time to roll out.
The target date for most of them will likely be the start of the 2021 NFL season, which means that Louisiana natives may not have a chance to bet on the resurgent New Orleans Saints’ Super Bowl run this year.
Here’s hoping Drew Brees doesn’t retire for a few more seasons and can keep building on that all-time TD record he currently owns by three scores over Tom Brady.
Of course, if you want to legally bet on sports online, you can do so right now if you live in Louisiana, as many of the best online gambling sites have robust sportsbooks with all the odds and lines you can handle.
Maryland’s 2020 ballot had only one gambling measure: Question 2.
This proposal passed by 33 points, 66.5% to 33.5$%.
In effect, Question 2’s passage means that MD lottery retailers and horse racing betting venues can now offer legal sports betting. Whether or not an online component will be available is unclear, as is the minimum sports betting age.
We expect this latter to be 18 and up, but you don’t have to wait for these books to go live if you’re at least 18 years old and want to wager on sports over the Internet right now.
As with the situation in Louisiana, MD bettors can safely and legally bet on sports online with reputable international operators.
Nebraska had three gambling ballot measures up for a vote on November 3. These were:
- Nebraska Initiative 429
- Nebraska Initiative 430
- Nebraska Initiative 431
Each of these laws was effectively a permutation of each other one, and they honestly could have been presented as a singular amendment. They all passed by about 30 points, which means that they were overwhelmingly approved by the electorate.
Together, these NE Initiatives allow horse racing retailers in the state to offer traditional casino games in addition to their pari-mutuel betting options.
Thus, Nebraska gamblers will eventually be able to play poker, craps, blackjack, and other games at horse tracks throughout the state.
Still, we expect the minimum legal age to participate to be set at 21 and up, and there is unlikely to be a push to get these casino games online – that is, accessible over the Internet – anytime soon.
As long as you choose a licensed and reputable operator, you’re good to go.
Finally, the state of South Dakota – via Amendment B – has formally legalized sports wagering.
That said, sports betting is limited strictly to the Deadwood city limits, and it will be offered only by those operators who already hold gambling licenses in the area.
Further, 100% of the tax revenue generated by these brick-and-mortar sportsbooks will go towards funding the “Historic Restoration and Preservation of Deadwood” program.
Unfortunately, the legal sports betting opportunities in Deadwood have no online options, so sports fans scattered throughout the big state won’t have much to gain.
Nevertheless, as with the other amendments passed in 2020, there is nothing in South Dakota Amendment B that makes it unlawful for state residents to bet on sports via a legitimate online casino sportsbook.
Ultimately, even though none of the above amendments address or legalize online mobile gambling or sports wagering, it’s clear that the mass acceptance of expanded gaming will lead to that ultimate end.
Online is the future, and these states are playing it safe by rolling out such amusements in person before moving to a virtual solution accessible via iPhone, Android, and other mobile connected devices.
But even once that happens – and it feels like a foregone conclusion that it will happen – the legitimate betting sites already operating online are likely to remain your best bets for the most casino games and best sports betting options.
Still, more choice is always better, and if you live in any of the aforementioned handful of states, you’re about to have a much bigger selection of gambling amusements to choose from.