PlayUSA Rewind: Sports Betting Had A Blockbuster 2019, Plus More States Unroll

Posted By Grant Lucas on January 6, 2020 - Last Updated on March 9, 2020

The year 2020 wasted little time making headlines.

States have already made rapid movement toward legalizing sports betting. Or, in the case of one state, beat New Year’s Day altogether in launching a regulated industry.

That was 2019 in a nutshell: proposed legislation, quick ratification and rapid growth of a newly legalized vertical.

As such, and to paraphrase Chandler Bing, could this week’s PlayUSA Rewind BE any more fitting?

Crowning New Hampshire sports betting

It’s like the Granite State didn’t want to exit 2019 without legalized sports betting.

As ceremoniously rung in by Gov. Chris SununuNew Hampshire sports betting kicked off Dec. 30, 2019. The governor wagered $82 on the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl. (Whoops.)

Regardless, New Hampshire became the sixth state to launch regulated sports betting in 2019, as the New Hampshire Lottery leveraged its partnership with DraftKings Sportsbook to roll out an online sportsbook just before the new year.

Unlike its counterpart states, New Hampshire actually beat its initial timeline for launch; the Granite State anticipated a betting app hitting the market in January. That came after the state approved the contract between the NH Lottery and DraftKings in November.

DraftKings will split gross revenue 50/50 with the lottery, and it will have the opportunity to power up to 10 retail sportsbooks throughout the state.

Is Maryland sports betting on deck?

Technically, no. But discussion about legalizing the industry is about to pick up.

Sen. Chris West pre-filed SB 58, a bill that would allow horse tracks and casinos in Maryland to offer regulated sports betting. That said, the bill does not include online wagering.

Still, state legislators might pass–and state voters could approve–the bill this year, per Legal Sports Report. New forms of gambling in the state, after all, require constitutional amendments via referendums.

The pre-filed bill itself is brief. The two pages detail that five horse tracks and six casinos in the state would be eligible for sports betting licenses. West indicated that Maryland would tax wagering at a 20% rate, which is the same as table games.

As estimated by West, sports betting in Maryland would generate between $40 million and $60 million annually.

It’s still early in the year, obviously. Certainly, state lawmakers will hear/propose about money potentially being left on the table by not including online wagering. As West told Legal Sports Report, there will almost definitely be more bills proposed down the line. Though West cited that “all kinds of issues” could be raised with online sports betting; issues that could kill bills attempting to legalize wagering.

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Sports betting 2019 will not be forgotten

The world changed in spring 2018. The US Supreme Court repealed PASPA. Several states, including New Jersey, launched the country’s first state-sanctioned sports betting industries outside of Nevada.

Yet the first signs of maturation came in 2019. And 2019 will seemingly forever be the foundational year of regulated sports betting in the United States. It was a blockbuster year of launches and record-breaking revenue, to say the least.

Between PASPA repeal and the close of 2019, 14 states rolled out legalized wagering, including 10 states with online betting. During that time, the public has wagered more than $15 billion via legal channels. That’s right, $15 billion. All but $4 billion came in 2019 alone.

And the craziest part of it all–aside from daily fantasy sports giants DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook becoming sports betting powerhouses–is that the country has not come close to full maturation.

So if you thought 2019 was a banner year for wagering, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Grant Lucas Avatar
Written by
Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf throughout his career.

View all posts by Grant Lucas
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