More States Propose Sports Betting Legislation–Here Are Ones To Watch

Written By Bart Shirley on February 21, 2019 - Last Updated on June 8, 2022

Sports betting news seems to be coming from all directions these days, but some states are much more likely to propel real legislation forward than others. Here’s a rundown of where things seem to be the hottest right now.

Washington DC

In our nation’s capital, it will soon be possible to bet on the Capitals and the Nationals. For that matter, it will be possible to bet on the Redskins and the Wizards, too. In fact, legal sports betting could be active in Washington DC, by Sep. 1.

In traditional Washington style, some politicking appears to be afoot in the passage of a bill regarding a potential sports betting provider. The provider, Intralot, already serves as the lottery provider for Washington.

Though the votes were close in each case, the D.C. Council did, indeed, vote to bypass the competitive bidding process and award Intralot with the contract. The city’s sports betting bill itself remains under a 60-day review by the US Congress.


Visitors to the Field of Dreams might be able to bet on the games there soon. An Iowa Senate bill to legalize sports betting dropped this week and appears to have quite a bit of momentum behind it.

The bill would give the Hawkeye State’s 19 casinos, horse tracks, and other gaming facilities the ability to open sportsbooks. Online sports betting apps would also be permitted, but the bill would require patrons to register at physical gaming sites.

S 1168 would also bring daily fantasy sports to the state’s residents. The bill, sponsored by Iowa Sen. Roby Smith, is the most prominent of eight active bills targeting sports betting in Iowa.


A bill to authorize sports betting in Indiana has passed through its first Senate committee. On Feb. 11, Senate Bill 552 moved from the Committee on Public Policy to the Committee on Appropriations.

The bill is full of changes to the existing gaming laws and allowances in the state. Along with allowing sports betting, S 552 proposes the construction of two new casinos and moving two existing casinos to new locations.

The bill’s inception is in response to declining revenues for both operators and the state’s tax revenues. Sports betting in Indiana could be a reality as soon as 2020.


The sponsor of a sports betting bill in Kentucky feels cautiously optimistic about its chances for passage. Rep. Adam Koenig‘s H 175 would allow sports betting, online poker and fantasy sports.

The bill proposes a $500,000 licensing fee and a $50,000 annual renewal to allow racetracks to offer wagers on sporting and nonsporting events. Betting would have to be in-person, either live or through an onsite app. The bill moved forward on Feb. 20, passing the legislative committee without a single “no” vote.

Koenig estimates that sports betting would generate between $20 million and $48 million annually for Kentucky’s state budget.

South Dakota

South Dakota lawmakers proposed a constitutional amendment to allow sports betting to occur at Deadwood casinos a few weeks ago. As with any constitutional amendment, the passage of this bill would still require voter approval to become law.

The bill does not provide for mobile sports betting. However, South Dakota’s tribal casinos could adopt sports betting alongside the Deadwood properties, since they are permitted to offer any type of gambling available elsewhere in the state.

A related fiscal analysis estimates that Deadwood sports betting would generate just over $2 million in revenue.


Just northeast of South Dakota, Minnesota is considering a sports betting bill. The Safe and Regulated Sports Gambling Act of 2019 aims to establish what it calls “sports pools.”

The bill allows for live and onsite sports betting at Minnesota’s 18 tribal casinos, similar to Mississippi‘s organization. It is the product of Rep. Pat Garofalo, who has been the chief proponent of Minnesota sports betting.

Of course, the success of the bill will hinge upon the approval of Minnesota’s 11 recognized federal tribes. Garofalo, for his part, affirmed that he had their consent before he introduced the bill.


The sponsor of Ohio‘s sports betting bill now believes that its passage will better than a coin flip. Ohio Sen. John Eklund recently told Legal Sports Report that Senate Bill 316 has a more than 50-50 chance of becoming law.

The bill itself is still little more than a placeholder right now. Eklund said that he expects to fill out the bill’s language by the end of February.

The bill already has a bipartisan cosponsor in Sen. Sean O’Brien. Republican Rep. Dan Greenspan has also sponsored a companion bill in Ohio’s House of Representatives.

Already, other Ohio lawmakers are voicing their support. Stay tuned, because things could heat up quite quickly in the Buckeye State.

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Two Maryland lawmakers put a bill into motion recently, too. Del. Jason Buckel and Del. Kevin Hornberger are seeking to pass House Bill 1132, which would put Maryland’s lottery in charge of sports betting in the state.

Somewhat funnily, the initial bill pledged to send 80 percent of sports betting revenue to the lottery itself and left only 20 percent for the operators themselves. However, Buckel has already begun an amendment process to reverse the percentages, which he blamed on a simple typographical error.

Nevertheless, Maryland sports betting may become a part of a state famous for its crabcakes quite soon.

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Bart Shirley

Bart Shirley is a senior evergreen content writer for PlayUSA. He’s been writing and reporting on the gambling industry since 2013. Prior to working for PlayUSA, Shirley was a feature writer for QuadJacks, a site covering issues in poker. He also writes for BonusCodePoker, a poker satire site that lampoons the lighter side of card games. Shirley is a graduate of the MBA program at Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business and has a degree in English from Texas A&M University. He grew up in Houston, TX, and lives in Katy, just west of Houston. Shirley is also a former high school teacher. He is married, has one daughter, and practices Brazilian jiu jitsu in his spare time.

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