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Three-State Sweep: Maryland, Louisiana and South Dakota Say Yes to Legal Sports Betting

Three new additions bring the total to 21 states that have now legalized sports betting in America.

Legalized Sports Betting in the United States

As part of the 2020 USA election, prop measures to legalize sports betting were on the ballot in Maryland, Louisiana and South Dakota. After being approved in all three States, the measures still require further action from each legislature. Legal land based and/or online sports betting will be available in each jurisdiction at some point in 2021.

On May 14, 2018, the United States Supreme Court overturned the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. That led to sports betting being deemed legal and states across America now have land based and online sportsbooks. Prior to that, Nevada was the only state with a full slate of legal sports betting. Delaware, Montana and Oregon were offering various forms of sports lottery wagering options. Maryland, Louisiana and South Dakota join 18 states and Washington D.C. who now offer legal sports betting.

The gambling map is always evolving as North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington recently passed bills to legalize sports betting. Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Ohio and Vermont have active bills that are pending legislative approval. 

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Some states are resisting the move as bills failed in 2020 in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri and Wyoming. Seven states, Idaho, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin, do not have active sports betting legislation.

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Maryland Sports Betting

Ballot Question: Do you approve the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland to authorize sports and events betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education?

By an overwhelming majority, Maryland residents have voted to allow legalized sports betting. The results are crystal clear as YES won on the ballot measure in all 24 Maryland districts. DraftKings and FanDuel were top donors who supported the measure and that means land based and/or online betting should be available early in 2021. The result is good news for the Washington Football Team staying in Maryland. Owner Dan Snyder has publicly stated he wants to offer sports betting in the new NFL stadium he is planning to build.

Louisiana Sports Betting

Ballot Question: Shall sports wagering activities and operations be permitted in the parish of (name)?

Unlike Maryland, where sports betting was on the ballot as a statewide referendum, Louisiana residents voted on the prop by each individual parish. The results were strongly in favor of the measure as 55 of 64 parishes voted to approve sports betting. Winning approval was not surprising as Louisiana was losing revenue to neighbouring Mississippi and Arkansas who started offering sports betting in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Louisiana can now draw revenue from Texas, which still doesn’t allow legal sports betting.

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South Dakota Sports Betting

Ballot Question: Authorize sports wagering activities in Deadwood?

The ballot measure was more focused in South Dakota as gambling is restricted to within the city limits of Deadwood and the Tribal casinos. Legislators have passed a resolution but the prop was added to the ballot because legalizing sports betting requires a change to the state’s constitution. As was the case in Maryland and Louisiana, the ballet measure overwhelmingly passed by a 216,673 to 153,611 margin. Sports fans visiting the historic gold mining town of Deadwood will soon be able to bet on sports at casinos like the Silverado-Franklin Historic Hotel & Gaming Complex and Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort.