Montana Set To Join Ranks Of States With Legal Sports Betting
The number of states "allowing sports betting is poised to expand," as Governors in Montana and Iowa are "considering measures that would allow residents to wager on sports, while Indiana lawmakers are scheduled to approve their own version" as early as today, according to Volz & Mulvihill of the AP. Barring a veto, those would be the "first states to approve sports betting this year, joining six others that moved quickly last year." The legalization of sports betting "has not been as widespread as initially predicted." Research firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming Managing Dir Chris Grove said that he "expected 10 to 12 states to legalize sports betting this year," but now it "looks more like eight." Disagreements over details have "slowed or doomed legislation in several states." Legal sportsbooks are currently "running in eight states," but the U.S.' three "most populous states -- California, Texas and Florida -- are not expected to legalize sports betting this year." Even after strong numbers in March, four of the six states with "newly legal state-sanctioned sports betting still lag well behind their own revenue expectations" (AP, 4/23).
POTENTIAL BETTING BOON: In Baton Rouge, Mark Ballard writes the effort to "legalize wagering on college and professional sporting events passed its first legislative furlong" in Louisiana yesterday when a state Senate committee "advanced the measure for further consideration." The bill will now go to the full state Senate. State Sen. Danny Martiny said that sports betting is "not the solution to the state's fiscal problems." However, if Louisiana "doesn't move now, the already slumping gambling industry, which already contributes more money to the state than any other industry, will lose more." Martiny said that he "estimates sports betting could raise" $40-60M per year for state coffers (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 4/24).