5 New States Likely To Legalize Sports Betting This Year

As the 2021 legislative season starts, legal sports betting will be front-and-center for a handful of states … and will continue to be a frustrating topic for others. Since PASPA fell in May 2018 , 24 U.S. states have legalized or allowed some…

California is not on this list because a tribal referendum is nearly set for 2022, and while lawmakers may again try to create their own referendum, it seems certain Indian Country won’t let that happen.

Here’s a look at my prediction of how things will play out:

States with a real shot to legalize in 2021


What’s going on now: For the last two years, Sen. Sonny Borelli has pitched bills that would allow both tribal and commercial retail wagering. The state’s tribes have objected, and the bills didn’t gain any traction. Going into 2021, the landscape has changed some — FanDuel signed a deal with the Phoenix Suns, which seems to imply that commercial digital wagering is being seriously considered, and tribal pacts are set to be renegotiated. Sources say a new House bill that includes a mobile component is in the works. The legislative session is only three months long.

Is 2021 the year?: It’s a tossup. If all stakeholders are in agreement when the new bill is filed, then yes. If not, sports betting is too heavy a lift to get done in three months…

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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