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3 More States Trying to Legalize Sports Betting

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on January 23, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

On the heels of New Jersey potentially taking its back-and-forth betting battle to the Supreme Court, three other states are pushing their chips into the middle of the legal table. Michigan, New York, and South Carolina have all introduced legislation aimed at ending Nevada's monopoly on sports betting in casinos. But, like New Jersey, they'll have to overcome federal law in order to make it happen.

Here's a look at the latest legalization efforts, and their odds of success.

The Great Stakes

Michigan State Representative Robert Kosowski is rolling the dice a second time on sports betting, after a bill he introduced last year didn't make it out of committee.

Compared to most legislation, House Bill No. 4060 seems fairly straightforward. The Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act would allow any holder of any state-issued casino license "accept wagers on sporting events," and task the state gaming control board to with making the rules to regulate the conduct of sports betting. These rules would ostensibly include taxing sports gambling revenue, which Kosowski claims is "a billion-dollar industry, just Michigan alone, by some of the small studies we have seen."

Palmetto Bets

South Carolina is attempting to amend its state constitution and allow the state to regulate "the conduct of gambling and gaming activities on which bets are made," including, among others, "sports betting on professional sports." The amendment would include a directive that "the revenue realized by the State and local jurisdictions to be used for highway, road, and bridge maintenance, construction, and repair." The South Carolina bill is broader than other states', and includes a multitude of gaming regulations not limited to sports betting.

If You Can Bet It Here...

The Empire State is looking to expand the gambling possibilities at existing "betting facilities located at thoroughbred and harness racetracks operating in this state" to include "gambling on professional sporting events and athletic events sponsored by universities or colleges." This would include off-track betting sites as well, with all revenue going to fund state education programs. The bill was referred to the state's Senate Judiciary Committee this month.

Any one of these new laws may run afoul of PASPA, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 that makes it illegal under federal law for a governmental entity to "sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license, or authorize by law or compact ... a lottery, sweepstakes, or other betting, gambling, or wagering scheme based ... on one or more competitive games in which amateur or professional athletes participate."

Depending on the Supreme Court's action (or lack thereof) in New Jersey's case, these states' gamble on sports betting may yet pay off.

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