Several States Looking To Expedite Sports Betting To Fill Revenue Lost to Coronavirus

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by , 30 June 2020 at 1:35 am (434 Views)
The coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc all over the world. While there’s been little good news to come from this, sports bettors might be somewhat pleased as one side effect of this pandemic is it has pushed several states to either revisit or legalize sports betting. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at four states who are moving closer to online sports betting in the United States.

Vermont Looking At Legal Sports Betting To Help Cover Losses

It’s no secret that governments around the country – both state and federal level – will have to figure out how to plug some big holes in their budgets. After all, with lockdowns all around the country, governments have been losing tax dollars all over the place. In Vermont, this could help expedite the legalization of sports betting, which they’re hoping helps cover some losses.

Vermont has officially begun the legalization process to legalize sports betting and even if they were to do so as soon as possible, it wouldn’t be official until the year 2021. However, they do appear to be heading in that direction. Senator Michael Sirotkin believes that sports betting could generate up to $14 million in revenue per year for the state and that would be a very big boost for a state trying their best to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The good news is that a majority of the state legislators agree on legalizing sports betting in Vermont. Now we just have to wait until the official vote. The bill is named “Senate Bill 59” and is expected to have its third and final reading on Tuesday to approve to the committee. After it gets approved there, it will go down to the House for further approval. The state would like to get the bill approved before June 30th, which is this coming week.

Sports Betting Coming To Georgia?

“It appears that Georgia is planning on looking into sports betting again,” said James Sanders, director of a sports betting review website “The Senate voted to amend Bill 903, which would allow sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel to operate sportsbooks in the state, although laws will have to be passed under the state lottery.”

State Senator Burt Jones believes that legalizing sports betting in Georgia could possibly bring in an additional $60 million a year for the state and right now, they could use the cash. The state lottery would be the ones to issue the licenses to the vendors and the bill would limit all bettors to being 21 and older in order to play. This bill is currently being backed by many of Atlanta’s professional sports teams such as the Falcons, Hawks, Atlanta United and the Braves.

Back in March there were arguments made for both sides on the legalization of sports betting but in order to stop the back and forth, they decided to give the issue to the voters. Before that happens, though, it would require a two-thirds vote from both of the houses before the voters even get their say.

Illinois Opens First Legal Sportsbook

The state of Illinois has opened their first legal sportsbook. It has been close to a year since Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law which brought in legal sports betting and now the ribbon has finally been cut. Now, Illinois gamblers can now officially make bets right from their phones as long as they are of legal age and are residents of the state of Illinois.

Rivers Casino in Des Plaines was the first to open a retail book in the state back in March 9th. They are now first again by provider BetRivers, who has experience in the space. It was said that Illinois’ law was written specifically so casinos could get a jump start on the sports betting market over online sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel. Those sites would have to wait about 18 months before being allowed to fight for licenses, which are rumored to cost about $20 million each. On the other side of that, six other casinos in Illinois were given their sports betting licenses and now each of those six places can ask for acceptance from the regulatory agency’s administrator, so they can start to provide online gambling.

Earlier, it had been required for all bettors to register in person at one of the casinos before they had the ability to make their bets online but given the situation with the coronavirus pandemic, Pritzker made the executive order to remove that requirement. Players are now able to register to bet online in just a few minutes.

Pritzker’s office has made a guess that sports betting could possibly bring in over $100 million into state coffers per year. Some other analysts estimate that the market in Illinois could be so huge that it may rival Nevada’s market. That’s mostly due to the fact that Illinois is nearly four times the size of Nevada population-wise.

California Sports Betting Bill Shelved For 2020

California has been behind the pack on legalizing sports betting due to many hurdles that have popped up but it’s been reported that they’re moving in the right direction now. The question is just how fast are they moving? Senator Bill Dodd has been working on an amendment to a bill that – if it passes through the houses – will go to the ballot in November. While the bill is eventually expected to pass the house, Dodd has pulled it for the time being due to the fact that there is a lot of tribal opposition for the time being.

California is in a bit of a situation after the coronavirus outbreak as they are currently in a $54 billion deficit. The state does not want to have to cut funding for things such as schools, social support and other programs, and are instead looking to increase their total revenue with sports betting. Many believe that the majority of bettors in the state already do it illegally with offshore sportsbooks, so the activity is still happening but as of now, the state is simply missing out on revenues. Government estimates suggest that legalized sports betting could bring in roughly $700 million per year.

While the bill is expected to eventually be put to a referendum for voters to decide, that will not happen in 2020.