As the year unfolds, the landscape for online casinos and sports betting legislation in 2024 appears stagnant, especially when compared to the previous year.
Entering 2024, few states display the necessary enthusiasm to push through gaming legislation during a presidential election year. According to gaming attorney Jeff Ifrah, speaking with PlayUSA, legislators are often reluctant to address gambling issues in such a politically charged climate. Therefore, it’s unlikely that we’ll witness new states embracing iGaming this year. Instead, 2024 might serve as a groundwork year, setting the stage for legislative action in 2025, possibly propelled by proposed legislation and ballot initiatives.
Impact Of Presidential Election On Gambling Legislation
Despite this general trend, there remains a slim chance that select states might successfully enact gaming expansion bills if circumstances align favorably.
The presidential election year’s impact on gambling legislation is significant, especially in traditionally conservative states. Election years can, however, create opportunities for gambling measures on ballots, as they tend to attract a younger, more pro-online gambling voter base. Despite this, the overwhelming focus on presidential campaigns can overshadow these measures.
Looking back at 2020, states like South Dakota, Maryland, and Louisiana successfully passed sports betting measures through ballots. Maryland and South Dakota went on to implement these laws in the following year. That year also saw Virginia legalizing sports betting and Washington introducing a bill confined to in-person betting at tribal casinos. Industry lobbyist Bill Pascrell III believes that while politicians are generally hesitant during presidential election years, the potential for job creation, revenue generation, and addressing black market and responsible gaming issues could be compelling enough to drive legislative action.
2024 Online Casino Legalization Efforts
When it comes to online casino legalization, progress has been markedly slower than that of sports betting. Currently, only six states host online casinos, with Rhode Island poised to join them soon, and Nevada offering online poker. As states grapple with the depletion of federal pandemic funds, a more focused interest in internet gaming is anticipated. However, Sweepscasinosusa predicts no state will legalize online casinos in 2024 due to a lack of momentum in the relevant bills. Interestingly, two states initially thought to be frontrunners in iGaming legalization this year are not even slated to introduce such bills.
2023 witnessed an unexpected development when Rhode Island, not previously considered in Sweepscasinos’s legislative forecast, legalized online casinos. This indicates that the iGaming landscape can still be open to surprises, hinting at potential for unforeseen contenders in the future.
Impact Of The Presidential Election On Gambling Legislation
Presidential election years typically see legislators avoiding controversial issues like gambling, especially in conservative regions. However, these elections can also bring opportunities for gambling measures on ballots. The younger electorate that turns out for presidential elections tends to be more supportive of online gambling. Nevertheless, these ballot initiatives might receive less attention due to the dominance of the presidential race in public discourse.
For instance, during the 2020 elections, states like South Dakota, Maryland, and Louisiana approved sports betting through ballot measures. Industry lobbyist Bill Pascrell III suggests that despite the usual political reluctance in election years, the economic benefits of job creation, tax revenue, and combating the black market in gambling could drive legislative progress.
Prospects Of Online Casino Legalization in 2024
The journey towards online casino legalization has been slower than sports betting, with only a handful of states currently hosting online casinos. As federal pandemic funds dry up, more states might seriously consider internet gaming. However, the general expectation for 2024 is that no state will legalize online casinos due to a lack of preparatory momentum. Notably, Rhode Island, which wasn’t initially mentioned in Sweepscasinosusa previous legislative preview, surprisingly legalized online casino gaming in 2023, indicating that unforeseen developments could still arise.
Potential States For Online Casino Legislation in 2024
Maryland has a 30% chance of legalizing online casinos in 2024. With sports betting already approved by voters, Maryland legislators could introduce a referendum for online casinos this November. There’s a push for a higher tax rate in the proposed legislation, which could yield significant revenue for the state. However, concerns about potential market cannibalization and the need for inclusivity in minority participation might complicate the legislative process.
New York, with a 25% chance, is looking at online casino legislation as a means to address budget deficits. The success of online sports betting in the state and the presence of online casinos in neighboring states bolster the argument for legalization. The focus will be on integrating the gaming expansions into the state budget, but challenges include opposition from certain industry groups and the state gaming commission’s preoccupation with other gaming issues.
Other States Laying The Groundwork For Online Casinos
Several states, including Maine and Louisiana, each with a 5% chance, are exploring the possibility of legalizing online casinos. Maine’s focus is on granting exclusivity to its Indian tribes, while Louisiana, a progressive gaming state, sees alignment within its land-based casino industry for online expansion. However, resistance in certain regions of Louisiana and the need for voter approval present challenges.
Ohio, Iowa, and Colorado, each with a 0% chance, are beginning discussions on iGaming. These discussions are essential steps towards potential future legislation. Iowa awaits unanimous support from land-based casinos, while Colorado’s discussions about legalizing online casinos are still in preliminary stages.
North Carolina emerges as a wild card, with a 0% chance of legalization in 2024. Despite efforts to push for legalized casinos and VGTs, the state’s strong conservative influence and challenges in passing sports betting indicate that embracing online casinos might take time.
Online Casinos Off The Table in Two States
Indiana and New Hampshire, both with a 0% chance, are unlikely to see progress in online casino legalization this year. Indiana’s past experiences with gaming legislation and a recent bribery scandal have dampened the prospects. In New Hampshire, procedural barriers following the rejection of a previous bill have stalled further attempts until at least 2025.
Sports Betting Legalization Efforts in 2024
The landscape for sports betting is different from online casinos. Sweeps casinos usa anticipates only one state, Minnesota, with an 85% chance to legalize sports betting in 2024. Minnesota’s near-success in previous sessions and current bipartisan efforts suggest potential progress, contingent on reaching an agreement between tribes and racetracks. However, discussions between these stakeholders have yet to yield a compromise as the legislative session approaches.
Potential States for Online Sports Betting Legislation
Mississippi, with a 50% chance, is making strides towards legalizing online sports betting. A state task force has been evaluating mobile betting options, setting the stage for potential legislative action. However, not all casinos in the state are on board, expressing concerns about market cannibalization.
Georgia, holding a 40% chance, has been wrestling with sports betting legalization for several years. The state nearly passed legislation in 2023 but faced several setbacks. This year marks the sixth attempt, with lawmakers proposing various approaches, including a constitutional amendment and running sports betting through the lottery. However, the upcoming Donald Trump trial and party politics could hinder progress.
States with Less Likely Chances for Online Sports Betting
Missouri, with a 10% chance, experienced significant debate over sports betting in its last legislative session. Disagreements among lawmakers and a lack of consensus on key issues like video lottery terminals (VLTs) make the passage of legislation less likely. Key figures like Sen. Denny Hoskins play a pivotal role in these discussions.
Oklahoma, at a 5% chance, faces challenges due to disagreements between Governor Kevin Stitt and Indian tribes. The governor’s recent proposal, which diverges from tribal interests, may further complicate efforts to pass sports betting legislation.
States Laying Groundwork for Future Legislation
Alabama, with a 5% chance, is exploring the legalization of online sports betting and a state lottery. However, a ballot measure is necessary for any significant change, and the presidential election year might not be the ideal time for such a move in a conservative state.
South Carolina and Hawaii, both at 0% chances, have shown interest in sports betting legislation but face significant political and cultural barriers. South Carolina’s governor’s opposition and Hawaii’s lack of a gambling tradition make the prospects of legalization unlikely.
Texas on Hold for 2024
Texas, surprisingly, shows a 0% chance of legalizing sports betting in 2024. Despite the House passing legislation in 2023, strong opposition from key political figures like Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has stalled progress. With the Texas legislature not reconvening until 2025, advocates have time to sway opinions, but immediate action is unlikely.
In summary, while some states are making concerted efforts to legalize online sports betting, others face entrenched challenges. The overall picture for 2024 suggests that significant legislative breakthroughs in the sector might be limited, with many states choosing to lay the groundwork for potential future action.